Quick Index Board Index Home FAQ Site Map
|Robert's comments on public vs. private education
Written by Barbara
(10/18/2012 1:53 a.m.)
Robert is another character whom we tend to tune out because of his blathering on about nonsense--in his case all self-important and self-aggrandizing.
In Ch. 36, when he first meets the Dashwood sisters, he makes these comments about the type of education he received vs. the education Edward received:
It makes me wonder why one son would have been sent to a private tutor such as Mr. Pratt (in a situation very much like Jane Austen's own father with his pupils) while the other was sent away to Westminster?
We don't know if this 'Sir Robert' was Mrs. Ferrars' brother or Mr. Ferrars' brother, but it sounds as though he very much influenced their mother's decision, which Mrs. Ferrars then thought the better of and followed her own judgement for Robert. I think obviously if gentlemen were in the habit of having their sons board and be educated privately in an establishment such as Mr. Pratt's, there must have been some advantages to it.
On a search through the archives, I came across a post by JulieW where she said, "School in Ja’s time were not the type of benign places we envisage today." (in reference to places such as Westminster)
And also, from JulieW in the archives: "Most public schools at this period were notoriously violent places. Corporal punishment was the norm, including flogging, and the boys themselves seem to have been entirely unruly."
It sounds as though Edward's experience was probably more pleasant. I wonder if Robert was resentful of that?
However, I wonder also if the public schools were regarded as more prestigious?
A little later in this same chapter (36), Fanny seems to be saying that the family valued Edward's education, but of course that is just to get out of inviting Marianne and Elinor to stay with them:
" But I had just settled within myself to ask the Miss Steeles to spend a few days with us. They are very well behaved, good kind of girls; and I think the attention is due to them, as their uncle did so very well by Edward. "
Groupread is maintained by Myretta with WebBBS 3.21.