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|Parental Authority & Income
Written by Robbin
(10/24/2009 12:50 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Friend's father, penned by Bridget D
I think adherence to parental authority was as dependent on the character of the parents and children as it is today. Look at how John Dashwood fulfilled his promise to his father about helping his step family. Look at how the Bertram siblings adhere to their fathers known preferences when they decide to act in MP. We do not know if Friend’s Father told the girls to stay in and they refused. I cannot remember any evidence in the text the girls were so disrespectful.
I agree with Kathleen (elder). I do not think one foolish mistake makes Eliza an immoral person and Col Brandon says Eliza is tormented by self-reproach. Not the mind-set of an immoral person or one too foolish to see her mistakes:
Whatever they may have been, however, she may now, and hereafter doubtless will, turn with gratitude towards her own condition, when she compares it with that of my poor Eliza, when she considers the wretched and hopeless situation of this poor girl, and pictures her to herself, with an affection for him as strong, still as strong as her own, and with a mind tormented by self-reproach, which must attend her through life. (Ch. 31)
Is the income of Friend’s Father revealed in the text? Without knowing his income I cannot assume he had funds to hire an impoverished lady or maid to chaperone the girls about town. It is of course a possibility but so is the possibility he did not have such funds and it is also possible he had no acquaintance appropriate to burden the responsibility of the two young girls activities. I do not think there is any text on which to judge with what ease he could have managed such things.
The only young ladies in JA that I recall having a constant paid companion—chaperone is Miss De Bourgh and Miss Darcy in P&P and they are both ladies of fortune. Eliza and friend are not ladies of fortune and I do not know that it was a rule that young girls must always be accompanied by a chaperone. If you look to JA novels for reference it does not appear there is such a rule. At the very least I think constant chaperonage was not considered mandatory for girls of Eliza’s and Friend’s station in life.
I am not saying Eliza, Friend, and Friend’s Father were not in error but I do not think the text supports the girls were disrespectful, stupid and immoral or that Friend’s Father ignored a “girls must always be chaperoned” rule.
Thanks for reading! (:D)
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