Posted by Barbara on June 11, 1997 at 15:33:33:
In reply to Re: S&S and Emma posted by Ann on June 08, 1997 at 21:26:56
] ] ] Why was the secret engagement of Jane Fairfax and Frank Churchill so morally reprehensible in Emma but the secret engagement of Lucy Steele and Edward Ferrars no big problem in S&S? Was it that people object to LS so violently that the bad morals of the secrecy was not thought of?
] Part of it might be that both Jane and Frank were happy (mostly) with their engagement, but Edward wanted out and was stuck in his.
To me the difference is that Frank Churchill was certainly out to actively deceive everyone as to his engagement to Jane. He treated Jane rudely or with indifference in public while showing marked attention to Emma. He was indeed fortunate that Emma felt nothing for him, for he led her on in every respect, and I think the outrage is mainly on this point.
Edward, on the other hand, was not really pretending not to be engaged to Lucy. Once the two are reunited in London, he admits their engagement. He was also not intentionally trying to lead Elinor on, or complimenting her in front of her friends and relations and giving others around them the impression that there was reason to suspect an attachment. Much of what Mrs. Dashwood and Marianne suspect is based on conjecture and intuition--there is no overt evidence as there certainly was in the case of Frank and Emma.
I think Edward was in denial about the whole thing. He was kind of acting as if maybe he ignored the engagement, it would just go away.
I think another problem is that if Frank really loved Jane, he was a cad to treat her so, even if they did have a secret engagement. Why could he not simply have ignored her rather than going out of his way to pretend he didn't like her and did like someone else. There is no pretense in Edward's actions towards Lucy or Elinor.
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