Further Fanny insight
Posted by Emily Anne on November 14, 1997 at 14:15:33:
In response to Uppity virtues!, written by gkb on November 13, 1997 at 01:08:01
] My friend Carolyn who died of Ehler's-Danlos SYndrome was a gentle, compassionate person like Fanny and she often said that it took too much energy to be angry about things.
I'm so sorry for the loss of your friend!
] But you are quite right, I believe in suspecting that people who dislike the character of Fanny Price are viewing her as a snippy, priggish holier-than-thou dominator--perhaps more of a projection from their own past than a perception of the author's creation. I think that Austen herself was a most sincere Christian who found strength and consolation in her faith. She perhaps had met many of the types of persons who want nothing more in life than to lord it over someone--anyone!--else, and she struggled in her heart to accord them the benefit of the doubt. To portray a young person who is heroic in her faith is one of the prime accomplishments in all of fiction. It seems to me that we are offered an opportunity to marvel in the skill and enjoy the gentle humor of the portrayal. When people abuse the character so roundly without taking the trouble to comprehend her situation, I am remined of a line in Sense and Sensibility: "...for when people are determined on a mode of conduct which they know to be wrong, they feel injured by the expectation of anything better from them."
Another view on Fanny that I have heard recently from a good friend is that it is irritating that Fanny is right for all the wrong reasons. A case in point of this was here immediate dislike of the Crawfords, which my friend believes was truly founded in jealousy. While I still don't find this to be true (her being right for all the wrong reasons), I can perhaps see some of the jealousy referred to. I, myself often feel a bit like Fanny, quietly observing those arround me. When that is the case, that I am in a situation that I feel more comfortable observing first, rather than participating right away, I often get a gut feel for the people that I wouldn't have had I just jumped right into the situation. I think, perhaps, that may be another way to see Fanny's judgement of others (I personally subscribe to this being more along the lines of what Austin intended for Fanny, after all she was supposed to be likeable, IMHO). Fanny has observed many people in many different situations throughout her life before the Crawfords come upon the seen. Perhaps she has enough previous experience to give her a pretty good idea of what they really are, in her initial, gut reaction. In Fanny's case, it is rather the antithesis of Elizabeth Bennet's, where her first impressions turn out to be the correct ones. I think I recall Fanny disliking the Crawfords even before her witnessing possible interest on Edmund's side for Mary, but please correct me if I'm wrong.
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