Good, gentle Fanny
Posted by gkb on May 23, 1998 at 00:58:04:
In response to Fanny Price is a suprisingly strong character., written by Tamee on May 22, 1998 at 10:59:38
Quite so. And once one has come to understand her position one can then begin to enjoy the gentle and compassionate ways that JA makes fun of her. The dear scene where she locks up Edmund's letter with the gold chain, to satisfy the feelings of youth and nature while she is conscientiously regulating her thoughts according to the principles she believes in--it is so sweet and yet so instructuve morally. We might not all have the same religious or moral principles but we can all appreciate the conflict between our desires and our sense of duty. It takes a broadly inclusive mind to delineate so clearly the reality of Fanny's situation, her feelings, and her character--and at the same time to make her situation so generally applicable to all types of human dilemmas. One could be a follower of Islam or a Buddhist and still have this kind of conflict. It is all the more remarkable that Fanny is undergoing this kind of testing with such a noble desire to do right at the tender age of 18. Like her sister Susan, one is disposed to admire the natural light of the mind that could distinguish so young rather than to condemn her for her errors--or her Eros! Austen very realistically shows a young girl divided against herself and does not expect her to be so self-knowing as we, the readers see she should be.
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