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|GR: Dear Mrs. Jennings...
Written by Lucy K
(9/1/2003 2:15 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, GR:Mothering Mariannne, penned by Barbara
] Along with her exclamations of 'Poor soul!' about Marianne and her declaration that she never would have joked about Marianne and Willoughby for all her money, had she known the true state of affairs, we see her doing absolutely everything in her power to try to help Marianne.
Yes, and this despite Marianne's always treating her with contempt. Mrs. Jennings I think is basically a good-hearted and kind soul. Her fault is a lack of "refinement" really in her attentions. But she is always well-intentioned and I think honourable.
] On the other hand, there are the distressing 'effusions of kindness' and 'ill-judged attentions' by Mrs. Jennings. The thought that a broken heart such as Marianne's could be cured by sitting by the fire, having company over for cards, eating dried cherries, olives and sweetmeats, and taking such remedy as worked well for the late Mr. Jennings' gout do show that the dear old lady really *is* lacking in the type of feeling that Marianne and Elinor have, just as they have thought all along!
I don't think she is lacking in feeling. She is reacting like alot of mothers would actually. How many moms give their upset children chocolate cake and treats to soothe their feelings? Or try to coax broken-hearted sons and daughters to "go to a dance" or "go to a movie" or out with friends to try to forget their problems? We've all either done it or had it done to us. And we go along with mom and dad and drag behind them to parties and to watch tv etc to make them happy. And for alot of us these attentions do ultimately distract us from feeling sorry for ourselves as well as expose us to all the wonderful things the world has to offer. I think Mrs. Jennings is acting as many parents would. And I admire her for doing so.
] Even more insensitive, perhaps, was her thought of Colonel Brandon's reaction to the news that Marianne was back on the marriage market again. "How he'll chuckle!", the declaration 'Brandon will have her' and that they would be married by midsummer or expecting 'instantaneous gaiety' on his part at the news.
Well, she was wrong in the belief that he'd laugh and be gay at Marianne's pain. But its not out of the realm of possibility that when hearing of Willoughby's betrayal of her that he might have that thought pop up that now the door might be open for him. Mrs. Jennings just has a much more pragmatic and superficial perspective of love and relationships. To her, any two eligible people might as well get together -- she doesn't concern herself with their mutual tastes or feelings or viewpoints. To her its just the natural order of things that two single attractive people who meet have just as much chance at marital happiness as anyone else.
] And yet, I cannot help but wonder if Marianne was better for having this type of 'mothering' going on than if she had had her own mother present when this all transpired? What do you all think?
Mrs. Jennings has a very "active" way of dealing with problems. One talks openly, one does something about it, one "has their cry" and then one moves on. She doesn't believe in the type of introspection and self-indulgence that Marianne engages in. Her mom would be just if not even more upset than Marianne. And the two would feed off of each other's sorrow.
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