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|GR Elinor's strength
Written by Barbara
(8/10/2003 9:35 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, GR: Well put, penned by Vianne
]I think Elinor's strength and her role as "mother" predate Dashwood's death. To some extent, they may be character traits, I think. Her outlook is more sober, her temperament less volatile, less given to romantic fancy than that of her mother and sister
I agree with all of this. We know so little about Mr. Dashwood before he dies, but some speculate that Elinor may have/must have taken after him in temperament, just as Marianne does their mother.
It's possible, but I rather tend to think that Elinor had to be the adult from a very young age, and I have the thought that perhaps Henry Dashwood was not unlike Willoughby in many ways. I plan to expound on this more as we progress through the chapters that have more relevant examples, but already we know that Mr. Dashwood had to stay in the good graces of an older, weatlhy relative in order to attain his expected inheritance of Norland, just as we learn Willoughby must do with respect to Allenham from Sir John in Ch. 9.
We also know that Henry Dashwood had a temperament that was 'cheerful and sanguine' and from the remark that John did not have the 'strong feelings of the rest of the family' that we can assume his father did, particularly to have had someone like Mrs. Dashwood so in love with him.
When the old uncle dies, and Mr. Dashwood realizes he does not own it outright as he had hoped or expected, he then thinks "he might reasonably hope to live many years, and by living economically, lay by a considerable sum from the produce of an estate already large, and capable of almost immediate improvement." Before he was the owner of Norland, perhaps there was not much that Mr. Dashwood might have done in order to save or to live economically, but surely it would have been possible to lay by a bit more money, had he been more prudent?
But it also sounds as though the parents were never in the habit of economizing. In Ch. 6 as Mrs. Dashwood dreams of all the improvements she will make to Barton cottage, the narrator remarks "In the mean time, till all these alterations could be made from the savings of an income of five hundred a-year by a
Mrs D's ideas about what she can and cannot reasonably hope to do with her money are unrealistic at best, as shown by her comment "Perhaps in the spring, if I have plenty of money, as I dare say I shall..."
No, I don't think any of this is new to Elinor at all.
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