Children's dependence due to time period?
Written by Laura Beth
(9/1/2013 10:02 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Tilney, penned by Marla P
I sort of like Gen. Tilney as the not-quite villain of the story. Not that I like him as a person, but I think he is a good addition to the plot. He actually reminds me quite a bit of the father of my high-school sweetheart. He was similarly overbearing and snobbish. That's one of the best things about Miss Austen's writing: Her characters are so believable that I can read her novels and almost forget that these are not real people.
And as for his continuing power over his adult children, I wonder if it was partially a symptom of the time period. As a Regency woman, Eleanor Tilney really had very little ability to escape him until she found a spouse that her father approved of. All her other options that I can think of (eloping, setting up house with a female companion without her father) would be financially and socially risky and still mean compromising some of her independence.
While Henry was more independent than his sister because he was male, he was still dependent on his father's goodwill for his financial security. Without his father's approval, he could have been deprived of future livings or an inheritance and would have endangered his ability to provide for a wife and children in the future.
But perhaps someone with more historical knowledge than I have will weigh in?