Adoption of children
Posted by Tracy Y on March 17, 1998 at 20:28:53:
I noticed while reading "Emma" again a certain passage where the discussion of Frank Churchill leads Isabella Woodhouse Knightley to make a comment on the practice of adoption (where parents were still living):
"How very pleasing and proper of him!" cried the good-hearted Mrs. John Knightley. "I have no doubt of his being a most amiable young man. But how sad it is that he should not live at home with his father! There is something so shocking in a child’s being taken away from his parents and natural home! I never could comprehend how Mr. Weston could part with him. To give up one’s child! I really never could think well of any body who proposed such a thing to any body else."
I wonder how this passage was taken by JA's family. Since Edward was "given" to the Knight family to adopt, is this JA's voice we hear condemning her parents for that decision? More specifically, is this JA condemning her mother who, according to Tomalin (on page 38), Henry Austen says had to persuade JA's father who "was less keen on the adoption plan than their mother"?
Although I have read this passage before, reading it now with a little better understanding of where JA was coming from made it practically jump off the page at me. I would think this would have done the same for family members who were even more intricately aware of family matters.
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