A simple test
Posted by Laraine on May 01, 1998 at 15:47:10:
In response to Secondary heroines, written by Linden on April 30, 1998 at 18:27:51
I think there's a pretty simple test for whether or not JA thought of someone is a "secondary heroine" type. Do they get married, and to whom? If it's a good guy, then they are blessed. If it's a Wickham or Willoughby, then sorry, off to the land of unhappy marriages with you. If you don't get married, it's usually because you don't deserve it, but sometimes it can be because you're too young.
Which means that
Jane Fairfax = yes
Jane Bennet = yes
Harriet Smith = yes
L&H Musgrove = yes
Isabella Thorpe = no (no marriage--blows her chance by being creepy)
Mary Crawford = no (no marriage--blows her chance by being creepy)
Lydia Bennet = no (deserves what she's landed with!)
Lucy Steele = no (deserves what she's landed with!)
Maria Bertram = no (deserves what she's landed with!)
And so on.....
Now I admit that you have to define "good guy" for this to work, but I really think that Austen gives us lots of clues as to what she feels is acceptable behavior, and the Crawfords and the Thorpes and Wickham and Willoughby finally show their true colors to be unacceptable.
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