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Written by Elizabeth K
(10/22/2009 3:19 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Willoughy in book, penned by Bridget D
...I don't believe in taking sides and although our discussions about Willoughby may have got quite heated at times (it seems that he is quite a controversial character - as someone else said on this board, well done to JA for creating such a vivid character and one who evokes such strong, and varying feelings, in many people. :-)).
I have strong feelings about Willoughby, yes, and so do you, I dare say, but I hope you don't think that I was against you. ;-)
But one last point on which I shall beg to differ is your observations about the heroes of S&S, Edward and Colonel Brandon. I don't see them as 'stick figures' any more than any other Austen hero, Henry Tilney, Fitzwilliam Darcy, Edmund Bertram or any of the Austen men. They all have their roles to play in the novel, of course, but to me, Austen has depicted them (and all of her characters) with such sensivity and mastery of her pen, and in fact Colonel Brandon is one of my favourite Austen heroes (personally, I find him very attractive. ;-)). Why? Because of his kind, thoughtful, gentle ways and because of the fact that although the focus is primarily on Elinor and Marianne (and Willoughby), his quiet, gentle presence is felt throughout the novel and I think JA, as always, has scored perfection in her portrayal of him.
P.S. Although my feelings about Willoughby were, and are, strong, I do accept that he is not all bad - like Henry Crawford, he could have been a 'good' person, had he the inclination to be, no one is born bad, but he chose not to be and it is impossible to tell whether that was due to his upbringing or any other reason, but in S&S he is not a good person. Although this may seem like a simplistic argument, I judge Willoughby on the person I see in the novel and the person I see there is not a gentleman.
And as I do not wish to open up a can of worms, as the saying goes, this is my last note on the topic. :-)
P.P.S I have enjoyed reading your thought-provoking posts, even though they were rather controversial at times. ;-)
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