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Written by Stephanie
(9/27/2012 5:50 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Good point, penned by Ramya
Without getting into Austenuations, I would like to latch onto your idea of Anne's complacency.
I have seen Anne accused of being a snob for preferring her elegant and cultivated mind to the Misses Musgroves vivacity and enjoyments. I always understood Author Austen's lead-in to that, however,
[...] but still, saved as we all are by some comfortable feeling of superiority from wishing for the possibility of exchange [...], (Persuasion, ch. 5)
as encompassing more then just superiority. She means, I think, that when one is happy with oneself (the 'comfortable' part of that description), one does not deeply envy anyone else, or wish for an exchange.
Elinor is happy with herself: she does not want to be a Marianne, no matter how much I may think to pity her for always needing to be the "adult" in the family, and seldom getting to be irresponsible, or thoughtless, since she is always checking her mother, or covering for her sister.
Marianne, likewise, is happy with herself. She does not want to be outwardly calm when upset (even to save her loved ones from distress on her behalf), or be a pleasant companion to people she does not enjoy being around. She wants to be extravagant with her feelings, eager in her outlook, passionately in love, and self-righteously judgmental, without any soothing alloy to soften her own inner roller coaster.
I think, glancing over the characters so far, Mrs. Dashwood, Mrs. Jennings, Sir John, and Edward all seem to like who they are, and have no wish for an exchange. I think John and Fanny, who are envious, materialistic, and short-sighted WOULD wish for a change. They pin their values on THINGS, and there will always be people out there who have more than they do, so they imagine them happier than themselves.
Lady Middleton is a cipher, and I do not know about Willoughby at this point of the book: he certainly took up being Marianne's mirror self quickly enough, but I can not tell how much of that was her emphasizing traits he already had.
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