Posted by CK on July 25, 1997 at 00:07:45:
In reply to Re: Harriet and Anne, have they something in common? posted by Xenia on July 24, 1997 at 16:26:10
Given Harriet's status in society, she was probably very susceptible to Emma's guidance. Not being able to know who her parents were, Harriet must have known that she was probably illegitimate. Not only was there a social stigma to illegitimacy, but I think the law at that time (unfairly) considered illegitimate children as "nullius filius" or the child of no one, and therefore entitled to no inheritance from anyone. To have Emma, the cream of Highbury society, doating on her and convinced that she is a gentleman's daughter must have been a great compliment. It was probably the first time that anyone of any high rank ever paid any attention to her. On top of that, Harriet wasn't very bright. Emma's influence was able to sway Harriet away from Robert Martin without Harriet really believing that she was endangering future happiness. Harriet probably believed that she was giving up Robert Martin for someone better.
On the other hand, I get the feeling from Anne that even though she gave into Lady Russell's persuasion, Anne probably realized that with Mr. Wentworth was her true happiness, but she gave into family and society pressures for the family's happiness. Anne probably realized the great sacrifice she was making to fulfil her duty, yet none the less made it. I agree with the earlier post that Lady Russell's wish for Anne to fill her mother's shoes was probably a hugh pressure on her and forced her to cave in.