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|Fanny and Sir Thomas
Written by Nikki N
(7/10/2013 7:45 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, I used to agree with you. (longish), penned by Julie P.
Fanny was oppressed especially by Mrs Norris, her cousins, except Edmund, were too indifferent to care for her, and Lady Bertram too indolent to care for anyone (including her own daughters) but I think I have to defend Sir Thomas. It's true that before she arrived, he spoke of "the distinction proper to be made between the girls as they grow up ... without depressing her spirits too far, to make her remember that she is not a Miss Bertram", but that was before he saw her, and he was expecting a bold little girl with "gross ignorance, some meanness of opinions, and very distressing vulgarity of manner".
As soon as she arrived in chap 2 "Sir Thomas, seeing how much she needed encouragement, tried to be all that was conciliating: but he had to work against a most untoward gravity of deportment". His own daughters were in awe of him -- "The two girls were more at a loss from being younger and in greater awe of their father,". he was not outwardly affectionate, Mrs Norris indulged the Bertram girls and bullied Fanny, but Sir Tomas appeared severe to all three girls.
And in the book, sending Fanny on a visit to Portsmouth was done in a sly manner by Sir T, he didn't threaten her or said it was a punishment, he was certainly NOT banishing her form Mansfield, it was to be a two month visit, and Fanny was overjoyed to make it, and Edmund agreed that the visit was right and proper. True, Sir T did have an ulterior motive -- "He certainly wished her to go willingly, but he as certainly wished her to be heartily sick of home before her visit ended" (chap 37).
And as a comparison, Fanny was never treated half so badly, even by Mrs Norris as Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre was by her aunt and cousins.
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