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|GR: True friendship
Written by Christen M
(4/21/2003 12:49 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, GR: Really?, penned by Cheryl
] I think you have a point here. He has always found her imaginings amusing before, but it is not amusing to have someone think your father has murdered your mother. He sees that her imagination is now a danger to her own emotional and mental well-being and cannot help but try to counteract it.
As you said before, Cheryl, "I agree that it is harsh, I think it needed to be."
I agree as well. Henry is harsh. But (at least the way I read it) he is not forceful and angry; his "harshness" is extremely gentle. He doesn't yell and rant; he doesn't even really mention it specifically. He speaks in very general terms but such that he knows will enable Catherine to completely understand his meaning, and which let her know he understands hers. Thus, I think it is handling a delicate subject very well indeed. Here are my notes on reading that section:
I love this whole passage. Poor Catherine is so mixed up, but what a sweet, romantic way to open her eyes. Of course, she doesn't immediately see it that way--she is ashamed and even terrified perhaps (for "the first time in their acquaintance, [she wished] to leave him"). But one can just see Henry, looking at poor, dear Catherine with love as he gently scolds her. A great mark of true friendship--the painful duty of an every-now-and-then rebuke. Like Mr. Knightley to Emma at Box Hill. One feels deeply for Catherine of course but at the same time applauds Henry's behaviour. Her rather weak understanding is not seen by him as something to look down upon but to improve, and he guides her gently (yet firmly) in this area much as he and Eleanor taught her how to view the landscape near Bath with an eye for painting.
To see Catherine rushing away in tears must have near broken Henry's heart, but, knowing it to be necesary for her improvement, he performs the unpleasant task anyway--her well-being uppermost in mind, I'm sure. And such behaviour afterwards--"he paid her rather more attention than usual"--how soothing and sweet he is! And then his hat sat so well... :)
People are too afraid to correct one another today I think. No one wants to step on toes, but Henry, even if he didn't love Catherine, even was he motivated by friendship alone, was willing to cause her pain for a short while in order to spare her many troubles in the future on the same account.
Oh, for all his high spirits and wit, I love Henry best in this passage, I believe.
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