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|GR: Isn't he the worst?!
Written by Tori Marie
(4/6/2003 7:57 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, GR: John Thorpe - GRRRRR!!, penned by Cheryl
You're right. He's horrid. And yet...I must say that I wished Catherine would have gotten her head out of bookworld long enough to see what he was about. For me, reading Chapter 13 was like watching a thriller flick (Which is, after all, one of our day's version of the Gothic novel, no?), when the sweet young thing is tempted by whatever treats she thinks are in store to venture into a dangerous place. When Catherine's ears perked up at the mention of Blaize Castle, I wanted to shout at my book, "Don't do it, Catherine! Stay home! Stay home!" ;-) But...*sigh*...she wouldn't have listened anyway. ;-)
] 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.
The thing that gets me about these lies is that they are so obvious, especially when he immediately contradicts himself. In deriding James' choice of equipage, for instance, he says:
"I would not be bound to go two miles in it for fifty thousand pounds."
But when this has the unhappy effect of alarming Catherine and--more importantly to Thorpe himself--giving her reason to suggest that the drive be ended for James' and Isabella's safety, he says:
"Lord bless you! I would undertake for five pounds to drive it to York and back again, without losing a nail."
This complete turnaround of opinion occurs in, what? Two paragraphs? Maybe three? If this were a cartoon, they'd probably draw Catherine's head going around in circles from such dizzyingly different statements in such close proximity. ;-) The man is like a tornado--hot air and cold air mixed together to create a big ole whoosh! ;-)
] But in this week’s chapters, his lies turn almost sinister, and not only is he unrepentant, he is conscienceless about it.
Exactly so! He wants to go for a drive and he wants Catherine to go with him, but Catherine has a prior engagement with the Tilneys. Ah, but that's no matter for John Thorpe ;-) who pulls a lie out of thin air to get what he wants. So he tells Catherine that he saw the Tilneys out driving in a phaeton. But he can't shuffle her out of the door just yet because she is trusting enough to believe, not only his lie, but also that there is some other explanation and that the Tilneys will come for her after all. So he reaches for another lie about how he--oh so conveniently!--overheard Mr. Tilney telling someone he'd be gone all day. To go back to the cartoon imagery, I'd draw Thorpey-boy with little buzzing lies all around his head, which he plucks out of the air at will, like apples from a tree. ;-)
Even the thing that eventually persuades Catherine into going--the idea of going to Blaize Castle--seems to have an air of the lie about it. It's as if he's just listing things that are likely to tempt her into going without seriously considering any of them, or even imagining that they're feasible. So when she appears intrigued by the idea of the castle as, being Catherine, she must, ;-) he plucks down more lies to convince her that it will be every bit as delightful as she imagines.
But here's where I wanted to stamp my foot at Catherine. ;-) Instead of seeing that Thorpe is promising things he either can't or won't deliver, she allows herself to get wrapped up in the notion of the castle. Even when she does question it, what she asks is so unlikely that I wonder at her not seeing that it's impossible. If Catherine has a flaw--and really, what heroine doesn't? ;-)--I think it is a propensity to believe a little too much in novels and not quite enough in the common sense she possesses. Go up every staircase and into every nook and cranny, indeed! :-P So with the aid of John Thorpe's detestable lies, Catherine allows herself to be talked into something she feels to be wrong because she hopes to get a glimpse of the world she loves to read about. (Mrs. Allen comes in for her own fair share of the blame here, but I'll leave that for another post)
] ...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.
Indeed! As if everybody lies as it suits their fancy! Far from realizing that his behavior is wrong, he thinks it's the normal, accepted way of doing things. Which leads me to wonder where his mother was when he was growing up, again a subject for another post. ;-)
] 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.
Yes, I keep thinking that this is when Catherine goes from being an anti-heroine (a heroine who is unlike all other heroines) to being a heroine proper. She's being held against her own will, forced into doing something she believes to be wrong.
] Thorpe moves from the buffoon to the sociopath. I see the potential for a very scary guy indeed.
Yes, if this is Catherine's entrance into heroinehood, it's also when John Thorpe becomes a villain. If I were Catherine, I'd worry a whole lot about what he said to General Tilney at the theatre. ;-)
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