Posted by Ann on May 15, 1997 at 01:28:51:
In reply to Re: Rebuttal: Identity and Principles posted by Kali on May 05, 1997 at 02:40:32
Sorry I took so long to respond, I have not been in the mood for detailed analysis.
Kali said: "I'm kind of offended about your psychobabble comments. I used the terms because I felt that they described Fanny's situation: she's so adverse to change and to new ideas that it affects her own development as a maturing human being, limiting fruitful interaction with others."
When I used the term psycho-babble, it was because I literally was unfamiliar with your terminology, which sounded like babble to my uneducated ears (I never took phych. in college). I truly do believe that the term "dysfunctional" is so over-used, it has lost whatever meaning it may once have held, and is used for so many different circumstances that it can apply to just about everyone in one way or another. It has reached the point that each person who uses it has their own personal definition, and therefore no one else can understand what is meant by the term without asking for further clarification, which I did. As for approach-avoidance, again, I have no idea what that means (and received an e-mail from someone who was glad I asked about it, because they didn't know the meaning of the term either. So I'm not the only one.) I have never been a fan of using jargon anywhere, and consider it to be a way to build a wall to keep the uninitiated out of discussions. Phych terms, like those you used, for me fall into the category of jargon, which I would define as words not fully understandable to a reasonably educated outsider, and therefore psycho-babble. I meant no offense, I simply did not understand what you meant by the terms.
I think we must agree to disagree about Mary's character. You say that Austen cheated at the end and made her into something she was not at the beginning; therefore, Fanny's observations are more a product of luck than skill. I say that Mary's character was consistent throughout, and Fanny's observations are due to her keen perception. I don't believe we will ever be able to convince the other of our position.
On another subject:
Kali said: "You also have completely ignored my statement that introversion is okay. MY problem with Fanny is her willful, stubborn ignorance of the world outside. She puts tremendous store into what is familiar, and what is traditional and comfortable, and is prone to paralysis when it comes to the unfamiliar and the "immoral" or "unworthy.""
I still don't believe that you really do accept that Fanny's introversion is okay. You say that you think it is okay, then go on to attack her for acting in an introverted manner. You seem to define it as merely being shy around others, but introversion like Fanny's goes far beyond that. It goes directly to the heart of your argument that Fanny is uncomfortable in unfamiliar situations, and is not easily open to new experiences. An introvert is exactly someone who puts great store in the familiar, traditional, and comfortable, and naturally shuns and distrusts the unfamiliar.
Cheryl Windom on the Austen-L described introversion such as Fanny's far better than I ever could. (I hope I don't step on toes posting this, but since it is already available on this site, it seems silly not to.):
Date: Fri, 2 May 1997 20:21:47 -0400
From: "[Cheryl Windom]"
Subject: FTR: Fanny's Very Clear Preference for Introversion
In Gifts Differing, Isabel Briggs Myers discusses the two complementary orientations to life, introversion and extraversion, as developed by CG Jung. When she describes the introvert, she could be discussing Fanny Price! Fanny fascinates me because she is not just an introvert, but an introvert with an overwhelming preference or, in Myers Briggs Type Inventory (MBTI) terms, a very clear preference (If she took the MBTI Form G, I believe she would score 41 points or higher out of 55 possible). Her preference for introversion is so strong that it can (and, in my opinion, sometimes does) work against her.
Fanny's behavior often seems passive, because she is reacting to the events/situations of her world. She has the reserved and questioning attitude of the introvert. She expects the waters to prove deep, and wants to pause and take soundings when engaged in the new and untried. She doesn't have the relaxed, confident attitude of the extravert who expects the waters to prove shallow and plunges readily into new and untried experiences (Mary and Henry Crawford, Maria, Julia and especially Tom Bertram). Where extraverts cannot understand life until they have experienced it, introverts cannot live life until they understand it. So, of course, introverts often seem to take too long to act. But, then, an extravert with a very clear preference will exhibit "Ready.....Fire!.....Aim" behavior that can also create problems!
With Fanny, Jane Austen has created a heroine who is, in Isabel's description of the introvert, "subtle and inpenetrable, often taciturn and shy, more at home in the world of ideas than in the world of people and things." Not easy for some readers to "root for" such a heroine. For one thing, according to MBTI data, extraverts outnumber introverts 3 to 1. The action-oriented, outward-focused extraverted reader may well react negatively to someone like Fanny. For another, Fanny's preference for introversion is so strong that her inpenetrable walls are very thick! During the night of a ball or party when Fanny stayed with Lady Bertram, "...the tranquility of such evenings, her perfect security in such a tete-a-tete from any sound of unkindness was unspeakably welcome to a mind which has seldom known a pause in its alarms or embarrassments."
A young woman seeking tranquil, secure evenings isn't the stuff of many heroines! Chapters 1-5 illustrate beautifully how any introvert adapts to a new environment, gets along with new people and engages positively in new experiences: She must be able to TRUST. Fanny's trust, like any introvert's, must be earned and that takes time. In the first chapters, who has earned Fanny's trust? Only one person, Edmund. One result of that trust is when Fanny learns to enjoy riding a horse. She trusts Edmund and therefore will take on the new experience with eventual pleasure. Fanny can never truly like and value the Crawfords if she cannot learn to trust them, no matter how easily agreeable they immediately seemed to everyone else. And, if she can't trust Henry, she can never marry him, no matter what pressures to accept him she will face later in the book.
Cheryl Windom INTJ
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