Posted by Sandy on November 20, 1997 at 10:32:33:
In response to I agree with you, written by Constanza on November 20, 1997 at 08:42:21
] If a father today would talk to his daughter like that it would be thought of as cruel. If Jane Austen had shown us that Mary was hurt, I probably would have thought him cruel. Jane Austen was, I think, very accomplished at producing empathy in her readers, but I think Jane Austen did not think Mr. Bennet cruel.
] I completely agree with you. Mary is not hurt but bewildered. And neither his daughters or his wife ever complain of his being cruel or anything like that, except when he ACTS against their wishes, i.e. by not visiting Bingley or later on **spoiler?** when he refuses to accept Lydia back.
Constanza, I think the word "bewildered" is true of Mary. She is someone who reads a lot but doesn't think a lot. I don't believe the information is processed. She would be a student today who would memorize information rather than understand it. She probably could dredge up facts and might do well on multiple choice exams but would do poorly on essay tests. Mrs. Bennet does sometimes accuse Mr. Bennet of being cruel. However, he really had gone to visit Mr. Bingley and is now enjoying the joke. As for his treatment of Lydia -- I am rereading the book and have not gotten to that point yet, but as I recall, he finally put his foot down with Lydia and maybe should have done so earlier in her life.
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