JA & Catherine Morland
Posted by Robert on January 23, 1998 at 11:47:32:
In response to the liberation of Catherine., written by Kate on January 22, 1998 at 22:56:08
I agree with what is described as 'Prof Castle's thesis' but find it hard to believe that JA was describing the position of women in general.
It may be that society tried to keep women in a permanent state of childishness, but clearly JA doesn't believe anyone has to remain childish if they choose not to.
Henry does help Catherine to realise that she should judge people a little more. He assumes that she is capable, but I don't think he "realises she has to muddle through on her own"; he just teases her, & enjoys watching her taking seriously what he has just said. As Catherine realises that people do not always tell the truth: they may be joking, boasting, flattering (or deceived); she learns to analyse what is being said.
Henry sums her up when he says that she judges people's actions by what would make her behave in such & such a way; once she realises that other people's motives may be different from her own, she begins to think. But it takes a series of 'sledge hammers' to get her to start. By the time she is packed off by General Tilney, she's already learnt her lesson & this incident proves it to everbody else.
I don't think that JA is writing for women who have been held back by society, but for anyone (men included) who haven't learnt to think for themselves.
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