Posted by Cassandra on August 24, 1998 at 18:48:09:
In response to Melodrama , thoughts on the confession and the effect on Elinor, written by Barbara on August 23, 1998 at 13:34:11
] I've been having two different thoughts on this confession scene. First, the effect on Elinor. One of the themes of the novel is, I suppose, that sense must be tempered by sensibilitiy and vice versa. Marianne learns some sense and Elinor learns to appreciate her sister's sensibility somewhat. I wonder if the confession scene could be, in part, to show how Elinor's thinking had come around by this point in the novel. The whole thing about wishing for a moment that Willoughby were a widower so he could marry Marianne--is this not showing a lot of sensibility??
Exactly. And no melodrama here. I agree with Mary Anne's comments below. There is a difference between genuine emotion and a string of cliches. Will's confession wouldn't inspire so much spirited debate at this board if it were merely corn, pure soap opera. The confesion scene has alway seemed to me to operate on two levels(maybe three if you subscribe to the argument that JA was attempting to blurr the ending, divide loyalties. Brandon is the better man, but Willoughby, flawed, fascinating Willoughby has a charisma and magic that you can't ignore. Even Elinor finds herself under his spell): Overall, the confession scene reveals as much about Elinor as Willoughby. She really responds to his magnetism and she describes the enigma of Will better than I could. I;ve said before how much I like the paragraphs following his departure-the whole "person of uncommon attraction" speech..."she felt that it was so, long, long before she could feel his influence less."
] Another thought I had is that this novel is about balance. The symbol of a see-saw is frequently used in the old BBC dramatization of SS1. Things that happen in the story seem to have a counter balance. I wonder if this whole confession scene is to balance the scene we have had earlier with Brandon. Even the motivations for the two confessions are opposite: Brandon's motive is entirely (or almost entirely) unselfish, in the wish to ease Marianne's suffering, and in some ways he realizes that the confession casts an unfavourable light on himself. Willoughby, on the other hand, wants the Dashwoods to think better of him, does not adequately demonstrate remorse for what he did to Eliza Jr., and while he may profess to care for Marianne, can he really imagine it would make her feel better to know "I loved you, but I married someone else anyhow"? His motives seem selfish to me.
Maybe. The two confessions certainly illuminate the character's differing personalities. Brandon is controlled, self-effacing. Will-all of those run on sentences- exudes passion and hypnotic magnetism. As for Will's motives, I can't agree that he's acting purely out of self. The whole manner of his arrival-first the shock of hearing she was ill from Sir JOhn, the hasty journey to the Palmers-all of that seems to me to prove that this most selfish of men loved MArianne.
It's hard for Will to think beyond himself. He talks about the "one person I was sure would represent me as capable of anything."-obviously Colonel Brandon. But-What are the first real words out of his mouth, after all? Before discussing his own motives, his relationship with Eliza, his marriage-he wants to make sure that MArianne is out of danger. He repeats his demand.."Is it true..is it really true.."It rings true for me. He loves her.
Only when he is assured does begin the saga, although interestingly he starts it off with "had I known as much an hour ago." This seems to suggest that hadn't planned to confide as much to Elinor. Once he starts-he can't stop. It's pure, raw emotion, urgent, desperate.
- W. in love Lindsay 08:53:06 8/25/98 (2)
Posting followups to old messages is disabled; instead go to the main index and post a new message which mentions this one.