Posted by Cassandra on August 19, 1998 at 09:20:41:
In response to Do you think that JA was a little in love with Willoughby herself?, written by Barbara on August 18, 1998 at 15:21:46
A very interesting question, Barb and I think there is some truth to it. JA devoted pages to the big Will confession scene(as we've said before-that alone is unique-something she never did again). She gave him a distinct voice. And like Will or hate him-you can't ignore him. He comes alive-dripping wet from the ride, by turns passionate, mocking, intense...all those exclamation points....If she wasn't in love with Willoughby-she made me fall in love with him!
I've always thought JA's feelings regarding Will can be found to a great extent in Elinor's voice, as she sits half dazed after his dramatic departure, even wishing for a moment that he were a widower and could marry MArianne.
"She felt that his influence over her mind was heightened by circumstances which ought not in reason to have weight: by that person of uncommon attraction, that open, affectionate, and lively manner which it was no merit to possess; and by that still ardent love for MArianne.."
The sense/sensibility motif or reason versus the heart(that Will power which sneaks up on you-charming the birds from the trees) is implicit is this passage. Yes-Colonel Brandon is the better man. He deserves MArianne. But-"that person of uncommon attraction" has a magic which Elinor, the readers can't ignore. Maybe JA herself couldn't ignore.
Was this JA's design? Divided loyalities- exemplified by Elinor's silent disagreeing with her mother's declaration that MArianne would be happier with Brandon? Who knows. I've always thought so-until the last pages of the novel where JA seemingly wanted to get neat and tidy again with the pithy never love by halves speech.
I do believe though that we are supposed to feel Willoughby's magnetism and influence. I think JA meant for us, like Elinor, to fall under Will's spell, pang a little for what could have been. Some of us even pang more than others!
- Willoughby. . . Stephanie S 12:22:48 8/19/98 (7)
- Willoughby, part 1 Marsha 15:41:20 8/19/98 (6)
- Willoughby, part 2 Marsha 15:42:13 8/19/98 (5)
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