Out of place
Posted by Emily Anne on November 07, 1997 at 15:54:44:
In response to A Placement Replaced, with Placemat Optional, written by Ken on November 05, 1997 at 10:55:48
] ] Both Henry and Mary Crawford are substantially (morally) improved by their intercourse with country-values, and in like manner, Maria Bertram/Mrs. Rushworth is substantially (morally) depraved by her intercourse with city-values.
] Henry, not so. He is a freak of vanity, and remains so. Maria is wanting even before her encounter with city-values; her education has been lacking. Mary, now that I find MP online & re-read #48, is more problematic, as JA asserts that her taste has been changed by MP. But it doesn't really talk to her morals or character--and she is still resolved not to attach herself to a younger son. So what really has changed? The mental picture I get here is of someone looking through the window at a happy scene of family life, but not understanding what makes it a happy family.
I truly see that _neither_ Henry, nor Mary are morally improved by the end. To me, Mary's 'love' for Edmund seemed, from the beginning, to be fuel to her vanity, as Henry's 'love' for Fanny was. Edmund and Fanny were convenient, both seemed, on the surface to be easygoing in the respect that they tried not to offend, which I feel, was read by Henry and Mary as 'easily led'. I think that both Henry and Mary fully expected to be able to make Fanny and Edmund into what they wanted them to be. Henry wanted Fanny for himslef, to flatter his vanity, and even to 'train' in his ways -- the ways we see as immoral, brash, and quite improper (as he manages through deceit to force Fanny to accept the quite inappropriate gift of the necklace) -- she was sort of a protege (although until he got tired of waiting, he refused to se that she never could or would be any of these for him). Mary wanted Edmund because he even showed her he could be led, at least partially, in going against his morals when he was coaxed into doing the play, and because he seemed more attainable than his brother (as you said she really didn't want to go for the younger son).
Henry and Mary show their true colors in the beginning, sport only a surface change in order to try to get what they think they want, and revert to their 'natural' state in the end. The fact that Jane Austin does have them revert in this manner, indicates to me that had they gotten what they thought they wanted (Fanny and Edmund), they would have reverted anyway, which would negate the viability of the matches. If she ha meant the changes to be true, and real, the changes would have stuck, even if Henry and Mary hadn't gotten what they wanted, IMHO.
Now, a new point to consider:
Ever since I read Northanger Abbey, it has struck me how much Henry and Mary seem to be more fleshed out versions of John and Isabella. Henry and John both seem to have shallow infatuations with the heroines of their respective stories, practically forcing themselves on these women in a manner that belies any true sentiment on their part for the lady's feelings. Mary and Isabella both have 'one' thing about the man they thought they wanted to marry that they wish they could change (the ordination of Edmund and the money of Catherine's family). Does anyone else have any thoughts as to comparisons between these two sets of siblings? I realize my comparision is not thoroughly sketched, but this post is already so long.
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