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|Marianne as a Gage
Written by BarbaraB
(10/12/2009 12:11 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Eliza knowing better, penned by Bridget D
Marianne did lots of things that were wrong but her Romantic sensibility gave her permission to use her feelings as a guide regardless of the rules or right/wrong. When Elinor calls Marianne on her wrongdoings, we get the following conversation:
"I am afraid," replied Elinor, "that the pleasantness of an employment does not always evince its propriety."
"On the contrary, nothing can be a stronger proof of it, Elinor; for if there had been any real impropriety in what I did, I should have been sensible of it at the time, for we always know when we are acting wrong, and with such a conviction I could have had no pleasure."
"...I am not sensible of having done anything wrong in walking over Mrs. Smith's grounds, or in seeing her house."
The Romantic Movement was a great tool for the Willoughbys of the world. Add that to storybook romanticism, lack of experience and men who knew what they were doing...almost like taking candy from a baby. These young ladies were so sheltered, living off the stuff they got from books and interpreting it in such a way as to come up with their own world view.
Now that Marianne has been through a tough course of World Experience 101, we can see what this experience has done; her perceptions have entirely changed. This experience has given her a new appreciation for propriety and good judgement. She can admit her behavior was wrong. If another Willoughby was dropped at her doorstep today, her understanding would be entirely different. Eliza's personal experience with Willoughby, has no doubt produced a similar change but it is too late for her.
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