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Thread: Mansfield Park - love it or loathe it?

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    Registered User Jackson Richardson's Avatar
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    Mansfield Park - love it or loathe it?

    Mansfield Park is probably the least favourite of Austen's novels for some and, certainly in the past, the most loved for others.

    I'm reading it again at the moment. The character of Fanny is not a problem for me at all - I warm to the Cinderella, Ugly Duckling aspect. Just thought Mrs Norris and the Bertram sisters are Cinder's stepmother and sisters, though I'm not sure Austen would have known that version of the story.

    There are other deeply disturbing aspects though, not least Fanny preferring Mansfield Park to her mother's home in Portsmouth. OK, Mrs Price is Lady Bertram's sister and although she works her socks off, there is the same selfishness and lack of consideration at work. What makes Mansfield preferable is to a large extent that it is supported by wealth, and wealth based on slave labour at that.

    Any other ideas?

    Is Mrs Norris the nastiest woman Austen created? (I can think of a self important busy body she reminds me of, who some think is a hard working treasure and some think is an utter menace.)
    Previously JonathanB

    The more I read, the more I shall covet to read. Robert Burton The Anatomy of Melancholy Partion3, Section 1, Member 1, Subsection 1

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    Pièce de Résistance Scheherazade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonathanB View Post
    (I can think of a self important busy body she reminds me of, who some think is a hard working treasure and some think is an utter menace.)
    Please don't believe everything you hear about me!

    I cannot stand this book. I don't think there is a single character I slightly like or care about... And most of them feel like caricatures to me. Even though Austen often exaggerate in her books, I find the characters in this book far more predictable and poorly drawn.
    ~
    "It is not that I am mad; it is only that my head is different from yours.”
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    Ecurb Ecurb's Avatar
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    I love Mansfield Park -- despite agreeing with everything you say about it. Fanny tries to avoid snootiness when in Portsmouth, but she can't stand the noise, clutter, and clamor of her home (and of the city). Mansfield is a "Park", bucolic and restful. The city is noisy, crowded and dirty -- everything Fanny hates.

    Mansfield Park addresses the issues of child-rearing and ordination. Fanny loves the fact that Sir Thomas comes to cherish her as a daughter -- but we readers need not agree. Sir Thomas is (let's face it) a slave owner and a lousy parent.

    Mrs. Norris is a monster -- whether she's worse than Lady Catherine or Lucy Steele is problematic. Lucy Steele, when she marries, becomes (Lucy Fer)arrs.

    I think Austen's three later novels (MP, Emma, and Persuasion) are slightly better than her early ones, although all are very close in quality. Mansfield Park has a richness of symbolism (all the home-improvement stuff) and philosophy lacking in the earlier books. Here are some other reasons to like it:

    1) It has the best rivals. Henry and Mary Crawford are more interesting, better developed, and more charming than the other rivals.

    2) It brings up religious issues that are less prominent in the other books.

    3) Fanny and Edmund are the most problematic (and therefore interesting) heroes.

    I'll grant that those who read Austen in order to fall in love with Elizabeth Bennet or Mr. Darcy might prefer other novels. Also, it's probably not the funniest of the novels. I'd rate it slightly behind Emma and Persuasion. Persuasion is the richest novel emotionally (S & S #2), and Emma is the most formally perfect novel (every scene takes place in one small neighborhood).

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    Card-carrying Medievalist Lokasenna's Avatar
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    I'll admit it's been a few years since I read it, but I formed a less-than-favourable impression of it. It certainly pales in comparison to the other Austen novels I've read.

    As I recall, I felt that Fanny was a judgemental, joyless prude, that Henry wasn't really all that caddish and that his marrying Fanny would probably have lightened her up considerably, and that the final marriage with the boring and also prudish Edmund was all a bit too incestuous.
    "I should only believe in a God that would know how to dance. And when I saw my devil, I found him serious, thorough, profound, solemn: he was the spirit of gravity- through him all things fall. Not by wrath, but by laughter, do we slay. Come, let us slay the spirit of gravity!" - Nietzsche

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    Registered User Jackson Richardson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ecurb View Post
    Fanny loves the fact that Sir Thomas comes to cherish her as a daughter -- but we readers need not agree. Sir Thomas is (let's face it) a slave owner and a lousy parent. .
    Well yes.

    Unfortunately much of the propertied class of Austen’s day would owe some of their prosperity to the West Indies. (Claire Tomalin in her biography of Austen goes to great length from very scanty evidence to prove that Jane Austen would have disapproved of slavery.)

    As a father he is no worse and indeed quite a bit more responsible than most Austen fathers. General Tilney and Sir Walter Elliot are obviously selfish and Mr Bennet and Mr Wodehouse in their indolence. (Mr Bennet and Sir Thomas have both married pretty women who prove to be inadequate life partners. Sir Thomas never complains how stupid Lady Bertram is in contrast to Mr Bennet who doesn’t complain – in Austenland that is unforgivable – but makes it plain what he thinks of Mrs B.) Mr Weston has not had the trouble of bringing up Frank.

    Actually I feel rather sorry for Sir Thomas – he is responsible but he just isn’t cuddly and never inspires trust and affection.
    Previously JonathanB

    The more I read, the more I shall covet to read. Robert Burton The Anatomy of Melancholy Partion3, Section 1, Member 1, Subsection 1

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    Registered User Jackson Richardson's Avatar
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    I laughed aloud last night reading this passage. After building up Fanny as heroic in resisting Henry’s courtship, he comes to Portsmouth. Jane Austen then takes the micky from Fanny:

    I believe there is scarcely a young lady the united kingdoms, who would not rather put up with the misfortune of being sought by a clever, agreeable man, than have him driven away by the vulgarity of her nearest relations.
    Previously JonathanB

    The more I read, the more I shall covet to read. Robert Burton The Anatomy of Melancholy Partion3, Section 1, Member 1, Subsection 1

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    Registered User mona amon's Avatar
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    Whatever I may have said about it on the other thread, I really love Mansfield Park. I do not love the characters because Austen hasn't given us much to love about them, but the novel itself is splendid. I wouldn't call it the least funny, either. The characters are not funny, but Austen certainly is, with her usual brilliant ironic comments on the situation and character's behavior. In fact it's difficult for me to choose a Jane Austen favourite. Sense and Sensibility is my least favourite, mostly because of Colonel Brandon, but I still like it a lot. As for the other five, each is as brilliant or beloved as the other.

    It is difficult to like a book when we do not like the characters, but Mansfield Park has so many other things going for it. Perfect prose, and like Persuasion, a complex structure built by many tiny details.
    Exit, pursued by a bear.

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    Ecurb Ecurb's Avatar
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    Sir Thomas is "responsible", but not loving. That's his weakness as a father. If Maria had a close, loving relationship with her father, would a marriage to Mr. Rushworth have tempted her?

    None of Austen's other parents are ideal (we forgot General Tilney when discussing Austen's "monsters"). However, Mr. Woodhouse loves his daughters as well as he can. He's a chump and a hypochondriac. He's ineffectual and inactive. But his failures are not failures of love, and his daughter Emma is one of the best daughters in all of literature as a result, in part, of knowing how much her father loves her.

    I do admire Sir Thomas' forbearance with Lady Bertram. Nonetheless, failing to be "cuddly" (in Jonathan's words) is a major failure for a parent. Children need their parent's warm embrace (psychologically, if not physically). Mrs. Dashwood is overly romantic (like her daughter) to the point, almost, of irresponsibility. But she's a great mom (and a better match for Colonel Brandon than Marianne is -- as well as being closer to his age). Parents can't be TOO cuddly.

    Sir Thomas is distant, ruling Mansfield a bit like he rules his slave plantations. Are his children glad to see him when he returns from Antigua? No. Does he banish Maria to the North, with her only companion being the horrid Mrs. Norris? Yes. His failures as a parent (which lead to his children's failures) are failures of love. Would Mr. Woodhouse ever banish Emma, whatever her sins? Edmund also fails to love his sister, and his friend Mary Crawford, in the end. He's ordained. Has he never read the Bible? Does he (or his father) know the Lord's prayer?

    As far as humor, I love the line (I haven't looked it up) in which Lady Bertram writes something like, "I shall do X as soon as I am a little more at leisure." Lady Bertram, lolling on the sofa day after day with Pug, appears to imagine she is at hammer and tongs with the world -- constantly busy.

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    Registered User Jackson Richardson's Avatar
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    The treatment of Maria at the end shocks us now. But by the standards of the day and in the light of socially acceptable behaviour, Sir Thomas is forgiving. By contrast, this is what Mr Price says when he hears the news:

    If she belonged to me, I’d give her the rope’s end as long as I could stand over her.


    Once Henry had thrown her off and refused to marry her after her divorce (a possibility that he avoids and shows him in a really nasty light) Maria would be destitute if it was not for her father

    As a daughter… she should be protected by him and secured in every comfort.

    He just won’t have her living near Mansfield and I imagine she would have no wish to do so.

    Sir Thomas does not impose Mrs Norris on her. In her only action remotely resembling generous love, Mrs Norris chooses to live with Maria.

    PS. I'm really interested and almost convinced in Ecurb's comments about Mr Woodhouse. I inclined to the view he was ineffective and Emma was a spoiled brat as a result. Both views are possible, which is why Jane Austen is endlessly fascinating.
    Previously JonathanB

    The more I read, the more I shall covet to read. Robert Burton The Anatomy of Melancholy Partion3, Section 1, Member 1, Subsection 1

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    Ecurb Ecurb's Avatar
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    I agree, Jonathon, regarding Maria and the mores of the time. I just don't think that such fashions should matter, compared to actual moral tenets. The mores of Jesus' time were that adulterers should be stoned to death, as Edmund, the ordained Christian pastor, undoubtedly knew. But some (at least) refused to go along with them.

    The extent to which Jane Austen (a product of her times) agrees with me is unclear. But I'm entitled to my opinion, even though I should (certainly) temper my critique of Sir Thomas with the knowledge that slavery and the banishment of sinners were both accepted social behavior back then. Sir Thomas and Edmund may be no worse than other fathers and brothers in the Regency -- but they had an opportunity to be better, and flunked it.

    Emma is a spoiled brat in many ways -- but not in her relationship with her father, whom she tends and loves with admirable restraint. Doubtless ruling her father's house from the time of Isabella's marriage influenced her conceit, but we her behavior as a daughter is unexceptionable (to use an Austen word).

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    Registered User kiki1982's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonathanB View Post
    The character of Fanny is not a problem for me at all - I warm to the Cinderella, Ugly Duckling aspect. Just thought Mrs Norris and the Bertram sisters are Cinder's stepmother and sisters, though I'm not sure Austen would have known that version of the story.
    Probably not as it was by the Brothers Grimm, though their first version came out already in 1812. But she may have known other versions: http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/type0510a.html#brokenpitcher

    Quote Originally Posted by JonathanB View Post
    There are other deeply disturbing aspects though, not least Fanny preferring Mansfield Park to her mother's home in Portsmouth.
    Well, how would you feel if you had been in a place since you were about ten? After 15 years away from my parents (and I was 18 when I left, not a child like Fanny), I admit I'm driven up the wall sometimes. My outlook and opinions on things have changed, so I can't abide by some things particularly my father thinks. If I came from the place Fanny Price came from, I'd be embarrassed as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by JonathanB View Post
    Is Mrs Norris the nastiest woman Austen created? (I can think of a self important busy body she reminds me of, who some think is a hard working treasure and some think is an utter menace.)
    She's a monster as Ecurb says, but then I'm not sure whether I'd call her a busy body. Of course she always knows everything (to the great merriment of the reader, I'm sure), but her sister is the total opposite. Someone needs to run the house in the end. If not Mrs Norris, then who else? It's because her sister is so terribly passive and can't seem to care less that Mrs Norris is given the opportunity to run it at all.
    As similar people attract each other, Sir Thomas is passive as well and has attracted the most passive wife in Christendom, and of all things, he submits to the tyranny of his sister-in-law. I can't help think that even a Darcy would have taken more of an interest in his household than Sir Thomas, but he'd never have married a woman like Maria and have his household run by Jane or God forbid Mary. He wants a strong woman who gives as good as she gets, Sir Thomas does not.

    Quote Originally Posted by JonathanB View Post
    Unfortunately much of the propertied class of Austen’s day would owe some of their prosperity to the West Indies. (Claire Tomalin in her biography of Austen goes to great length from very scanty evidence to prove that Jane Austen would have disapproved of slavery.)
    I think that's what the dilemma was: they knew it was wrong really, but they derived so much cash from it. Those who had become rich on the sugar plantations in the Caribbean and who didn't have major land or riches in England needed the slaves or otherwise they'd see their income slashed. Of course morally you can be against it, but I think most of us would reconsider if we'd get most of our earnings from it.

    Quote Originally Posted by JonathanB View Post
    As a father he is no worse and indeed quite a bit more responsible than most Austen fathers. General Tilney and Sir Walter Elliot are obviously selfish and Mr Bennet and Mr Wodehouse in their indolence. (Mr Bennet and Sir Thomas have both married pretty women who prove to be inadequate life partners. Sir Thomas never complains how stupid Lady Bertram is in contrast to Mr Bennet who doesn’t complain – in Austenland that is unforgivable – but makes it plain what he thinks of Mrs B.) Mr Weston has not had the trouble of bringing up Frank.
    Mr Bennet is different to Sir Thomas in that he complains and laments that he deceived himself when he married Mrs Bennet. He was deceived by her beauty, now bitterly regrets it and kind reproaches himself for his own stupidity. Sir Thomas never complains. I don't even know whether he does regret marrying the useless woman at all, to be honest. He seems to be so totally indifferent. Maybe he's kind of alright with it, because at least he's got an heir and a spare, which can't even be Mr Bennet's consolation (this was still the woman's fault back then).

    Where General Tilney gets it wrong is not his intentions, IMO, but the way he goes about things. How can he think that you just order someone to stop loving a girl? Of course his intentions were totally legitimate, because how was his son to live with a wife and 6 children on an income of £200-300? It would by all means have been better that Henry got himself a wife with money. In my mind it's the military discipline that does it. You can't give someone the order to marry/not marry like you give a soldier the order to charge. IMO it's the difference between Lord Nelson and the Duke of Wellington: Lord Nelson was still sentimental to the point where later some details of his death were edited, the Duke of Wellington willingly gave up on playing the violin because it was too sentimental and trained himself to be stern at all times. It doesn't mean he didn't care, it means he expressed it in a different way.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ecurb View Post
    None of Austen's other parents are ideal (we forgot General Tilney when discussing Austen's "monsters"). However, Mr. Woodhouse loves his daughters as well as he can. He's a chump and a hypochondriac. He's ineffectual and inactive. But his failures are not failures of love, and his daughter Emma is one of the best daughters in all of literature as a result, in part, of knowing how much her father loves her.
    I'd say that Austen expressed how the world is: parents are never ideal and we'd all do things differently in hindsight.
    General Tilney had his just motives, but expressed his love badly. Mr Woodhouse is too doting. Maybe because his wife died early? Of course that's speculation, but I'd see him as someone who overdoes the doting because his daughters are the only thing that's left of a woman he has loved. Or maybe he overdoes it, because he's the kind of man who does. We'll never know...

    Sir John Middleton in S&S is a cuddly father, but then I remember Austen commenting that the children were badly behaved because the parents indulged them too much.

    Quote Originally Posted by JonathanB View Post
    The treatment of Maria at the end shocks us now. But by the standards of the day and in the light of socially acceptable behaviour, Sir Thomas is forgiving.

    Sir Thomas does not impose Mrs Norris on her. In her only action remotely resembling generous love, Mrs Norris chooses to live with Maria.
    Well, most probably Maria got what she deserved . Though she wasn't given any good advice about it, I'm not sure why she absolutely wanted Rushworth other than his money alone. There were enough men with enough money who could suit her mentally and would not be so mind-numbingly boring. I mean, Lizzie had at least the sense to refuse Mr Collins based purely on the fact that their characters were not suited. Even if Rushworth didn't have the sense he was born with, Maria should not have wanted the man purely for his money, but that's the problem with most of the Mansfield set: they are the material kind and then, of course, they end up being miserable.

    It's a kind of sardonic joke, isn't it, having to end up with your know-it-all aunt, because you made a rash decision earlier in your life... It's true that Mrs Norris does it out of Christian charity, but Christian charity is sometimes also a bit two faced and patronising. Not to mention that she is a bit at a loss what to do after the death of her husband, and potentially strapped for cash, so it's a nice idea to be able to live somewhere rent-free and make herself useful. By attaching herself to the damned Maria as a companion (or will it be the other way around), she's safe for life. After all, with no children, she has no parties and things to look forward to, no grandchildren to dote on, and the Bertram household doesn't need so much care anymore either, so what better than doing the charity thing?

    Quote Originally Posted by JonathanB View Post
    I'm really interested and almost convinced in Ecurb's comments about Mr Woodhouse. I inclined to the view he was ineffective and Emma was a spoiled brat as a result. Both views are possible, which is why Jane Austen is endlessly fascinating.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ecurb View Post
    Emma is a spoiled brat in many ways -- but not in her relationship with her father, whom she tends and loves with admirable restraint. Doubtless ruling her father's house from the time of Isabella's marriage influenced her conceit, but we her behavior as a daughter is unexceptionable (to use an Austen word).
    Yes, that's true. Emma is not spoiled when it comes to her father. However, I don't think it's he who turned her into a spoiled brat himself, it's rather her charm and the people who surrounded her. Had her father had the sense to get a governess who was more strict and confrontational (more of a Mr Knightley), she'd have been more diligent and less of a know-it-all. But Miss Taylor wasn't, her father didn't do anything to check her strong and charming character, and it gets the better of them all, apart from Mr Knightley. That's the crux of the matter. Children have their own personalities from when they are born, and if they are not managed well, they can turn into monsters.

    And with that we're back to Mr Darcy who "as a child, was taught what was right, but was not taught to correct [his] temper; was given good principles, but left to follow them in pride and conceit." Emma was a perfectly good girl, but her character, apt to overestimate its own opinion, was not corrected, only later on by Mr Knightley.
    One has to laugh before being happy, because otherwise one risks to die before having laughed.

    "Je crains [...] que l'âme ne se vide à ces passe-temps vains, et que le fin du fin ne soit la fin des fins." (Edmond Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac, Acte III, Scène VII)

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    Registered User Jackson Richardson's Avatar
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    Maria marries Mr Rushworth despite Sir Thomas giving her the opportunity to get our of it, to get away from her father, surely?

    (Cindderella would have been known in England in the French version of Perraullt well before the Grimms, which included the nasty sisters and stepmother.)

    I don't think Mrs Norris' motivation in following Maria is pure charity but something rather more complex. As I say that's the sort of thing that makes Jane Austen fascinating.
    Previously JonathanB

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    Registered User kiki1982's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonathanB View Post
    Maria marries Mr Rushworth despite Sir Thomas giving her the opportunity to get our of it, to get away from her father, surely?
    I knew there was something in my mind about a letter and, indeed, Sir Thomas conveyed his approval of the marriage by letter from Antigua:

    Sir Thomas, however, was truly happy in the prospect of an alliance so unquestionably advantageous, and of which he heard nothing but the perfectly good and agreeable. It was a connexion exactly of the right sort—in the same county, and the same interest—and his most hearty concurrence was conveyed as soon as possible. He only conditioned that the marriage should not take place before his return, which he was again looking eagerly forward to. He wrote in April, and had strong hopes of settling everything to his entire satisfaction, and leaving Antigua before the end of the summer.
    Of course he knows nothing of Mr Rushworth himself and how terribly dumb he is, but instead of inquiring, he betrays his own preoccupation with money and material matters (as all his family and Mrs Norris who promoted the match as well).
    Even when he has doubts once he has returned and Henry Crawford has done his evil deeds, he still has his material concerns, even when he knows his daughter won't be happy:

    Sir Thomas was satisfied; too glad to be satisfied, perhaps, to urge the matter quite so far as his judgment might have dictated to others. It was an alliance which he could not have relinquished without pain; and thus he reasoned. Mr. Rushworth was young enough to improve. Mr. Rushworth must and would improve in good society; and if Maria could now speak so securely of her happiness with him, speaking certainly without the prejudice, the blindness of love, she ought to be believed. Her feelings, probably, were not acute; he had never supposed them to be so; but her comforts might not be less on that account; and if she could dispense with seeing her husband a leading, shining character, there would certainly be everything else in her favour. A well-disposed young woman, who did not marry for love, was in general but the more attached to her own family; and the nearness of Sotherton to Mansfield must naturally hold out the greatest temptation, and would, in all probability, be a continual supply of the most amiable and innocent enjoyments. Such and such-like were the reasonings of Sir Thomas, happy to escape the embarrassing evils of a rupture, the wonder, the reflections, the reproach that must attend it; happy to secure a marriage which would bring him such an addition of respectability and influence, and very happy to think anything of his daughter's disposition that was most favourable for the purpose.
    When Lizzie turns out to have accepted Mr Darcy, who sneaks out to the library to ask his prospective father-in-law for his blessing, Mr Bennet, on the other hand, reacts totally differently. OK, he's heard from his own daughter's mouth that Darcy is unpleasant, but he goes to great lengths to make sure she's thought about it properly. He almost pleads with her not to rush into something like that. Maybe because he knows how it feels?

    Her father was walking about the room, looking grave and anxious. "Lizzy," said he, "what are you doing? Are you out of your senses, to be accepting this man? Have not you always hated him?"

    How earnestly did she then wish that her former opinions had been more reasonable, her expressions more moderate! It would have spared her from explanations and professions which it was exceedingly awkward to give; but they were now necessary, and she assured him, with some confusion, of her attachment to Mr. Darcy.

    "Or, in other words, you are determined to have him. He is rich, to be sure, and you may have more fine clothes and fine carriages than Jane. But will they make you happy?"

    "Have you any other objection," said Elizabeth, "than your belief of my indifference?"

    "None at all. We all know him to be a proud, unpleasant sort of man; but this would be nothing if you really liked him."

    "I do, I do like him," she replied, with tears in her eyes, "I love him. Indeed he has no improper pride. He is perfectly amiable. You do not know what he really is; then pray do not pain me by speaking of him in such terms."

    "Lizzy," said her father, "I have given him my consent. He is the kind of man, indeed, to whom I should never dare refuse anything, which he condescended to ask. I now give it to you, if you are resolved on having him. But let me advise you to think better of it. I know your disposition, Lizzy. I know that you could be neither happy nor respectable, unless you truly esteemed your husband; unless you looked up to him as a superior. Your lively talents would place you in the greatest danger in an unequal marriage. You could scarcely escape discredit and misery. My child, let me not have the grief of seeing you unable to respect your partner in life. You know not what you are about."

    Elizabeth, still more affected, was earnest and solemn in her reply; and at length, by repeated assurances that Mr. Darcy was really the object of her choice, by explaining the gradual change which her estimation of him had undergone, relating her absolute certainty that his affection was not the work of a day, but had stood the test of many months' suspense, and enumerating with energy all his good qualities, she did conquer her father's incredulity, and reconcile him to the match.

    "Well, my dear," said he, when she ceased speaking, "I have no more to say. If this be the case, he deserves you. I could not have parted with you, my Lizzy, to anyone less worthy."
    That's very interesting, because, although Mr Bennet says he can't refuse Darcy anything, he will tell Darcy to go away if his daughter doesn't satisfy him that she is in earnest. Sir Thomas, on the other hand, is not only a bad judge of character, but even in the face of a daughter who clearly wants to get married for many other reasons apart from the man she's going spend the rest of her life with, he seems to be disposed to convince himself of her eventual happiness, merely for material concerns.
    One has to laugh before being happy, because otherwise one risks to die before having laughed.

    "Je crains [...] que l'âme ne se vide à ces passe-temps vains, et que le fin du fin ne soit la fin des fins." (Edmond Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac, Acte III, Scène VII)

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    Registered User Jackson Richardson's Avatar
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    That is not fair to Sir Thomas. He can see Maria is unlikely to be happy and is prepared to help her get out of the marriage. If she had agreed, he would have supported her. It is Maria who is determined not give it up - a reason not mentioned is that she wants to spite Henry.

    There's nothing Sir Thomas can do other than being a tyrant. He then tries to convince himself the inevitable will work out.

    Maria is as concerned about the status and wealth the marriage will bring as any of her family.
    Previously JonathanB

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    Registered User kiki1982's Avatar
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    Ah, yes, BUT (big but), there is no pleading like Mr Bennet almost does. Mr Bennet indeed almost begs his daughter not to do something stupid. Sir Thomas 'talks seriously' to Maria, then sees she's absolutely determined to walk into her own misfortune and is 'satisfied he [has] done his duty'. He doesn't really try to make her see sense, he is happy even that he doesn't have to support her in calling off the marriage, because it would be embarrassing. You can forgive Maria for her unreasonable way in trying to relieve the rejection she feels once Henry has p*ssed off, but a grown man like Sir Thomas should have more sense. I admit the consequences of such an action would not be very favourable, but then is the short and slight embarrassment of an engagement broken off not worth the reward of not seeing your daughter unhappy all her life because you failed to speak up with the life experience she didn't have? He also regrets his comparative silence later, when the elopement has happened and the scoundrel Henry has really shown himself, but that's the inherent problem of the Bertram family: always too little too late. Only when Fanny shows herself by far they superior of them all, is she brought out.

    Lizzie has to convince her own father with four arguments before he will actually be completely happy that she's made up her mind properly and has accepted Darcy for the right reasons: the fact that her feelings towards the man have changed, the fact that he's not as her father considers him to be, the fact that she feels affection for him/is not indifferent and the fact that he saved Lydia and the entire family from scandal. Sir Thomas does not require anything of the kind to declare that he's happy to give her away.
    Last edited by kiki1982; 10-26-2015 at 10:38 AM.
    One has to laugh before being happy, because otherwise one risks to die before having laughed.

    "Je crains [...] que l'âme ne se vide à ces passe-temps vains, et que le fin du fin ne soit la fin des fins." (Edmond Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac, Acte III, Scène VII)

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