My theory on Fanny Price
Posted by Helen on November 07, 1997 at 10:26:10:
In response to The Fanny Dispathing Essay, written by Cassia on November 06, 1997 at 14:12:00
(which of course solves all problems with its absolute truth at one fell swoop) ;-)
It seems that most of us identify with various of the Austen heroines - I was just browsing on the Emma board (I'm in a really really foul mood today, my faculty is being mean to me, so I'm wandering over Pemberley like a mad thing looking to be soothed by the wise words of Austen and her tribe) and my ole'pal Erin confessed that she saw herself as Emma. Now, Emma is described by Austen as "a heroine whom no-one but myself will like" (forgive me if this is a misquote): why does she like her? - because she sees herself in her. Similarly we can see ourselves, as I think Jane Austen could, in Elinor, Marianne, Elizabeth - even Anne. We're all those kind of people, who make stupid mistakes or misconceptions, rush in with our judgements and opinions, and waste opportunities for love and happiness. These are all sins of commission - actively making mistakes and doing wrong things.
So, I think that in Fanny Price, passive but innately good, Jane Austen creates a heroine who conforms to the type of virtue she doesn't think she herself possesses. And therefore she thinks that this kind of instintive "being in the right" is a good thing, and an ideal which she would like to live up to but finds impossible. So for me, Fanny Price is the anti-type of Jane Austen, Jane Austen thinks she must be "better" than the type she herself is - which is more like Mary Crawford.
What do you think?
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