Posted by Bonny on June 04, 1998 at 06:17:19:
In response to Excellent!, written by gkb on June 02, 1998 at 16:42:48
] Here's hoping the home'puter is raring to go when you get there! What excellent points you make. There is another aspect of Mrs. Norris that is skewered by JA very accurately--namely her lack of genuine refinement appropriate to her class. In this regard she rather resembles Mrs. Bennet or Mrs. Phillips raised to a slighly higher sphere. She is always working overtime to depress and dominate and lower Fanny's self-esteem
Yes, I wonder if thats part of the reason she had Fanny "transplanted" to Mansfield in the first place. I'm still not clear on this point, but I think part of it originates in her love of organizing and being first with proposals and ideas.
--I suppose because she herself had to accept a lower rank in life than her younger sister.
Yes I think that's true. The case about the three marriages holding different fates for the Ward sisters - they are positioned in three different classes as a result of marriage- is strongly made at the beginning of MP. Mrs Norris, Miss Ward that was, was thought quite as handsome as Lady Bertram. They were all equal til marriage, and Mrs Norris perhaps "more equal" because she was Miss Bertram, and entitled to all the privileges of being the eldest young woman in the family.Perhaps her fondness for Maria is partly becaues she was the "Maria" of her family, first in consequence, if equal in beauty with her sisters. (Of course this can only be speculation, but in this case she made a more respectable choice regarding her future than Maria, or at least sticks with it .) So because her marriage hasn't elevated her as high as her sister (which isn't "fair"), she makes atonement to herself and enjoys organizing her passive sister's great house and the use of its priveleges as far as she can - which is only "fair." I'd also like to suggest that this lack of consequence (partly resulting from comparison of her sister's marriage with her own)can account for some of Mrs Norris's "vices." (Her excess of energy is another factor in the Norris equation.)When her husband dies, Like Mrs and Miss Bates, she is indanger of becoming socially in significant - a clergyman's widow, not very high on the social scale, not very respected. Who would notice her, if she wasn't always bustling and bristling? She also uses her sister's position to elevate her own by finding excuses to be at MP and convincing others she's indispensable to the running of the place, and coming up with ideas to make herself seem clever and important.Putting Fanny down is, I think part of her anxiety or insecurity about her own social position. It's also quite ironic. Then there's her vigour, her spirit of activity, she must invest her energy in something. Here's where her economizing-greed ties in again. For her class economy or prudence would be seen as a good trait, her duty, and Mrs Norris doesn't have much else to interest/energize her in her establishment/marriage, so unluckily for herself & other's judgements of her, she takes it all too far and her economy shades off into obsession and greed. I'm starting to think it's almost tragi-comic.Mrs Norris's tragic flaw is her excess? But of course if Mrs Norris had been a different "better" person she might have found more positive channels for her energy, and been a better influence in her extended fam. at MP. Which leads into another idea- Susan Price.Susan, with her activity may be a less warped version of Mrs Norris. She is a nice compromise between Fanny and Mrs Norris, an improvement on the lack of energy in Fanny (whose "usefulness" at MP is damaging to her health)and the temper of Mrs Norris. In fact she may be more than Lady B., deserves, but its nice to have Susan provided for, so the ending's rather neat, in this way.
To have Sir Thomas rate her down so fast on the issue of Fanny's carriage to the dinner party and blindness to the immorality of the private theatricals gives me much glee!
Oh, me too, but to my mind Sir T. himself needs a dressing down at times, even though he experiences "the pain of self reproach" on Maria's vice and Julia's folly, and revises his attitude to Fanny, he still does not become self-aware enough for my liking.
I tried to keep coherent in this post, but I found myself just rattling away on the keys- so good to have one's own computer back again!
An extension of Mrs Norris and the young people - thoughts her role in the education of Maria and Julia, and Fanny? (Edmund and Tom, too if you wish)
- I've thought of Mrs. Norris differently... Lisa S. 11:32:21 6/05/98 (3)
- of course not! Bonny 06:46:07 6/07/98 (0)
- Principles and appearances again? Constanza 14:51:53 6/05/98 (0)
- Very close to base! Appearance & Intent don't match :-) nfm Lea 12:12:10 6/05/98 (0)
- Sorry I just jumped in... lauri 17:55:04 6/04/98 (0)
- Education & Mrs. Norris - lauri 17:53:03 6/04/98 (3)
- Moral education gkb 14:20:01 6/04/98 (8)
- LOL! Bonny 06:07:08 6/07/98 (7)
- Hardship vs. indulgence gkb 16:19:55 6/07/98 (6)
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