Posted by Annie3 on November 20, 1997 at 12:45:52:
In response to The enigmatic Mr. Bennet, written by Mark on November 19, 1997 at 13:19:47
]Mr. Bennett doesn't strike me as cruel just sarcastic and having some fun with Mary, who takes things way too seriously. He is also self-deprecating and sees the humor in his situation--married to a woman he doesn't regard, having limited financial assets, no heir and three very silly daughters. I believe he views Lizzie most like him in intellect and he respects Jane for her goodness.
] I was reading the second chapter and was struck once again by the cruelty Mr. Bennet displays at times. Witness the following exchange:
The girls stared at their father. Mrs. Bennet said only, ``Nonsense, nonsense!''
] ``What can be the meaning of that emphatic exclamation?'' cried he. ``Do you consider the forms of introduction, and the stress that is laid on them, as nonsense? I cannot quite agree with you there. What say you, Mary? for you are a young lady of deep reflection I know, and read great books, and make extracts.''
] Mary wished to say something very sensible, but knew not how.
] ``While Mary is adjusting her ideas,'' he continued, ``let us return to Mr. Bingley.''
] Here we see him putting Mary on the spot, asking her to say something sensible about a subject that makes no sense. Notice that not even Jane or Elizabeth can make sense of it. When Mary is left speachless, he snidely moves on. That is not being witty. That's just being plain cruel.
] This side of Mr. Bennet was brought out much better in P&P1 than P&P2, IMO. P&P2 barely showed it, which is too bad.
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