Sunday, April 11, 2021

S&S Read-Along: Ch. 29 & 30

And now we enter the sad and wretched part of the book where Marianne Is As Sad As Is Humanly Possible.  All the time.  Poor thing :-(  I mean, yes, she throws herself into "excessive affliction" and "most nervous irritability" with great abandon, but she truly has reason to be heartbroken.  I mean, does anyone else here want to punch Willoughby in the face?  Hard?  Just because Marianne kind of goes overboard with the grieving doesn't mean her grief isn't real and warranted.

Here's something interesting that I learned from my annotated version:  London had its own postal system, separate from the national postal system of Great Britain, called the "two-penny post."  For two pennies, you could get a letter to anywhere in London in an hour or so.  Amazing!!! Anyway, this is how Marianne is able to send a letter to Willoughby early in the morning, probably by the 8:00 mail collection, and Willoughby gets it in time to have his reply delivered to her somewhere around 11:00.  My goodness, how speedy and efficient!  

Anyway, we get to see something very illuminating in chapter 29:  Elinor crying violently.  Which provides us with proof that she is definitely capable of experiencing strong emotions.  She just has learned how to choose when to give way to them and when to hold them inside.  Also, it shows us that she's extremely sympathetic with Marianne's plight.  She agrees that it this terrible.  Which makes Marianne's outburst toward her sister, claiming that Elinor "cannot have an idea of what I suffer" so obviously unjust.  Sigh.

As for Mrs. Jennings, I say, hurrah for her!  She may be fond of gossip and teasing, but she is an absolute brick when it comes to standing by an injured friend.  She does everything she can think of to help ease Marianne's sadness, and it's not her fault that she's so different from Marianne that nothing she can think of actually helps.  I mean, she even offers to let Marianne "name her own supper," which means she'd have to change the pre-arranged menu she'd agreed on (possibly days in advance) with her cook.  Possibly have to send someone to purchase different food.  She's willing to put herself and her staff to the expense and trouble of that, just to cheer up a girl who constantly belittles and avoids her.  Hurrah for Mrs. Jennings!

Discussion Questions:

1.  Does anyone else think that Willoughby has been exceedingly foxy and clever in having managed to never actually tell Marianne he loved her?  (At that time, declaring your romantic love to someone was considered the same as a proposal.)

2.  Do you want to say "hurrah for Mrs. Jennings" too?  Or are you more of Marianne's opinion of her?

10 comments:

  1. 1. Does anyone else think that Willoughby has been exceedingly foxy and clever in having managed to never actually tell Marianne he loved her?
    - Yes! A thousand times yes! He knew all the time that he was stringing her along, and just continued playing with her emotions without actually proclaiming his love for her. What a cad!!!!

    2. Do you want to say "hurrah for Mrs. Jennings" too? Or are you more of Marianne's opinion of her?
    - I agree with your assessment that deep down she is a warm person who feels Marianne's hurt deeply. She just has a different way of expressing herself.

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    1. Mom, I think so too. I think this is a big clue of sorts that this is not his first time stringing a girl along. He's had practice.

      Mrs. Jennings is one of Austen's many examples of a person who is not "polished" or "high society" having real personal worth. I quite love her. Except when she's teasing.

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  2. Mrs. Jennings changed my opinion of her with this one. I love how hard she tried to cheer up Marianne and how defensive she was of her too.

    Willoughby was incredibly clever with the whole thing. Which just makes me feel worse for Marianne.

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    1. Skye, that part where she wants to go give Willoughby a tongue-lashing just makes me want to cheer!

      Yeah, somehow him being so... devious about it all... that just makes his jilting of Marianne that much worse.

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  3. 1. Does anyone else think that Willoughby has been exceedingly foxy and clever in having managed to never actually tell Marianne he loved her? (At that time, declaring your romantic love to someone was considered the same as a proposal.)
    Definitely and it's very honest and perceptive of Marianne to notice and comment on that since she usually only sees in him what she wants to.
    2. Do you want to say "hurrah for Mrs. Jennings" too? Or are you more of Marianne's opinion of her?
    I think Elinor has probably the most accurate assessment, grateful for some of the motives, weary of the lack of enough caring to pay attention. I would react like Marianne. When someone is in pain you don't do what you would want you try to do what they would want. Mrs Jennings and Marianne are a bit similar in only seeing things the way they want to see them rather than observation like Elinor and Colonel Brandon.

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    1. Livia, that's a good point about Marianne!

      And I think you're right, Marianne and Mrs. Jennings have a lot in common.

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  4. Willoughby was awful. He has to know that he was just playing with her, stringing her along, if he never said he loved her. It had to have taken effort on his part, because it is quite likely that Marianne told Willoughby that she loved him.

    I don't know that I want to say "hurrah for Mrs. Jennings," but her actions in this chapter gave me a great deal of respect for her. For all that she is a bit foolish, she also has a very kind heart and wants all the best for her friends.

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    1. Roxann, definitely. I don't know that Marianne would have stated her feelings outright, but they had to have been obvious to him, since they were to literally everyone else.

      I like how Austen often gives ridiculous characters redeeming qualities. It keeps them from being caricatures.

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  5. 1. Does anyone else think that Willoughby has been exceedingly foxy and clever in having managed to never actually tell Marianne he loved her?  (At that time, declaring your romantic love to someone was considered the same as a proposal.)

    - No doubt it. The man has been malicious the entire time. Taking her to his home where they were alone for hours and causing the town to talk and gives no regard and this makes her look. Yet never tells her in that entire time he loves her. He really is devious.


    2.  Do you want to say "hurrah for Mrs. Jennings" too?  Or are you more of Marianne's opinion of her?

    - Mrs. Jennings is the definition of a mother. It's just who she is. I like her a great deal better than Mrs. Bennet.

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    1. Ivy Miranda, devious is exactly the right word.

      And yes, Mrs. Jennings is motherly in the best way!

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