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|In this re-read, I have not yet come (longish)
Written by Nancy Ann
(9/10/2013 11:06 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, True, but..., penned by Kristina F
to the final chapter and the paragraph you quote. I hope that I am convinced, by then, of there being no ambivalence on Elinor's part (esp. on Jane Austen's!) because I am a little shocked that Elinor was so 'taken in' by this man's selfish and pushy speeches. (I confess I was a little alarmed, too, at how pushy and demanding he was and that Elinor just acquiesced to his 'force'. I had not remembered it happened to that degree, on either side, and felt a little nervous for her about his abusive style with no one there to help her if he should run amuck. I was surprised at the intensity of the whole interchange, on both sides.) I'd also honestly forgotten how much sympathy she gave him, in spite of that style. I'd forgotten how many 'pangs' she felt for him, during and after his onslaught of words and his 'tearing of clothing' way of emoting. Thus far in this re-reading, we have recently finished the segment---in chapt. 47?--where Austen writes, "But it was neither in Elinor's power, nor in her wish, to rouse such feelings in another, by her retailed explanation, as had at first been called forth in herself. Reflection had given calmness to her judgment, and sobered her own opinion of Willoughby's deserts; she wished, therefore, to declare only the simple truth, and lay open such facts as were really due to his character, without any embellishment of tenderness to lead the fancy astray." By it, I am not yet convinced that Elinor authentically feels any real certainty about Willoughby's character...only that she talks about it and tries to convince herself. It sounds more to me like she knows she should NOT feel sympathy for him and is trying to talk herself out of doing so. She dares not let herself, her mother or her sister even think or hear about everything he said and how he said it, for fear of letting that very 'tenderness' and 'fancy' be felt again. She may have greater calmness now and more sobriety, but that is not the same thing as not feeling the tenderness and sympathy she felt (pretty strongly, too.) It seems more like deliberate and strenuous avoidance of her feelings to me (which I'm glad she's at least trying to achieve!) I do hope that in the final finishing chapters I begin to feel more convinced that Elinor (and Austen...they are not identical, I know, but I have to wonder on this point) truly sees Willoughby as such a hurtful person as he is in their world (leaving a woman and baby to fend for themselves, in that era so hugely hurtful to their lives ever after...and who knows who else, prior to them? Are we to believe he suddenly just fell off a more honorable path and had never hurt anyone else, before them?! Probably not.) After the strong and convincing sympathies Elinor repeatedly expressed these last several chapters (and earlier in the book, as well), I can't imagine a sudden turnaround in so short a time that I, the reader, has left to go. It will not surprise me if I still sense their ambivalence when the story ends. That's fine...I can live with that! We at Pemberley can certainly disagree on it, too. We may each come away with different impressions. But so far, for me, Austen has really made it plain that Elinor got sucked into this man's sphere...and she did so well before the confession scene, really. I had not remembered that. It's been a few years! And now, after my long-winded thoughts, I am late to bed....and to reading!!
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