Interesting take on this subject
Posted by Martine on June 24, 1998 at 11:16:55:
In response to Flatness and disrespect, written by Margie on June 24, 1998 at 09:02:42
] The irony in all this, is that I am pretty much out of sympathy with fairy-tale happy endings myself. The search for the fairy-tale ending can lead people into foolish marriages, it can lead people to leave potentially very good marriages, and it can weigh on single people. The romantic fairy tale images that pervade our culture do tend to blind people to the large price marriage exacts from both women and men. They equally blind people to the large rewards marriage can offer. One of the things that I love about JA, is that things that count in her fairy tale endings, like honesty, integrity, and self-examination, really are the things that can lead to a rewarding marriage. I think that's one of the reasons I despise
... Tennant had to distort the characters away from their goodness in order to achieve the degree of ugliness that she wanted in her stories.
That would very much be my opinion too. I don't mind an unhappy ending, so far as it is justified and well carried out within the logic of the characters and period in time.
I often wondered why JA never wrote anything that took place AFTER marriage. Maybe it didn't inspire her. Maybe she found the period when one establishes loving relationships more interesting to describe than the less adventuruous life of a married couple. After all, at the time, that was one of the most dynamic moments in life, when it comes to relationships between people. Nowadays, with divorce, this period of search/evaluation of someone's character/obstacles to overcome/choice can be played out again almost at all ages. That was not the case back then.
Also, JA might have chosen to describe that period in life because it was the best vehicle for her style and for what she wanted to say. For her style, well, we know that she was sharp and quick of mind and a good conversationnalist used to society. For her message: the period of courtship might be the moment when characters are seen at their best. In order to conquer the object of one's desires, one must bare the soul, show their colors and at times correct imperfections of character while there is still time and a high motivation to do so (hence Darcy, Emma, Marianne, even Elinor.) It is a time of overactive interaction between people, which provides a unique and fertile ground for showing all the facets of the human mind, whether good or bad (like H. Crawford, or Wickham, or Willoughby.) Finally, it is also a happy time, full of happenings, gossips, energy and aspirations for the future, very suited to JA's sense of humor, IMO.
In any case, JA chose this courtship setting to put forth some beliefs, which included "honesty, integrity, and self-examination, [which] really are the things that can lead to a rewarding marriage" as you said, Margie. She describe a journey towards a better knowledge of oneself and of the world around, crowned by the blessings of marriage. There is a sort of a circular motion in this development: happiness of teenage years, intrusion of love in one's life, obstacles and pain, victory (or not) over obstacles, awareness (or not,) and marriage for a happy ending, just like if JA was saying: this was all fiction, folks, but I think it just might contain good pointers for happiness; now let's see what you can make of it.
I believe that, without being rosy and naive, one can write a sequel to JA's works that would show the problems (go read some of Barbara's Fanfics in BoI to see what I mean!! ;-DDD ) that can arise during marriage (no, kids, difference of opinions, even separations...) But in the end, I think that to stay in the tradition of JA's writing, there would have to be a resolution, which might not be completely happy, but nevertheless would be on the side of tradition, logic, and an honest evaluation of where one's feelings tempered by reflexion should lead.
Much could be said, including things a lot more feminist than running away with a lover. For example, how not to surrender one's independence in a couple; how to renew love over time; how to cope with the realisation that one is no longer a young and free spirit, but a wife with responsabilities, and then a mother. What about death, betrayal? Even in the restrictive setting of the Regency era and within the logic of the characters JA (including the indications she gave on their destiny,) many, many subjects (feminist issues, marital issues, role of women in society... you name it) that perdure nowadays are good grounds for excellent sequels to JA's work without betraying the spirit of goodness and realism that dominates all her work...Unfortunately, it is not the road Ms. Tennant chose to follow.
Sorry for this rambling post. It is a good thing that I don't post very often!
- I've been feeling guilty about this... Barbara 14:41:57 6/24/98 (10)
- Aaack! please don't feel guilty Margie 00:47:38 6/25/98 (5)
- Sequel writing Martine 18:17:00 6/24/98 (0)
- Barbara's Sequels Stephanie S 16:56:16 6/24/98 (2)
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