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|GR: Extra SUTH to Mrs. Dashwood
Written by KateL
(8/24/2003 7:13 p.m.)
On my first reading of S&S, I remember being irritated with Elinor feeling sorry for herself and suffering in silence. No wonder nobody sympathised, I thought, when she won't even tell them there's a problem!
But I have you fellow Group Readers to thank for drawing my attention to Mrs. Dashwood's parenting style, and the more I read about her, the less she really comes across as an affectionate parent, and the more I understand her eldest daughter.
Elinor, only a teenager herself, supports her mother and sister in every crisis and never, ever gets any help from them. When faced with the destruction of all her hopes and the loss of love, she would be expected to focus only on *their* feelings:
"From their counsel or their conversation she knew she could receive no assistance; their tenderness and sorrow must add to her distress, while her self-command would neither receive encouragement from their example nor from their praise. She was stronger alone..."
Marianne is partly to blame of course, but allowances can be made for a teenager in her first crush. But Mrs. Dashwood! how much emotional neglect does one have to inflict on a child to teach her that asking for sympathy will only make things worse and she's better off shutting you out?
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