Why Henry is so different
Posted by MB on January 02, 1998 at 10:50:11:
In response to Perfect foil to the boorish Thorpe... Wonder how she came up with Henry..., written by Kathlyn on January 01, 1998 at 20:02:22
] I've been reading the recent JA biographies and wonder how much of Henry Tilney might be patterned after her own brother Henry? By all that I have read of his character, it sounds like there may be a few similarities. I think that it is interesting that one of her first male characters could be so wonderfully realized and most of the others so ... (I hate to be impertinent and say one-dimensional, please forgive).
] But really, why is Henry SOOOOO "different"????
DISCLAIMER : This has no basis in any research - it's merely an opinion.
JA needs to have at least one character in every novel who will (for the most part) be representative of her values, opinions, intelligence, and wit. In other novels, she uses her heroines : Elizabeth, Elinor, Fanny, Anne, Emma? (I actually think that Emma represents JA's wit and Mr. Knightley represents everything else).
Now, as much as I like Catherine, and as much as I think she and her family represent JA's values, I don't think that she can be said to represent JA's wit or intelligence. JA needed Catherine to be a certain way for the sake of the parodic (word?) elements of NA. So, JA used her hero to represent her in this novel.
It strikes me that the characters who are usually the most "instructive" - Elizabeth, Elinor, Mr. Knightley, Henry Tilney - are also the ones who fit in with my idea of JA's own character.
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