Posted by Barbara on April 29, 1997 at 11:47:43:
Bear me out a little here, as I have not yet read all of MP, nor am I as eloquent and knowledgeable as many of you. I also don't have my Austen books with me .
Austen's own favourite character was undoubtedly Elizabeth Bennet, as she is to many of us. Austen said that she didn't know what she would think of anyone who didn't like this "delightful creature who has ever appeared in print" (was it Austen or someone else who said that last bit?)
So, very early in her writing efforts, Austen managed to create what many would consider the perfect heroine in Lizzy. Could such a feat be duplicated? Surely not. And so, perhaps she was trying to create in her other works a heroine who was the antithesis of Lizzy or at least who would be more the opposite of what we might expect in a heroine, and yet still try to make her readers love them well? We can certainly see this in Emma , who Austen figured no one but herself would like, but who was nevertheless faultless despite her faults. Catherine Morland is also what we might consider an "anti-heroine"--no special abilities or talents. Fanny certainly has few if any qualities one would expect to find in a heroine, and this is probably why there are such mixed feelings about her. I don't know yet what I think. Anne Elliot hit the right notes with me as the opposite of what we would expect to find in a heroine, yet I still love her. She is pretty but not extraordinarily so, she is not particularly vivacious or witty, and she threw away her own best chance at happiness before the book began.
If this is in any way what Austen was trying to achieve in creating Fanny--that is creating a heroine who we would love despite her lack of traditional heroine qualities--I don't think she succeeded with Fanny.
Posting followups to old messages is disabled; instead go to the main index and post a new message which mentions this one.