Quick Index Board Index Home FAQ Site Map
|GR: Elinor's reaction to Willoughby's confession
Written by Delories
(9/14/2003 10:00 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Willoughby's "Confession" Scene (Obscenely Long), penned by Monica C.
Actually, I think your detailed tirade -- because Chapt. 44 is the longest two-handed scene in the novel, I think, and you've refuted W point by point, well done -- pretty much speaks for most of us. I think the reason why W pushes our buttons so hard is that most of us probably know/have known someone like him, because unfortunately, they do exist in real life (I have been personally acquainted with two, who made friends of mine and their children by these men suffer unspeakably).
And as JA points out, through Elinor (because I do think that she's expressing the author's own opinions, here), in the second para. of Chapt. 45, "She felt that his influence over her mind was heightened by circumstances which ought not in reason to have weight; by that person of most uncommon attraction... which it was no merit to possess" -- in other words, he's handsome and charming and has, all his life, gotten away with whatever he did, and will presumably continue to do so. Even Elinor, despite all she knows/has seen/has gone through, "felt that it was so, long, long before she could feel his influence less" (i.e. until the physical impact of his good looks wears off).
Which, of course, W _knows_, and that's why he turns up drunk and makes his "poor me" confession to Elinor: he wants to charm her into feeling sorry for him, so that he won't feel so guilty about what he did. Indeed, W succeeds, as far as he is concerned: despite E's "starting back with a look of horror at the sight of him" in the first line of Chapt. 44, by the end of the chapter, she actually "could not refuse to give him hers" when he holds out his hand in farewell. I, for one, would have crossed my arms firmly over my chest, but I think it's easier for us readers to judge W as he deserves, than for someone in his devilishly charming presence.
Sense & Sensibility is maintained by Barbara with WebBBS 3.21.