Sir T and Austen admitting he was wrong(Long!)
Posted by Bonny on June 17, 1998 at 21:15:52:
In response to How do you see Sir Thomas?, written by gkb on June 16, 1998 at 12:14:45
Perhaps Sir T. was too much absorbed with bringing Tom's overt bad behavior into line to be able to see Maria's conceit--besides, he was gone during much of her adolescent growth. Maybe the fault was not in him only but in untoward circumstances and his lack of flexiblity?
I started thinking about this stuff before Lea posted. She covered some of the points here, but i thought I'd explore it anyway, for a slightly diff. view.
Some points on Sir T...
Two more of my objections to Sir T's behaviour(they[my objections] mostly stem from Sir T's management of the females in his family, hence his action as a patriarch )He exploits his position of power IMHO, in :
-the hard time he gives Fanny over refusing Mr Crawford, I think it is cruel: when he makes the distinction b/w Fanny and his children "you do not owe me the duty of a child"etc I think he's making the distinction b/w Fanny and his children that has been impressed into her all her life, 'perhaps I could expect no better of you'(realizing this could be a singular reading and could be objected to - feel free); "but if your heart can acquit you of ingratitude" - for me that constitutes emotional blackmail.
- a related point (and this is appearance, or false appearance on the continuum) When he sends Fanny to Portsmouth, the good-hearted Fanny and Edmund construe this as a kind act, but again Sir T's own "intent" is more severe than this, a tactical move, which again IMO is manipulative - he hopes to force Fanny into submission by this move. He thinks that the force of contrast, hardship of life at P. v her "soft" life at MP will triumph over her "youthful romantic fancies(not exact quote)"; its partially true that he wants her to marry for money, against her own inclination, "to secure her own comfort"(much like Charlotte Lucas/); but Fanny has more substance than this, she'd rather endure.
-I also think he's very much at fault as regards Maria's marriage. (so is she)
Now, a partial vindication of Sir T. to gain perspective I re-read the last chapter & found many "servicable quotes", that we might like to analyze for "Con's Con" purposes.
-"Sir Thomas, poor Sir Thomas, a parent, and conscious of errors in his own conduct as a parent, was the longest to suffer"(anyone else think that this is ironic tone or should we take it on face value?). He admits he was "culpable" as regards Maria's marriage, and "had been governed by motives of selfishness and worldly wisdom ."
-Tom provides comfort in that he has "suffered and learnt to think, two advantages which he had never known before" and becomes"what he ought to be "useful" - useful, an important concept in MP?(Ja's endorsement or Sir T.s?)
-he decides its not just his education at fault w/ his daughters, but something wanting within - "principle, active principle had been wanting". In contrast, Fanny does have active principle and I think thats what we've been getting at, Constanza. He talks about theory & practice in religion, which Lea has foregrounded in her post.
-but even as he learns Austen suggests another weakness in Sir T? what do you all make of "To be relieved from her(Mrs Norris) therefore, was so great a felicity, that had she not left bitter remembrances behind her there might have been danger of his learning almost to approve the evil (Maria's "entanglement") which produced such a good". Interpreted in this light, Sir T. is suggested to be as hypocritical as ever, but the irony may be doubling back on itself in a way I'm not getting. just a reflection on the obnoxiousness of Mrs N.?(in context I guess thats more likely) Help me out?
-Austen also points out the sexual double standard - there will be no "second spring of character" for Maria,virtually exiled, but Henry will go unpunished by society, reproached only by his conscience(?)/what he has lost in Fanny.
I should still like to read a feminist thesis into MP: it may now be that the patriarch is shown to be fallible & that the novel is as much or more about Sir T.s (re-)education as anyones.
- Suffering and relief from suffering gkb 12:21:30 6/18/98 (12)
- Yes...and...but... Bonny 08:32:54 6/19/98 (11)
- Crime and Crewelty gkb 17:00:29 6/19/98 (10)
- Cruelty in subjecting you to ramblings& possible kernel of truth? Bonny 07:45:19 6/22/98 (7)
- Fifth Impressions gkb 11:44:51 6/22/98 (6)
- Woww! Who needs sunglasses now? ;-) nfm Constanza 12:25:28 6/22/98 (5)
- I meant to say.... gkb 12:42:13 6/20/98 (1)
- Oh, gkb! LOL! (nfm) Bonny 21:33:23 6/20/98 (0)
- A hurried answer with random thoughts Constanza 08:46:04 6/18/98 (1)
- Don't apologize... Bonny 08:36:59 6/19/98 (0)
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