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|GR: Fanny is NOT mainly to blame here
Written by Candice Michelle
(8/11/2003 2:58 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, no SUTH to Fanny, penned by Dagmar
Oh, John knows exactly what he is doing. Don't get me wrong, I hate Fanny, but I hate her and John exactly equally. And, in this case, refusing to help his sisters at all, after promising his father that he would, he is more to blame than Fanny. They are both being greedy and cruel, but only he is breaking a promise and shirking a family responsibility.
And John never shows that he really intends to do more than he eventually does -- nothing. From ch 1: "When he gave his promise to his father, he meditated within himself to increase the fortunes of his sisters by the present of a thousand pounds a-piece. He then really thought himself equal to it. ... He thought of it all day long, and for many days successively, and he did not repent."
If he really meant to send the money, why did he not do so? Why, instead, did he spend many days thinking about it? I maintain that it is because (regardless of Fanny's interference) he really *wasn't* up to parting with the sum. He just wanted to spend days thinking about it so that he could spend that time thinking himself quite generous.
By the end of ch 2, when Fanny has reminded him of the china and linens that Mrs. Dashwood the elder has inherited, John says, "A valuable legacy indeed! And yet some of the plate would have been a very pleasant addition to our own stock here." This is not something he would say if he was just going along with Fanny. He is truly, truly selfish, and in that moment really does wish that -- in addition to his mother's fortune, his wife's fortune, and his father's estate -- he could also have inherited his father's nice plates and sheets!
Selfish, selfish John is not simply Fanny's puppet. They are two of a kind, and the conversation in ch 2 is engaged in -- not for the one to convince the other -- but rather as a discursive device, so that they can do what both want to do, and John can feel better about it.
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