Saturday, April 17, 2021

S&S Read-Along: Ch. 35 & 36

Okay, not only is Lucy a poisonous little viper, she's entirely delusional.  She's completely convinced herself that Mrs. Ferrars and Fanny Dashwood truly like her for who she is, and absolutely oblivious to the fact that they were only being nice to her to spite Elinor.  Which, honestly, is hilarious.  Oh. My. Word.

Of course, Fanny inviting Lucy and her sister to stay with them is only going to encourage Lucy in this notion.  Which is understandable.  And I have to say, Fanny and Lucy are a fun pair to watch because they're both so determinedly insincere, both saying nice things and not meaning them at all.

But I really can't stand either of them.

Also, so, is it terribly mean of me to absolutely love the scene where Edward walks in on Fanny and Elinor chatting and we have The Most Awkward Five Minutes in British Literary History ever?  It's really horrible for all of them... and yet it makes me laugh.  Especially the bit where "Edward seemed to have as great an inclination to walk out of the room again, as to advance farther into it" (p. 448).  It's horribly embarrassing for everyone except Lucy Steele... but honestly, I end up just feeling really proud of Elinor through the whole ordeal, and laugh at Lucy for being such a prim little minx and behaving rather badly by being "determined to make no contribution to the comfort of others" (p. 450) and not participating in the conversation.  That's terribly rude, and I know Edward sees her that way.

By the time I got to the bit where "Edward muttered something, but what it was, nobody knew, not even himself" (p. 452), I couldn't help laughing aloud.  I'm grinning at it even now.  Wow.  How does Austen make a scene that's so ridiculously awkward also be so funny and even enjoyable?

Chapter 36 is dull by comparison, but has some funny bits, mostly at Robert Ferrars' expense.  And Mr. Palmer's refusal to say his baby is the most beautiful baby ever made me chuckle.

Discussion Questions:

1.  Do you think Lucy Steele and Fanny Dashwood realize at all that they're both just using each other for very selfish reasons?  Or does Lucy think Fanny is actually being kind, and Fanny think Lucy actually likes her little boy and so on?


  1. I think when things happen that you WANT to happen, it is very difficult to recognize a lack of sincerity in them. Lucy wants Fanny to be kind, so when Fanny appears kind, she believes it. Fanny wants Lucy to like her little boy, so when Lucy seems to like him, she believes it.

  2. When Edward walked in and saw them both, that felt like such a rom com scene. I do find their fake niceness and behavior incredibly annoying.
    My favorite bit Elinor agreeing to everything Sir Robert said because she didn't think he deserved the compliment of rational opposition.
    I'll have to remember that one.

    1. Skye, yes! It's very much a romcom kind of scene.

      And Elinor is just so full of very quiet sass. Love her.

  3. 1. Do you think Lucy Steele and Fanny Dashwood realize at all that they're both just using each other for very selfish reasons?  Or does Lucy think Fanny is actually being kind, and Fanny think Lucy actually likes her little boy and so on?

    - Both women are catty and manipulative. I think Fanny believes she control Lucy and befriend her in a way to slight her sister-in-law. And Lucy is so desperate for marriage to Edward that she's willing to believe anything she sees from Fanny.

  4. That is such a great scene, it's not in the 1995 version that I can recall or it is as dramatic, but I'm glad that they put it in the 2008 version although they don't quite get the level of awkwardness. Love Edward, but he had that coming, and yes, him muttering without knowing what he was saying, that bit was hilarious. Marianne grilling him unintentionally is hilarious.

    The Fanny Lucy setup is just perfect for what comes next, they both get some come-uppance.

    1. Livia, I just rewatched the 1995 with my husband because he's reading these read-along posts and needed faces to go with names. This awkward scene is totally in it, and is just as embarrassingly funny as it is in the book. I don't see how either of the actresses could keep from busting up over all of Hugh Grant's extremely funny chagrined expressions.

      You're right on the set-up for what happens next for Fanny and Lucy! Epic set-up, really.

  5. I haven't watched that one in a while (we tend to watch Emma 2009 the most and then I think Persuasion 2008 and Pride and Prejudice 1995). I can't wait to watch them all when I'm done!


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