Thursday, April 15, 2021

S&S Read-Along: Ch. 33 & 34

You know, I was perfectly happy living my life without John and Fanny Dashwood on the scene.  How about you?  Ugh, they're just insufferable.  John going on and on about how "poor" he is, just to convince Elinor he can't help out.  Fanny and her mother only being nice to the two Steele girls and barely speaking civilly to Elinor and Marianne... just disgusting!

But wow, Austen's sarcasm is in beast mode here.  She says that Mrs. Ferrars "was not a woman of many words: for, unlike other people in general, she proportioned them to the number of her ideas" (p. 434).  Way to sock it to both Mrs. Ferrars and people in general, eh?  And then she says, of the display of wealth that John and Fanny put on, that "no poverty of any kind, except of conversation, appeared (p. 436).  Wow.  You can almost hear that one sizzle.

Austen's authorial gloves also come off regarding Lucy Steele.  She outright says that Lucy "believed herself to be inflicting a severe disappointment" (432) on Elinor when she tells her that Edward won't be at the dinner party.  And then she says that Lucy "hoped at least to be an object of irrepressible envy to Elinor" (p. 434) over how uncomfortable she is about meeting Edward's mother.  No more conjecturing about whether or not Lucy is a villainess here, eh?

Discussion Questions:

1.  Do you think Col. Brandon catches on that John thinks he's interested in Elinor?

2.  Did you laugh aloud when Elinor snarks at her half-brother John that "assisted by [Mrs. Ferrars'] liberality, I hope you may yet live to be in easy circumstances," like I did?

12 comments:

  1. I couldn't decide if John Dashwood was despicable or pitiable. Certainly every single topic of conversation that came up, he only talked about how much it cost. It made him a very boring and predictable conversationalist, and not the least bit enjoyable.

    I doubt that Col. Brandon catches on that John thinks he is interested in Elinor. Col. Brandon is so obsessed with Marianne, and focused almost completely on her. The only ploy to promote Elinor alone was to show her paintings. Other than that, John compared both Elinor and Marianne, and Col. Brandon would have only focused on the Marianne part of that equation.

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    1. Roxann, I expect John Dashwood is both. He's so... selfish. Sigh.

      I think if he did, he would have just dismissed the idea. He's not interested.

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  2. I also don't think Col. Brandon catches that John thinks he cares for Elinor, and he's right now very concerned about her and her nervous distress.

    There were a number of parts of Ch. 34 that I thought were pretty funny, including Elinor's snarky comment. I think what made me laugh the most was Elinor's thought that she could've given Lucy Steele immediate relief by telling her they were most likely about to meet Miss Morton's mother, rather than her own.

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    1. Becky, I think that if he does, he ignores it on purpose.

      And yes! So many sly bits of humor in this section :-) Keeps me from chucking the book on the floor in frustration over Lucy and her machinations.

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  3. John reminds me of my older brother in the weirdest way. The way he talked about Marianne to Col. Brandon. Wow, made me laugh though.

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    1. Skye, that's just funny! Maybe John Dashwood also just... is a bit socially awkward? Maybe that's why he's so easily led by Fanny, especially in public? He relies on her to get him through social situations? It would be interesting to see him played that way.

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  4. 1. Do you think Col. Brandon catches on that John thinks he's interested in Elinor?

    - Perhaps so. Brandon isn't an idiot, but he doesn't let his feelings show either.


    2.  Did you laugh aloud when Elinor snarks at her half-brother John that "assisted by [Mrs. Ferrars'] liberality, I hope you may yet live to be in easy circumstances," like I did?

    - That's almost sweet justice for Elinor and her family.

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    1. Ivy Miranda, yeah, I just kind of tossed that ought there because it felt to me like John is being really obvious, and Brandon just moves on past the whole idea, which makes me grin.

      And yeah, it's a good barb.

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  5. I noticed and loved that first quote.

    1. Do you think Col. Brandon catches on that John thinks he's interested in Elinor?
    I don't think he does or if he does eventually it doesn't faze him, I think John Dashwood just had the idea occur to him. And Colonel Brandon is so wrapped up in his own mind (not selfishly, he's just seems always rather depressed) and worried about Marianne. He's also, I think not fazed or doesn't take too seriously other people's absurdities, he lets them sort of run over him like water, it's the serious stuff he pays attention too.

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    1. Livia Rachelle, Col. Brandon is definitely his own man, and I love him for it :-D

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    2. He's not my type but I feel like I don't appreciate him until now or I forget between readings because he repulses me in the movies. After seeing Little Dorrit, I think that Matthew McFayden would have made the perfect Colonel Brandon, his Arthur Clennam was perfect and the character is very like Brandon I think.

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    3. Livia, oh, yes! Matthew McFadyen would be a lovely Brandon!

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