Ms Frances Price--at what cost?
Posted by gkb on November 12, 1997 at 00:23:57:
In response to Ms. Price, written by Tilde on November 11, 1997 at 03:52:10
] Perhaps the gulf between Fanny-bashers and Fanny-lovers is, that Fanny-bashers read JA as contemporary novels, whereas Fanny-lovers read them more like historical documents ?
I think that is true, but also people who have good health seem completely unable to imagine what it is like to have a chronic bodily weakness, like the anemia which probably afflicted Fanny. Some people are unwilling to imagine themselves as being in a position of such dependency , and very few people have the innate softness of ego that characterizes Fanny. She has to learn to grow a shell to protect herself against every form of emotional assault on her pride, her character and her principles, including having the man she loves lead her a few steps onto the primrose path. She is far from perfect in the sense of being 'flawless', but in the sense of being 'ripe'--'complete'--'mature', she is the most perfected of JA's heroines. Her early hardships and gentle nature have caused her to grow up sooner than anyone in the book. Even Sir THomas is too worldly-wise to recognize the quality of her faith and the value of her integrity. and do remember that the action of the book takes palce when she is only 18 years old! To have such high moral principles is not rare (I hope!) in young people today, but to have the courage of her convictions AND the mildness of manner to recommend them is an achievement even Jane Bennet might emulate.
Hey, I will go on at any length to explicate Fanny's character. I can easily sympathize with Henry's wish to defend her against the dominance of stronger personalities. Most people do not realize the full extent to which British society was then devoted to establishing people's relative status. Most Americans do not understand the sense of inferiority that British working classes routinely accepted. So, Fanny is quite a piece of work, and so is this missive.!!
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