Posted by Arnessa on October 15, 1997 at 13:34:30:
In response to OOPS! That should be "Norland," not "Norwood"!!, written by Annie on October 15, 1997 at 10:33:33
I think what JA was trying to get across in that rather cumbersome introduction is that it is through NO fault of Mr. Dashwood that Mrs. Dashwood, Elinor and Marianne are left nearly penniless.
The uncle who left the estate to Mr. Dashwood was so taken with John Dashwood's son Harry, "a boy of four years," that he forgets about Mrs. Dashwood and her daughters who take care of him every day. I think here JA was making one of her infamous points about the idolatry of children.
Anyway, we know that John Dashwood is Mr. Dashwood's son by a first marriage. And JA tells us that John's mother's fortune was extensive and that it was left mostly to John. Not to mention that John has access to his wife Fanny's money as well. So John doesn't need the Norland estate.
But Mr. Dashwood, we are told, could not even sell parts of the estate for the benefit of is daughters. And he did not survive long after taking over the Norland estate. So he didn't even have time to save for his daughters.
The picture I get is that Mr. Dashwood has the sanguine temper of, say, a Mr. Weston, always expecting others to do the right thing even when it's been proven otherwise. This explains somewhat Marianne's temper, but where does Elinor get her practicality from? That's what I've always wondered. She's alone in that family.
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