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|GR: John Thorpe - GRRRRR!!
Written by Cheryl
(4/6/2003 12:01 a.m.)
Can you believe this man’s behavior during this week’s chapters? There are only two characters in Jane Austen that really make me angry, and John Thorpe in this week’s chapters is one. (Aunt Norris is the other.)
John Thorpe lied last week to make himself look good or knowledgeable or superior. He starts out this week with the same sort of exaggerated lies, about the restlessness of his horse, the amount of drinking at Oxford, the dangerous gig James is driving, etc. Catherine is rightly confused and I love the line about Catherine not being in the habit of telling lies to increase her importance, which John Thorpe does all the time.
But in this week’s chapters, his lies turn almost sinister, and not only is he unrepentant, he is conscienceless about it. He tells Catherine he sees the Tilneys in a gig heading out of town, thereby keeping Catherine from walking out with them and causing her no little embarrassment when she drives right past them. I feel so badly for her with her pleas to Thorpe to stop and let her down.
And again in another driving-out scheme and involving the Tilneys, he is very proud of himself for having come up with the idea of lying to Eleanor and saying Catherine sent him to postpone their engagement. He expects to be congratulated for his ingeniousness.
There is an element of danger in his lies this week that weren’t present last week. In both these events, not only does he lie without a thought for anyone else, he virtually imprisons Catherine. He practically holds her hostage, in the first incident by refusing to stop the carriage when she clearly wishes to leave, and he actually, physically restrains her by holding her arms (ably assisted by Dear Isabella!) to prevent her from running after the Tilneys in the second.
Thorpe moves from the buffoon to the sociopath. I see the potential for a very scary guy indeed.
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