Elinor and the Queen: Out of fashion?
Posted by Arnessa on September 08, 1997 at 12:10:08:
Having been glued to the TV (or telly, as they say) all week watching events unfold in the aftermath of Princess Diana's death, I heard so many commentators say how this outpouring of grief around Britain was so contrary to the national character of stiff upper lips. Some said it proved that the country was becoming "Americanized."
I went to a lecture by this JA scholar yesterday and she suggested that JA would have been astounded and even horrified that the royal family were expected - at least in some quarters - to put their grief on display.
I have to say I did feel sorry for the queen. And I thought it was shameful that some London newspapers seemed to want her to "weep with the people."
But aside from all that, I started to realize just how much JA's sensibilites were truly English. Most of the time I can let myself think that she is thinking like me, but once in a while I have to face facts. JA was English and a Regency woman, and there's no changing that. There it is.
I thought more about S&S and how I feel more for Marianne than for Elinor. And I thought how I wanted Elinor just to break down and cry or yell and scream JUST ONCE, which of course she does in the end. But how little I admired Elinor's stiff upper lip. How much I admired Marianne for wearing her heart on her sleeve. We really are shaped by our environment.
This one lady in the street was interviewed about the queen's response to Diana's death and she said (I paraphrase), "The queen may have been raised being taught duty, and self-sacrifice and not to show emotion, but those qualities are out of fashion now." And I thought, "They are? What a shame."
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