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Written by Stephanie
(10/31/2012 11:46 a.m.)
We now have an overview in Elinor's story, where the plot ties up into a package that makes all our prior regrets and if-onlys ridiculous.
When we meet Edward (through others' conversations about him), we want his mother to get a personality transplant and be supportive of him. She should give him his inheritance, darn it! and let him pick his own happiness! Looking back we now know this would have been disastrous for our heroine, for that would have taken away the obstacle that delayed his marriage to Lucy.
Then we find out about Lucy, and we want her to go away -- find some other mark, get some humanity herself, whatever… But, in retrospect, that would have been a catastrophe, for Mrs. Ferrars would have then thrown Edward off for engaging himself to Elinor (as he immediately would have, we know).
The only way, given Mrs. Ferrars' uniquely monstrous (HAPPY HALLOWE'EN!) personality, for Edward to marry Elinor with his mother's support, was for Mrs. Ferrars to learn that casting him off when he sticks to his word will not work with him. We needed the hugely embarrassing, and emotionally draining explosion, at Mrs. Ferrars, we had to have Edward stand fast to an engagement that he no longer wanted, and we had to have Lucy's new situation appear after all the ruckus had clearly shown each side where the other side stood.
That upset did not only show Edward's honour in action. It did not only show Mrs. Ferrars's selfishness in wishing to control her children's lives. It did not only show that John and Fanny could not be counted on to do what was right, upholding family affection and decency, against what was expedient, supporting the woman with the money. It was the only way in which Elinor would even receive the apparent acceptance of Mrs. Ferrars (and all those over whom she had control), and the only way in which Edward would receive enough money to live upon.
I just adore Author Austen: her tie-ins are perfect, her plots flow smoothly, and every time she drags you through unpleasant emotions or events, it is to make the story make more sense, and the characters, good and bad, to get what they deserve!
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