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|It seems surprising
Written by Donna M
(9/16/2012 11:15 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Chapter two..., penned by Tess
that JD could be so easily dissuaded from an idea that, in Chapter 1, he thought of "all day long, and for many days successively, and did not repent", and that it takes only one conversation with his wife to change his mind. Why would that be? Maybe those "many days" were spent vainly patting himself on the back about how magnanimous he is, NOT feeling any true concern about his step-family's welfare. Maybe his actual motivation for helping his step-mother and sisters stems from making himself feel good about his own generosity, not from being truly helpful to these women. And Fanny is then able to help this "rather cold hearted, and rather selfish" man feed his own ego AND keep his money. JD is more concerned about his own self esteem, and how he is seen by others, than with actually helping out his step-family. "One had rather, on such occasions, do too much than too little. No one... can think I have not done enough for them".
Notice the line from Chapter 1 that states JD was well-respected because he "conducted himself with propriety in the discharge of his ordinary duties". What, nothing more? There is no mention of anything to imply a generous nature. He's easily persuaded from his initial plan because he has no genuine sympathy for Mrs Dashwood and his sisters, he was only focused on APPEARING to do the right thing by them, and about being able to think himself a gentleman for doing it.
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