Jane Austen discussion

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message 1: by Sophie, Your Lovely Moderator (new)

Sophie | 2624 comments Mod
Meet the Dashwood’s, Fanny Dashwood takes control of Norland, enter Edward Ferrars, Dashwood’s go to a cottage in Devonshire, meet the Middleton’s, enter Colonel Brandon, Marianne falls on a walk and is rescued by a certain Mr Willoughby (Poor Brandon!)


message 2: by Irene (last edited Jul 01, 2013 02:31AM) (new)

Irene | 271 comments Chapter 1
"Elinor [...] possessed a strength of understanding, and coolness of judjment, which qualified her, though only ninteen, to be the counsellor of her mother"

Useless to say that Elinor is, with Colonel Brandon, my favourite character in this novel. However she doesn't appear till the end of the first chapter.
I'm always amazed by the way Jane Austen introduce the reader in the novel without even mention the main characters. In P&P is the same, isn't it? The first scene is between Mr. and Mrs. Bennet.
It seems that she wanted to acquaint the reader with Elinor and Marianne family background before the two sister are actually introduced.
I think this means that Jane Austen thought that family was essential in one's growt. From the description she gives us we can immediately see that Marianne is greatly influenced by her mother, they are similar, they have the same... sensibility.
On the other hand, for what concerns Elinor sense, I think is in the same way an outcome of Mrs. Dashwood imprudence. If her mother had been less impulsive, she could have been less responsible.
Discussion tip: isn't it strange that, even if Jane Austen tells us that Elinor is just nineteen we always figure her as much older? Probably it's due to screen adaptation, but she is actually younger then Elizabeth Bennet!

Have a nice group reading all of you!!!


message 3: by Irene (new)

Irene | 271 comments Chapter 2
"If you observe, people always live for ever when there is any annuity to be paid them".

This chapter is amazing, a perfect example of the effect of a manipulative mind on a weak character. Mrs. John Dashwood brings her husband to believe that the idea of giving nothing at all to his sisters is an idea of his own. Moreover she succeed in raising resentment towards his father.
She is cruel, but she is brilliant!


message 4: by Chahrazad (new)

Chahrazad | 36 comments OK... First let me say how happy I am to be discussing one of Austen's masterpieces with you :D

Jane Austen is a master of the "showing technique", she never tells, she always shows her readers what the characters are and lets us draw our own conclusions, and she never judges her characters! I love that about her.

Irene, you've brought up very interesting points concerning Fanny Dashwood and her husband whom I truly hate! I don't think that he was persuaded by his wife because he was weak, but rather because he was as Austen describes him: "He was not an ill-disposed young man, unless to be rather cold-hearted, and rather selfish, is to be ill-disposed". (isn't this description genius?)

What can I say about Edward? isn't he a bit weak himself? Austen describes him as being shy, but I don't know why I am led to believe that Austen considers shyness as a weakness (considering her other novels as well).

Indeed Irene, a good point! I always picture Elinor in my head as being rather old (Emma Thompson's influence)and it strikes me now that you mentioned it that Elinor Dashwood was younger than Elizabeth Bennet!


message 5: by Irene (new)

Irene | 271 comments Yes, John Daswhood description is genius! And I think you're right about shyness, Chahrazad. Jane Austen probably considers shyness a weakness in the measure it prevents someone to speak his mind when necessary. So probably Edward Ferrars is to be considered weak in his way.
That's why I think the true main male character in this novel is Colonel Brandon!


message 6: by Sophie, Your Lovely Moderator (last edited Jul 01, 2013 12:09PM) (new)

Sophie | 2624 comments Mod
You have a very good point there. I think it shows how amazing a writer she is because she doesn't have to mention the main characters right away.

Family is vital to the story. She shows this in all her stories. Austen really felt the importance and so she always emphasised family in her stories, which I personally think is great.

Elinor has a lot to deal with for only 19. It is easy to forget her age, and the adaptation doesn't help. I think she acts a lot older than that as she is the sensible one out of all her family, including their mother!

Fanny Dashwood is an awful character! And John Dashwood is also awful! That description is absolutely perfect for him. Together they are both awful... who do we hate more? mr or mrs?

Bless Edward. He never really stood out to me in the novel, and still doesn't. he does a little more but I think that is down to seeing him portrayed by Dan Stevens. Shyness isn't a weakness I don't think but Edward isn't a very striking character, compared to say... the first appearance we get of say Darcy or even Bingley.

Colonel Brandon is the main man for me as well!

Back to the shyness....
Elinor is also shy in that she also doesn't speak her mind and show what she is feeling much, like Edward. This could be weaknesses for both of them. However, I think that Marianne completely opposite character and her very openness and the way she will speak her mind and show her feelings is also a weakness for her.

I think Marianne and Elinor are extremes (not quite the right word) of Jane and Lizzy.

Lizzy is outspoken and speaks her mind, but she is more in control of herself and I think this independence and strong confidence to speak her mind, most of the time, is a strength for Lizzy. But Marianne takes it too far and it backfires for her later in the story and so is a weakness for her.

Jane is quite a shy character but she is not quite as shy as Elinor. Her quiet manner but the ability to show emotion when she wants to/needs to makes her shyness more of a strength for Jane than for Elinor, who's shyness I personally think is a weakness for Elinor. (Basically, Elinor has too much sense/shyness and Marianne too much outspokenness/sensibility whereas Jane and Lizzy reach the 'happy medium' of those qualities.)


message 7: by Irene (new)

Irene | 271 comments Chapter 3
"Edward had no turn for great men or barouches. All his wishes centered in domestic comfort and the quiet of private life. Fortunately he had a younger brother who was more promising."

I like the parallel with Elizabeth and Jane, but I think there's a substantial difference between Jane and Eleanor. The first is good-hearted, sometimes too good-hearted. If we have to believe Elizabeth opinion, Jane never thinks ill of anyone, at least not untill she has concrete proofs.
Eleanor is more... calculating, if you can admit the term. Don't misunderstand me, she is good-hearted too, but she can see through the appearance of people and acts consequently.
I think her behaviour in her story with Edward is due to the fact that she perfectly understands that Fanny (I hate her the most) does not approve and she feel the need to soften any chance of dispute while they're still at Norland.

Going back to chapter 3... we have the first clear idea of Marianne charcter that, as the title of the novel says, is all sensibility and very little sense. We can ascribe this to her age, she is not 17, she is just a girl with her head full of romantic ideas about love and the perfect man. And her mother does nothing to correct her.
I can see a parallel between Marianne and Lydia Bennet too. The main difference is that the first is probably more good-natured and surely better educated. However both Mrs. Dashwood and Mrs. Bennet do nothing to prevent their doughters to fall for the scoundrel.

Whenever you think I'm talking too much, please stop me. I can go on for ages... :D


message 8: by Irene (new)

Irene | 271 comments Chapter 4
"She [Eleanor] knew that what Marianne and her mother conjectured one moment, they believed the next - that with them, to wish was to hope, and to hope was to expect."

Well, I think this quote explains better than I can do what I meant when I sayed that Eleanor is calculating. She knows that she can't show her feelings too much because of her mother and sister's strong sensibility (I know, I'm keeping repeating this word but I can't find a better one).
Elinor is prudent and she is accused to bee cold-hearted (do you remember? The same term is used to describe John Daswhood! It's a shame to apply the same word do Elinor).
Chapter 4 contains one of my favourite scenes, that of the conversation between Marianne and Eleanor about Edward. That page shows perfectly the difference between the two sisters, but I can feel, while reading, also the great fondness and attachment between the two. Both are worried not to hurt the other's feeling, but they try to speak the truth to be honest and just.


message 9: by Irene (new)

Irene | 271 comments Chapter 5

I can't find a single sentence to quote, because the whole chapter seems to represents the first real maternal act by Mrs. Dashwood. As soon as she understands in full force that she is not welcome anymore and that Eleanor and Edward have no chance to be together under the aegis of Fanny, she takes the reins and makes up her mind to go away.
Well done, Mrs. Dashwood...


message 10: by Irene (new)

Irene | 271 comments Chapter 6
"As a house, Barton Cottage, though small, was comfortable and compact; but as a cottage it was defective".

What's wrong in this chapter? At first I didn't understand... then I realized: there's a description! A real one. We don't really know how the grand Norland Park is, but Jane Austen takes the trouble of giving a description of Barton Cottage.
You know what? This description reminds me of the first pages of Northanger Abbey, when Jane Austen tells us that Catherine Morland is not a traditional heroin by pointing out the most ordinary things.
Here she tells us that Barton Cottage is quite normal by poing out that it has nothing of the romantic cottages that probably populate Marianne's immagination.

what else? Oh, yes! John Middleton and his wife... The lady seems a subdued version of Fanny but she has the luck of a good-natured husband that probably soften her character. Sir John on the other hand is the opposite of John Daswhood. Without even know the Daswhood ladies he sends food, meat and invitations to dine. Maybe he is boisterous but he is really good-hearted.

Now I'm going to stop... at least untill tomorrow... :P


message 11: by Chahrazad (new)

Chahrazad | 36 comments cool conversation, I'm super excited :D

Irene and Soph, you got it girls! I tend to agree with most of what you said except that I don't at all consider Elinor to be shy: she can easily speak among strangers and she expresses her opinions most earnestly when asked (she's different from Edward in this respect) I think we cannot expect her to be straightforward with her feelings for Edward because that is simply what is expected from a lady of high respectability and manners adding to that Elinor's sense and logic. She was naturally waiting for Edward to make the first move. (I find her rather like Jane Bennet in this aspect).

To be honest I don't quite like Marianne. She's frivolous and shallow to a good degree... her image of what a young man should be is stupid and you are right very Lydia Bennet!

It is astonishing how she thinks that Colonel Brandon is an infirm and at 35 years of age! WOW!

Mrs.Jennings is a funny old lady in an annoying sort of way!

But I seriously hate Fanny!


message 12: by Irene (new)

Irene | 271 comments Good Morning! (at least, here in Italy is morning) I'm sorry to jam up the board with my comments, but I have some free time now and I don't know how long it'll last. So I'm reading reading reading and writing writing writing as much as I can now.
So...

Chapter 7
"Colonel Brandon alone, of all the party, heard her without being in raptures. He paid her only the complimento of attention; and she felt a respect for him on the occasion, chich the others had reasonably forfeited by their shameless want of taste".

You know, the first time I read S&S I didn't like Marianne too, but I can feel for her in this chapter. I hate witty remarks and allusions when done with the intent of embarrass, so I can understand why she dislike Sir John and Mrs. Jennings. However the Middletons shows real friendship whereas the Dashwood's closest relation didn't.
In this scene Colonel Brandon stands out for his gentlemanlike manners and I believe that if Willoughby hadn't appeared, Marianne would have liked him before... desipite his age.
Today seem a strange thing to consider a man of 35 an old bachelor, however we can't forget that time was different. Mrs. Dashwood herself was just about 39 and she already had two daughters in marriageable age.
In Marianne eyes, who was just 16, a man 20 years her senior probably seemed more like a father than a suitor.


message 13: by Irene (new)

Irene | 271 comments Chapter 8
"Elinor, in quitting Norland and Edward, cried not as I did. Even now her self-command is invariable. When is she dejected or melancholy? When does she try to avoid society, or appear restless and dissatisfied in it?"

I'm always amazed by the fact that, despite being her beloved sister, Marianne understands so little of Eleanor character. And I can't stop smiling reading her ideas about men, illness and love.
On a higher level, we can compare the two sisters to two cultural movements: Romanticism and Enlightenment. I don't have to say which sister represents Romanticism!
Jane Austen lived between these two movements and I think she was influenced by both but she felt closer to Enlightenment.
What do you think?


message 14: by Irene (new)

Irene | 271 comments Chapter 9
"That is what a young man ought to be. Whatever be his pursuits, his eagerness in them should know no moderation, and leave him no sense of fatigue"

Impulsiveness? Or better recklessness?
She is in love! After a run down the hill Marianne is in love with Willoughby.
If the readers knows something about plots can foresee that this is not going to end well. How can it be? If so the novel would be at the end!
Reading this chapter, something came up to my mind. Where did I read this sentence? Then I realized! In P&P, chapter 4, Jane talk about Bingley and says "He is just what a young man ought to be". But the parallel stops here because I can't think of nothing more different from Jane and Marriane visions about lovers!


message 15: by Irene (new)

Irene | 271 comments Chapter 10
"Perhaps she pitied and esteemed him the more because he was slighted by Willoughby and Marianne, who, prejudiced against him for being neither lively nor young, seemed resolved to undervalue his merits".

This chapter should be entitled "Poor Colonel Brandon". I don't think another "good character" is so ill used in Jane Austen's novels ad Colonel Brandon is. Maybe Fanny Price is equally badly treated.
Elinor sees the impropriety of such a conduct but she has no authority to control her sister, and it's clear that Willoughby has a bad influence on Marianne, because just a few chapters earlier she had at least some respect for the poor Colonel.
What do you believe, is Willoughby better or worse than Wickham?


message 16: by Chahrazad (new)

Chahrazad | 36 comments Good question Irene... Wickham or Willoughby? I must say I dislike both men though Wickham is far more evil than Willoughby in my opinion! Al least Willoughby didn't go as far as making falsehoods about Brandon. His judgement of him stems from resentment at being far much better a gentleman than Willoughby could ever be.

To listen to his words:"Brandon is just the kind of man whom everybody speaks well of, and nobody cares about; whom all are delighted to see, and nobody remembers to talk to." I always hated those who talked ill of others!

Marianne on the other hand is such a frivolous girl (I think i've already said this) the part where she said: "I have erred against evety common-place notion of decorum! I have been open and sincere where I ought to have been reserved, spiritless, dull and deceitful" Notice how she moves from reserved to deceitful in an instant, using both words as almost synonyms! She clearly needs much to mature as she sees the world in extremes.

Mrs.Dashwood I dare say was saved from being another Mrs.Bennet by her upbringing and sense of decorum, for in my opinion she quite lacks a sound judgement that would allow her to spare her daughter the misery she would soon experience!


message 17: by Irene (new)

Irene | 271 comments I agree with you, probably Wickham is worse than Willoughby. At least I think that Willoughby has real feelings for Marianne, whereas Wickham doesn't care about Lydia a bit...


message 18: by Sophie, Your Lovely Moderator (new)

Sophie | 2624 comments Mod
I do agree re Elinor and Jane Bennet differences. In some ways, but they are different I know.

I find Marianne... annoying... she is quite immature and I couldn't believe her comments about Brandon! Old at 35?! Ok.... 17 and 35 is a large gap (not too unheard of for then) but he is certainly not old and infirm! It is true. Their mother wasn't much older so I do understand why she felt as she did. Unfortunately, she was then prejudice against him because of the suggestions and then young, charming, handsome Willoughby turned up!

What you say about the description is interesting. Austen hardly ever describes anything in great detail, only the bare minimum that needs to be described. So, the description was interesting to see. The cottage sounds sweet :)

Bless John Middleton! He is good at heart and just a little... obnoxious I think is the right word ;) He only wants the best and is so kind to the Dashwoods!

I think I agree about Enlightenment over Romanticism. Jane Austen was a very down to earth, realistic person/writer. She herself was more like Elinor than Marianne.

Marianne falls for Willoughby far to easily. She just liked the idea of being the damsel in distress and being saved by a handsome young man... that is what she saw, not Willoughby himself. It clearly wasn't going to end well.

Willoughby is awful in that respect. His dislike of Brandon rubs off on Marianne and she loses any respect she had for him. I agree that I think he is worst treated character, along with Fanny.

I think Wickham is worse. Although what Willoughby did to Eliza is appalling. He did genuinely feel for her, eventually, but had no back bone when he realised there would be no money! They are both awful, but I do think Wickham is worse. His falsehoods about Darcy just drive me mad!


message 19: by Nicole D. (last edited Jul 05, 2013 02:39AM) (new)

Nicole D. (thereadingrebel) | 158 comments I never thought of Elinor as shy just quiet and thoughtful before she speaks or makes a judgement out loud.I don't think Jane Austen thought shyness was a sign of weakness.In Mansfield Park the heroine Fanny is almost crippled by her shyness as times.
Edward is shy and I don't know why Austen made him so backward.Colonel Brandon will always be the main hero for me.

I don't really think Jane and Elinor are alike at all Jane is very native and trusting and has a sweetness of manner with everyone.Elinor is not native and more reversed in her manner then Jane.She is quick to see people for who they are IMO.Jane thinks everyone's nice or kind and if there is evidence against that person that says otherwise she still trys to make them have a good trait.Elinor doesn't think everyone is good and kind and wonderful and find excuses for them.

I have always loved John Middleton and Mrs.Jennings.Like Soph said there are obnoxious but they have great hearts.While John and Fanny have good manners but hearts like stone.

I didn't like Marianne very much the first time but she has grown on me.You really see her grow up thought out the novel and start seeing people correctly and understanding that not just her own feelings matter.

Willoughby will forever be the worst Austen Villian to me(next in line Crawford but that will have to wait intil Mansfield Park group read).What he did to Eliza far outways what Wickham did to Lydia.Eliza was seduced and left in a strange place and he told her he would come back.He didn't.While knowing what he had done he went and was flirting with someone else and in the beginning he had no idea of him and Marianne ever getting married.He was just flirting.

Did you kind of see Fanny and John and compare them with Marianne and Willoughby in the respect that parts of the character of the worst rubbed off onto there partners.(example being Fanny talking John into not giving his sisters money(he was resolved to give them money for days intil Fanny talked him out of it),and Willoughby's dislike of Brandon rubbing off on Marianne)I remember Austen saying if John had married a better women he might of had been made better himself but he married a women who was a strong caricature to himself more narrow minded and selfish as Jane Austen put it.Also Austen says that John was very fond of his wife.Marianne was head over heels for Willoughby and I think if she had ended up with him her character would have changed ever more like his.


message 20: by Irene (last edited Jul 05, 2013 03:49AM) (new)

Irene | 271 comments I agree with you, Nicole, about the fact that Elinor is not shy, she is just cautious. But when she feels she has to speak, she doesn't draw back.
And I agree with you about the fact that, if she would have ended up with Willoughby, Marianne would have grown up worse than she really is.
A good feature about Marrianne, that disciriminate her a lot form Fanny, is that she truly cares about her sister Elinor, even is she is very self-centered at the beginning. I don't think Fanny cares about anyone buth herself... maybe her child but only in the measure of preserve his wealth.


message 21: by Irene (new)

Irene | 271 comments Decide whether Willoughby is worse than Wickham has became an hard task, isn't it?
Wickham seems worse because he discredited Darcy and Georgiana, but he didn't much harm. In the end he is obliged to marry Lydia and he didn't disgraced her before... not a lot at least.
Willoughby left the poor Eliza in a disastrous condition but who can say what Wickham would have done if Darcy hadn't prevented it?


message 22: by Diane (new)

Diane | 12 comments Irene wrote: "I believe that if Willoughby hadn't appeared, Marianne would have liked him before... desipite his age.
...
In Marianne eyes, who was just 16, a man 20 years her senior probably seemed more like a father than a suitor. "


I think Bad Boy Willoughby breaking her heart definitely made Marianne appreciate Brandon more than she might have otherwise. Otoh, maybe she would have anyway. He does have that "continuing to love even when all hope is gone" quality (a la Anne/Persuasion), which Marianne obviously comes to appreciate.

In reading Shapard's annotated S&S, he points out that Marianne and Willoughby only knew each other for a month before Willoughby leaves.

Willoughby or Wickham worse? Tough!

I think Willoughby would have disparaged Brandon more, if he could have gotten away with it. When Elinor questions his dislike of Brandon, he has to make a joke of it. Wickham disparages Darcy to a group that Darcy has offended--a willing audience.

It seems that Wickham is in more desperate circumstances, so maybe he gets the nod for acting more desperately. Also, Austen shows us that Willoughby is capable of love and regret. Wickham is never shown in that light.


message 23: by Diane (last edited Jul 05, 2013 07:25AM) (new)

Diane | 12 comments An interesting, humorous read-a-long commentary for this book is Bitch In a Bonnet Reclaiming Jane Austen From the Stiffs, the Snobs, the Simps and the Saps, Volume 1 by Robert Rodi .

It's only 99-cents for the Kindle or Nook.


message 24: by Sophie, Your Lovely Moderator (new)

Sophie | 2624 comments Mod
Marianne definitely would have grown worse if she married Willoughby. It would not have been a successful marriage and life I don't imagine.

I agree Irene, and think that had Darcy not turned up something very similar could have happened! Wickham didn't hurt anyone in the way poor Eliza was hurt but he did hurt Georgiana quite badly, IMO. Here confidence was knocked!

I agree about Wickham having a willing audience, a very good point.

You mention Willoughby being shown in a light to show love and regret. this is true but that scene when he comes to apologise just angers me and it doesn't make me feel sorry for him in the slightest. But, he does admit to wanting to marry Marianne eventually show he can love, but has no backbone. Wickham can't, so another reason why I dislike him more.


message 25: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie (stephanie-jo) | 111 comments I have always liked Elinor. She reminds me a lot of Jane Bennett in some of her character traits. Again I am struck by what an unfeeling person Fanny Dashwood is and how much control she has over her husband. I enjoy the quiet character of Col. Brandon, but Willoughby always reminds me of a spoiled child and I can't help wondering if he is related to Fanny Dashwood somewhere along the way.


message 26: by Marren (new)

Marren | 764 comments I do believe that Marianna and Willoughby could have survived but in Austen's quest to create a plot, she deliberately let their relationship perish.


message 27: by Sophie, Your Lovely Moderator (new)

Sophie | 2624 comments Mod
I agree Stephanie about Elinor and Jane having similarities, as I said somewhere. Willoughby is like a spoiled child, I agree :P Related to Fanny Dashwood haha!

I think Marianne and Willoughby would have survived, for a considerable amount of time, but they would have far outlived their income and would have wasted all their money, not having a practical head between the two of them.


message 28: by Louise Sparrow (new)

Louise Sparrow (louisex) | 262 comments Sorry for the late running, I’ll try to catch up without rehashing too much, I love the debates going on.

As everyone said the character descriptions are done brilliantly and I’ve always loved the scene between Mr & Mrs John Dashwood where he is convinced that he need do nothing for his half-sisters, however evil, it is genius.

This is as others have pointed out, a theme for the characters in the book, whereby the stronger personality prevails in making the weaker resemble it over time and that’s as true today as it was back then. I think that’s the key to Jane Austen’s endurance, she studied human nature so that even when the settings and morals are out of date, the essence of the characters resonate with us, even those we love to hate.

Fanny is worse than John, he’s selfish and easily led but quite straightforward whereas Fanny deliberately tries to manipulate people and situations.

I actually think Marianne and Willoughby would have survived as a couple if money hadn’t been an issue but I think they would have brought out the worst in each other, and possibly driven away the affection of those closest to them. Without money I doubt either of them would have been happy and however romantic their notions, eventually it would probably have caused a rift between them, neither of them having the least clue about managing with less.

I’ve always found Edward a little wishy-washy and would agree that it is Colonel Brandon that is the main lead, possibly because while we know Elinor had the opportunity of getting to know Edward, our view of him is mostly through the sisters eyes.

And I have to bring Margaret in at this point, have you noticed she doesn’t speak in these chapters? She’s there, she’s mentioned as having spoken but she has no voice and it pushes her into the background. Is it not a little the same with Edward at this point?

Elinor and Marianne have been brought up in the same way, as the daughters of a gentleman but while Elinor quietly observes and acts according to her own judgement, Marianne sees things the way she thinks they should be (a romanticized version of reality) and rejects anything that doesn’t match her vision, as inferior. However, she still has been brought up with a refinement that makes her uncomfortable around their more vulgar relations. Elinor might wish their manners were better but she sees their goodness, Marianne knows how things ought to be and does not look any deeper. It’s partially her age and partially the influence of her mother.

I always hated Emma Thompson’s portrayal of Elinor, beginning with her age, though I have come to like the adaptation itself. My image of her is probably still older than 19 though. I’m not sure I think she’s shy, just conscious of her situation and not as likely to be drawn into the behaviour of others. It’s perhaps more a quiet strength, like Fanny Price, than a weakness. She doesn’t put herself forward but there’s a confidence in her own judgement that means she’s not lead astray when others are.

I’m going to take a slight detour at this point and bring up fanfiction. I’ve been reading some of the published P&P fic and though it’s fun and I’ve been enjoying some of it, fanfiction for me is about writing things that you would like to explore between characters that never happened in the original, so it would never have occurred to me to write a P&P story because I think it all happens beautifully. My late excursions into this though made me, when reading Chapter 7, wonder about Marianne and the Colonel and whether, given different situations they might have worked out sooner… I think it is possible, but something would need to have happened to make her pay attention to him and get to know him. She dismissed him as a kindly old gentleman more deserving of respect than his friends, but otherwise unimportant. I don’t believe that if they’d continued as they were without interference, she would ever have seen his as more or welcomed his feelings.

Is Willoughby better or worse than Wickham? I don’t think there’s a lot in it to be honest, wouldn’t Wickham have abandoned a pregnant Lydia if it benefitted him to do so? Wouldn’t Willoughby have married Eliza if Brandon had been willing/able to pay him enough to make it worth his while? Perhaps Wickham was slightly worse for the malice he felt towards Darcy, I don’t think Willoughby’s self-centred actions were ever intended to deliberately wound anyone and he probably had the better chance of redemption had he had the will power to take it.

What I was struck with, reading S&S again, was that whilst I had the impression (probably from watching the adaptations) that Willoughby and Marianne were in fact very alike in their tastes, in the book it is somewhat superficial.

“…her favourite authors were brought forward and dwelt upon with so rapturous a delight, that any young man of five and twenty must have been insensible indeed, not to become an immediate convert to the excellence of such works, however disregarded before. Their taste was strikingly alike. The same books, the same passages were idolised by each; or if any difference appeared, any objections arose, it lasted no longer than till the force of her arguments and the brightness of her eyes could be displayed. He acquiesced in all her decisions, caught all her enthusiasm…”

There was nothing malevolent in this, he clearly wanted to impress her as any young man might, but while he made himself agreeable she convinced herself they were already a match.

And now I need to go read the next set of chapters!


message 29: by Sophie, Your Lovely Moderator (new)

Sophie | 2624 comments Mod
Margaret is very much a background character. She is very shy as well and I think a parallel can be draw between her and Edward, which is why they get on well I expect.

I think Marianne and Brandon could have worked out sooner had the opportunity arisen. It would be an interesting route to take. How would you think it could happen?

You make a good point about their views. It is made to seem similar but it is really Willoughby agreeing with Marianne so as to impress her. Willoughby would have married Eliza if Minh had been involved ....


message 30: by Louise Sparrow (new)

Louise Sparrow (louisex) | 262 comments Ideas…. Hmmm

Well I suppose the obvious one is the idea that Colonel Brandon takes Willoughby's place in coming to her aid that first day.

Or with Willoughby not in the picture perhaps Brandon could intervene during one of Mrs Jennings teasing sessions while they are all guests at his house, and escort Marianne to the library beginning what he starts later in the book in the way of broadening her mind.

And another one could be, not having exactly worked out how this could work, but after Willoughby leaves, and Elinor carries her point about them not going to London with Mrs Jennings… Marianne somehow (presuming an emergency when he is escorting her somewhere) ends up accompanying Brandon to attend Eliza as she gives birth.


message 31: by Sophie, Your Lovely Moderator (new)

Sophie | 2624 comments Mod
Some very interesting ideas indeed.

Brandon rescuing Marianne would be obvious but good as, unlike the adaptations, he doesn't rescue her in the rain just before she falls ill. She just returns and goes to bed and then falls ill. So it would be nice for it to actually happen!!

The Eliza idea is an intriguing road to take!!


message 32: by Louise Sparrow (new)

Louise Sparrow (louisex) | 262 comments Yes, I liked that scene in Emma Thompson's version, though it would be more romantic if it didn't look like such an effort ;)


message 33: by Sophie, Your Lovely Moderator (new)

Sophie | 2624 comments Mod
Ahaha! True true! It didn't look like such a struggle in the 2008 series. David Morissey is clearly stronger than Alan Rickman ;)


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