I heartily concur...
Posted by Laraine on September 24, 1997 at 10:41:45:
In response to Dr. Spock in the 1790's, written by Helen on September 24, 1997 at 09:13:09
] I do think that part of the reason why there are spoilt children in the novels (young children, I mean, as opposed to grown characters who are selfish and rude) is that it reflects the fashion for "letting your children express themselves and develop rather that disciplining them" which was around during the turn of the 18th century, drawing on the ideas of Rousseau, the French Dr. Spock. Rousseau, like all such theorists about childcare, didn't actually raise any himself - he dumped his at an orphan asylum...
] It seems that Jane Austen belongs to the "children should be seen and not heard" school: children need to learn how to conform to the adult world and its manners.
] What interests me about Margaret, however, is that in the book she is 14, and presented as not very mature in her outlook. Yet Lydia in P&P is 15 and ready to run away with a young man! (I know this isn't terribly mature, either, but she certainly considers herself adult).
] Is this another example of Jane Austen's insight into human nature - showing the different stages of adolescence which we all reach at different times?
I think you're right about the difference in stages--Margaret's 13 at the end of chapter 1--a bit younger, and I think she's had better parenting in general than Lydia. Her father was probably less contemptuous, her mother more proper, than the Bennet parents.
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