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|GR: Some General Comments (Tilney, that is)
Written by Mark C
(4/26/2003 12:59 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, GR: Understanding General Tilney, penned by Linda Fern
Thank you, Linda, for the interesting post. It does put General Tillney into a somewhat different light. It does make me a bit hesitant to make some other General comments, but I think there is a couple of things still worth sharing from the perspective of this first time reader.
As I had posted earlier, early on in the book I had seen the general as polite and somewhat likable, but a bit odd. As we saw him a bit more, there was added in the tyranny of the man and a bit that was a little creepy (although I hadn't quite hit upon the word at the time, it does, I think, fit a couple of things I noticed about him). His tyranny became clearer and one could see some rudeness in his manner even amidst his politeness. I had ascribed the tyranny to his being a General, a person of military background who was used to others following his orders, a person who wanted things very orderly. I don't think I would abandon this, but mix it together with Linda's observations.
When the General suddenly arrived home and had Catherine turned out of his house unceremonially, I couldn't have disliked the man more. That is until I found out he was going to send Catherine on her journey home all by herself. Here we have the confluence of the General's character, the parody of the Gothic, and the jeopardy of Catherine's happiness and the blossoming relationship with Henry. John Thorpe had been terrible and slimy, but the General had toped him in outrage.
When Henry arrived in Fullerton to call on Catherine and offered his explanation of events, I first thought it did nothing for the General. He cared so much about money and appearances and advancing his family that he would engage in so much manipulation and in such utter rudeness. But then when the utter spite of John Thorpe was revealed (which was no surprise to the reader, surely), the General softened for me a bit. I still don't like him, but he was among the victims of his Thorpeness. Thorpe's spite reasserted him as the slimiest and most detestable character in the book. I'm sure the General felt a good degree of humiliation in how Thorpe had manipulated him and how he had been duped by this despicable character, and I actually felt a bit sorry for him, even while I thought it didn't reflect at all well on him that he would take Thorpe at his word both times.
One side benefit of the Generals tyrannical whims is the way that Henry found his heart strongly, and stood up to his father. I was proud of him. I wanted to cheer!
Now a couple of general comments (rather than General comments). ;-)
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, not that I expected not to, but more than I thought I would. The humor is so very fine, and some of the characters and situations so very vile or so very likable (even with their faults).
I'd also like to thank you all for the GR experience. Not only is it my first time through NA, but it is my first time participating in a Pemberley GR. It was great, and it really enriched the reading of the novel. (Now if I can just get caught up on this week's posts.....)
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