of course not!
Posted by Bonny on June 07, 1998 at 06:46:07:
In response to I've thought of Mrs. Norris differently..., written by Lisa S. on June 05, 1998 at 11:32:21
Of course you're not off base! I didn't expand on my hypocrisy point from my fisrt post(the reply to gkb), but you have done it admirably. My second post is a sympathetic approach to Mrs Norris, conventionally regarded as the villain of MP (an honour I would delegate to Sir T.,followed by H.C., a reading I admit is influenced by the feminist oriented criticism of JA I'm reading at the moment.)It's just an idea, and of course it's open for discussion.
To be honest, Mrs Norris is a riddle to me, or her motives are. I'm not sure her behaviour is accounted for in any certain terms. She is consistently characterized as sparing her own expense wherever possible, and enjoying any importance she can give herself - being the first with news - she wants Sir T. to die, for heaven's sake, so that she can be first to break the news, and organize MP more prominently.
I'm not convinced that she had Fanny (why did she fix on Fanny?)brought to MP just because she wanted to be seen as the originator of a charitable scheme. Was the charity aspect just one of her excuses? A new casting: the extra evil Mrs Norris. did she forsee how useful such a niece would be as an unpaid servant? She seems to use Fanny as she does the rest of the MP priveleges.
I still see her economizing and organizing as idiosyncracies (and outlets for her energy), not fully explained in the novel the way Austen explains, say, Mr Collins's idiosyncratic (and enjoyably ridiculous)mix of obsequious deference and self-importance in terms of his past history, his oppression by his father, and his importance raised by Lady C. They're (economizing/organizing ) like sad compulsions. Granted its all for herself (her economizing)(the green curtains!)and if I seemed to imply in my earlier post that I thought she was saving for her sister's families the fault was in my wording (she, of course says she's saving for the Bertram young 'uns), but what will she gain by putting more and more by each year, she doesn't appear to want to spend iton any thing. She appears to enjoy scrimping, she's like a miser, and she's pleased whwn her husband dies because it justifies her economizing more!
I'm not trying to portray Mrs Norris as a good person, my point was that Austen isn't completely critical of her, (as i think she is of Sir Walter in P.)there's some understanding here, like at the end, I think there's some sympathy for her being deluded in Maria, who cares nothing for her. Austen is not so much the detached observer as to have no sympathy for women like Mrs N.
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