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|GR: Fanny's apogee? (-;
Written by Rebecca Mog
(8/12/2003 7:48 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, GR: The introduction of Fanny, penned by joe m
] Before we are even given a name for this vile creature, we are told that John Dashwood's wife is not amiable, and she's a bad influence upon her husband. Unlike with some characters, Fanny isn't even given a chance of being thought of kindly.
What follows may be mistaken for a defence of Mrs Fanny Dashwood, but I assure you that my tongue is firmly in my cheek. (-;
In re-reading chapters 2 & 3, I'm of the suspicion that Fanny isn't given enough credit for her respectability by many gentle readers. JA certainly provides examples of Fanny's refinement and respectability - or should that be her desire for respectability? (-;
Fanny makes very clear her opinion of 'blood' and what constitutes proper relations in this sentence from chapter 2: 'And what possible claim could the Miss Dashwoods, who were related to him only by half blood, which she considered as no relationship at all, have on his generosity to so large an amount?.
She goes on to compound matters with what amounts to her definition of respectability. However, this is a description which relies on comparing the 'have-nots' (her female Dashwood in-laws) with the 'haves', of which she would surely count herself one. She exclaims, positively gleefully, that ' Their housekeeping will be nothing at all. They will have no carriage, no horses, and hardly any servants; they will keep no company, and can have no expences of any kind!' She is thus inferring that there can be nothing less respectable than her relations living on £500 a year.
And the apogee of all this respectability? Why, reading in chapter 3 that one of dear Mrs John Dashwood's most heart-felt wishes, while waiting for her brother Edward to distinguish himself, was that 'it would have quieted her ambition to see him driving a barouche'.
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