Posted by Margie on August 26, 1997 at 04:11:23:
In reply to Fanny in MP posted by Ann on August 25, 1997 at 20:17:03
] From time to time this sort of an explanation of the book flits through my mind. We think of the main character in a book being the prime actor--the one who acts--but Fanny does not take many true, strong actions. Perhaps this book doesn't have a main character at all. I think the book is more about the weaknesses of people, and how people who have easily percieved weaknesses might be much stronger than those who appear more flawless. In this sense Fanny and Henry become the twin centers of the book, with the apparently weak Fanny possessing great inner strength, and the strong Henry being in truth feeble.
Thanks, Ann. I found your post really illuminating. I think I do have an expectation that a main character will be more active, and it's one of the reasons I have difficulty with MP. A few weeks ago, when the MP reading was still going on, Thackeray's subtitle for Vanity Fair -- A Novel Without A Hero kept running through my mind, and I started thinking of MP as A Novel Without A Heroine.
Your pairing of Fanny and Henry reminded me of what someone else said recently (I don't know if it was here or on Austen-L, and I don't remember who said it. Apologies all around). The remark was to the effect that Fanny was kind of an inverted Emma -- that Emma's faults stem from self-confidence, wealth, and social status, and Fanny's faults stem from insecurity, poverty, and too little social status. I find both these pairings really interesting. None of JA's main characters are flawless (they are too well drawn to be so inhuman, for one thing). But in these discussions I'm almost getting a sense of the stories inevitably flowing from the flaws the way Greek tragedies flow from the heroes' tragic flaws. But in JA, it would be comic flaws, of course.
Margie (who is up too late and
blithering too much)
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