re: Pretentious Mary
Posted by Mark on November 19, 1997 at 16:27:58:
In response to Pretentious Mary, written by Constanza on November 19, 1997 at 14:51:29
] I don't think he was being cruel just making fun of the situation. Mary is so stuffy and pretentious; she has read a lot but cannot apply what she has read. She is very good at quoting but not at thinking.
] Besides, she believes herself to be so intelligent that probably she didn't even notice she was being teased.
Look at this scene as a whole. Mr. Bennet has a piece of information that he knows the rest of the family wants to hear. What does he do with it? Does he tell them? No. He plays with them. He first brings up the subject, knowing his wife will rise to the bait. He leads them around these sematic circles using every chance to put down his wife, Mary, and even Kitty who makes the mistake of coughing at the wrong time. Finally, when he has his wife thoroughly upset, he springs the trap. Now that he has had his fun, he leaves, with one last parting dig at his wife.
I must admit that when I first read this chapter, I thought it was funny. But I don't anymore. I see it as Jane Austen making us aware of some very harsh realities. She does it without us even being aware of her doing it. That is writing.
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