Some conspiracy, perhaps, but....
Posted by Lynn on January 06, 1998 at 14:08:06:
In response to The Thorpe Conspiracy Theory? - (long), written by Carolyn B on January 05, 1998 at 19:14:04
Did Isabella and John Thorpe actively conspire to secure the affections of James and Catherine Morland? The book does not state it outright (though readers can find plenty of clues to form a conspiracy theory). The movie seems to imply that John was pushing Isabella.
I think that perhaps they may have had some discussions about how convenient it would be if they both married into the same (rich) family, but I don't think they went to the extremes that the material you quoted seems to imply.
since Mrs. Thorpe and Mrs. Allen "had been contented to know nothing of each other for the past fifteen years" (chapter 4)
I agree that this quote seems to prove that Mrs. Thorpe probably didn't care a whit about Mrs. Allen until they renewed their acquaintance in Bath and it suited them both to have a family to spend time with.
If Isabella had really meant John to marry Catherine all along, then I think she would have discouraged Catherine from Mr. Tilney much more than she did (I believe someone mentions this below). I think this just occurs to her later, as John seems attracted to Catherine, etc. Isabella's first priority with Catherine is to be able to get closer to James, which starts as soon as the two girls meet, and continues with them urging Catherine to go on the drives with them - Isabella wants Catherine to go so that she can be with James and she can't be the only lady of the party. It suits her purpose to have Catherine go along, and the fact that John seems to like Catherine just adds fuel to the fire. Isabella has gotten her information about James' financial situation from John, who of course has probably already embellished the amount.
I don't think I'm making myself clear..... Isabella likes Catherine because it suits her to have someone to impose her will upon, and because being close to Catherine furthers her cause with James. Anything occurring John and Catherine is just icing on the cake for Isabella. John, who has already told Isabella that James' family is worth money, begins to believe it himself, and all of Isabella's plans help him to try to make a match between himself and Catherine. Is that more clear?!
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