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Written by Colin P
(8/22/2003 3:36 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, The engagement question, penned by CherylS
] Also what was the huge deal of Elinor asking Marianne if she was engaged? After all doesn't a mother or sister have a right to know what her daughter/sister is doing, especially when comes to something life changing like an engagement?
A mother does; a sister does not. Clearly Marianne has a right not to tell her sister if she wants privacy for now; and she hasn't told her. Perhaps this is an example of Elinor taking propriety a bit too far: she feels it is her mother's job to do any arm-twisting, and she herself can only advise.
] Is there something I'm missing with the customs of the time regarding engagements that you just shouldn't ask people or is Mrs. Dashwood just being totally unreasonable, because frankly I think she is. Much of Marianne's sadness might be averted if her mother probed a bit.
Mrs Dashwood's reticence is not due to any custom. We are in doubt, and Elinor is in doubt, but Mrs Dashwood is not in doubt: they are engaged. Marianne has not told her, so Marianne must have a reason for not telling her. She doesn't want to admit the possibility that she may be wrong.
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