Posted by Golda on May 17, 1998 at 11:00:34:
In response to JA & sex outside marriage, written by Linden on May 16, 1998 at 19:39:25
] I'm puzzled by JA's views on sex outside marriage. In almost all cases she obviously considers it shocking, and it ends in disaster for the woman (or near disaster, in Lydia's case).
] But there's one huge exception: Mrs Clay gets away with it in "Persuasion" when she goes off with Mr Elliot. She may even end up as Lady Elliot as a result.
] Thoughts, anyone?
Does Mrs. Clay really 'get away with it'? I re-read the passage in Persuasion and without saying it directly, I think JA is implying that Mrs. Clay marries Mr. Elliot, but maybe not. If she doesn't marry him, her reputation is lost forever. If she does, then how ironic that the next Lady Elliot should be of such little rank.
As I write this and examine my thoughts, it almost seems as if JA was in a hurry to finish the book. She neatly wrapped up Anne and Frederick's tale, but Mrs. Clay and Mr. Elliot merit only two paragraphs. Perhaps, as this was JA's last novel, and she had lived more of her life, she was willing to write a story where the best behavior is not required to triumph.
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