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|GR: I'd say before
Written by Deborah Jane
(8/10/2003 8:35 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, GR: Mrs Dashwood - mother, sister and daughter, penned by Cheryl
Anyway, it's a good question. It seems to me that JA is speaking not only of the present but the past as she uses the words "frequently" and "generally."
But, I'd offer as further evidence another thing that struck me deeply during this read. As someone not too long ago bereaved myself, I was think very important the description of Marianne and Mrs. Dashwood being overpowered with the agony of the grief, giving themself "up wholly to their sorrow, seeking increase of their wretchedness in every reflection that could afford it..." while Elinor, though "deeply afflicted" is cast in the role (and equal to) struggling and asserting herself. This single paragraph is evidence enough for me that Elinor's strength is not new, her role in the family as "the strong one" is expected, a given. I admire her all the more for it, frankly.
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