Hardship vs. indulgence
Posted by gkb on June 07, 1998 at 16:19:55:
In response to LOL!, written by Bonny on June 07, 1998 at 06:07:08
Appearance of goodness vs. substance of goodness does seem to be a recurrent motif in many of the characters--Mary and Henry, Mrs. Norris, Maria and Julia, and even Mr. Yates. Perhaps there are more that I have not mentioned? What do other people think about this motif?
] So many young people in Austen seem to be spoiled early by "prosperity and indulgence", even Emma, who diagnoses this in Frank C. Fanny's education at the hands of Mrs N.and MP is just the opposite. Is this significant, or is it nature alone which triumphs with Fanny?
My guess on this is that Fanny has felt the true hardships of ill-health, poverty, and being separated from those she loves early in life. She has never been indulged, not by her mother and not by her aunts. She must have felt "born to struggle and endure" It would be difficult to "spoil" a child who has been so deprived of mothering. In a kind, loving family, she would have learned to be useful and good, but she would also have known more joy. It is the joylessness of her situation that keeps her below the salt. Mrs. Norris's domineering is hardly more damaging to Fanny's ego than her uncle's reserve and gravity.
She is so very sensitive to rejection and so temperamentally melancholy that it would have taken much positive kindness and individual attention to develop in her the good opinion of self that all the others had by nature. Gifted with strength and courage, how could the Bertrams form an idea of self as weak and dependent? They all felt dependence as a restriction of liberty. Tom Bertram only experiences ill health and separation from family in his late twenties. FAnny has lived with it for 18 years. No wonder she seems older of mind than the others!
- Motifs Constanza 14:42:58 6/09/98 (5)
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