Posted by Barry on August 26, 1998 at 16:29:36:
In response to But...., written by Lynn on August 26, 1998 at 12:33:12
Lynn, I could only think of one option -- that is, to confront Edward himself. By confront, I mean miost indirectly, if only to say to Edward somehting like "Lucy Steele told me a most surprising confidence," or something to that effect. I know I am reaching here, and certainly it would be out of chatracter, and probably against the rules, but to carry out an engagement to marry without love -- there may at least have been an issue in the 18th century of where true "honor" would lie in the situation. After all, Jane Fairfax releases Frank Churchill from his engagement when he seems to regret it. It does appear that the rules require breaking an engagement only with the consent of the lady (thus Wentworth's behavior with Louisa), but if the alternative is a loveless marriage...? While Edward's refusal to break the engagement upon the demand of his mother casts honor on his integrity, it seems that an earlier question by Edward to his betrothed as to the mutual wisdom of continuing the engagement would have been appropriate. But that certainly was not Edward's style.
Short of that, Elinor at least could have told her sister, who may have in various ways benefited from understanding Elinor's situation better. When Marianne does finally learn, she is aghast that she didn't know any of this earlier, and that Elinor was cruelly condemned to suffer in isolation.
No easy answers I admit, but this book, more than any of Austen's others I think, raises many questions of where the limits of honor and secrecy lie.
- The problem with any of Elinor's options... Kathi 22:37:40 8/26/98 (2)
- And if you think about that, the logical conclusion is... Kathi 04:13:35 8/27/98 (1)
- Lucy's motive. Barbara 17:07:17 8/30/98 (0)
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