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Written by Stephanie
(11/2/2012 9:04 p.m.)
Shapard points out that the two heroines' stories take turns holding our attention -- that one of them must reach a resting point before the other takes center stage. I never noticed it that way until now, but he is quite right.
Even the two main heroes in the first part of the book never meet: the closest Edward and Willoughby come to each other is when Edward 'guesses' that Mr. Willoughby hunts.
We also seldom see Col. Brandon and Willoughby interact. Is it only the dialogue at Barton Park on the morning Col. Brandon has to cancel Whitwell to go to London? I can think of them speaking of each other, but never with each other...
(This might be an unfair notice to take. The men get less development time in this novel than in most of Author Austen's works. For instance, Edward and Col. Brandon apparently meet, but we are not told it for certain until ch. 39 when Col. Brandon admits to seeing Edward in Harley Street two or three times, and Edward mentions approving the Colonel's manners and sense in ch. 40. Even when the Col. arrives at the cottage, it is Mrs. Dashwood who takes on the responsibility of telling him the new state of affairs. Then we are told they like each other, but never shown, even by free indirect narration.)
Are their scenes we should have seen that this mechanism keeps us from witnessing? Should we have seen the duel? Should we know that Edward envies Willoughby's ease in company? Or that Edward distrusts Willoughby, and would warn Marianne about him? Do we want to know that Edward and the Colonel praise the other's choice to his face, but secretly would not trade one sister for the other? Would any of that have made the story better, the men more three-dimensional, the sister's love more understandable?
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