Posted by Arnessa on May 08, 1998 at 00:10:32:
In response to Rakes, written by Linden on May 07, 1998 at 18:21:49
] Does anybody have a soft spot for a rake? The cads and seducers that provide much of the plot in so many novels (including JA's)?
] I notice on the S&S board that some people have come out and confessed that they like Willoughby. What about the others like Henry Crawford and Wickham?
] My thoughts are that JA does not really handle them well: she doesn't make them charming enough: and presumably they must be charming, or they couldn't be very successful rakes.
] In JA, however, either they don't seriously attract the heroine (eg Wickham, Mr Elliot, Henry Crawford), or if they do (Willoughby) it's because she doesn't know that he's a rake.
] Thoughts, anyone?
JA's heroines hardly seem attracted to rakes at all, I agree. But I do wonder whether or not she was (even a teensy bit) considering how they do figure in a number of her novels. And I think she paints a rake perfectly. I was attracted to Wickham before I knew Darcy's true character. And I think the only thing that makes me feel no pity for him is that he's soooo buffoonish in the end (running away with Lydia for Heaven' sake) and Darcy's soooo - well, Darcy. Henry Crawford and Mr. Elliot you feel will bounce right back into the game, so there's no use feeling too much for them. Willoughby, however, I feel that a little bit of his heart got wounded too even if he was a rake. Willoughby is the only one of JA's rakes whom I think could have been successfully reformed.
The key to a good rake is charm, as you say. And maybe after you read the books so many times knowing the ending, you are oblivious to the charm of Wickham and Willoughby and Henry Crawford. But I remember feeling just like Lizzy that in a room full of snobs like Miss Bingley, and sychophants like Mr. Collins, Wickham's seeming openness was a breath of fresh air. Here was someone whose conversation was aimable and who seemed determined to be happy despite his troubles. Here was someone who was out for a bit of fun, but I suppose, therein lies the danger.
- What about Henry C Sarah P 09:34:16 5/08/98 (4)
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