Tuesday, April 20, 2021

S&S Read-Along: Ch. 37 & 38

And so, the secret is out.  Finally.  Anyone else breathing a huge sigh of relief on behalf of Elinor because she doesn't have this awful secret hanging over her head anymore?  Whew.  Even though it means Edward is firmly and publicly engaged to Lucy Steele now, which is sad for both Elinor and Edward, it's just... got to be a big relief to have it known.

Random note:  the "Nancy" they keep mentioning is the elder Miss Steele, the one with the fixation on some doctor.  Her first name is Anne, but Nancy was a common nickname for Anne at that time.  So if you were reading along and suddenly went, "Who in the world is this Nancy person?" now you know.

I find this line so... illuminating?  Enlightening?  Interesting?  Something:

"But unwelcome as such a task must be, it was necessary to be done, and Elinor therefore hastened to perform it" (p. 482).

Elinor does not avoid necessary tasks just because they're annoying or unwelcome.  She hurries up and does them.  Are you that way?  Because I totally am not, usually.  I will put off an annoying or unwelcome task, like telling someone bad news or sweeping the kitchen or taking out the compost, for as long as I can by coming up with other tasks to do first.  But not Elinor.  Rip off the bandage and get it over with, that's her philosophy, maybe?

Anyway, Elinor here gets to state something that we see over and over again in Jane Austen's books, which I quite agree with:

"And after all, Marianne, after all that is bewitching in the idea of a single and constant attachment, and all that can be said of one's happiness depending entirely on any particular person, it is not meant -- it is not fit -- it is not possible that it should be so (p. 486/88).

I heartily agree.  I think if you're depending on one human being to make you happy, you're in for a lot of disappointment.  I have a loving, affectionate, happy marriage that has lasted nearly 19 years... but I do not depend on my husband to make me happy.  I have friends, he has friends, we both have dearly loved family members -- we are not each others' whole worlds.  And if we had not met, I feel sure God could have led us to other people we could have been very happy with too.  I think happiness in marriage is a blessing, but also largely a choice and a decision that two people make -- we like each other, so we shall be happy together.  And we keep on working to promote each others' happiness, but not insisting that our own happiness must be entirely supplied by them and them alone.  

Anyway.  That got long-winded.  Clearly, I have Many Thoughts on that subject.

Discussion Questions:

1.  Are you like Elinor, and like to get unpleasant, yet needful, tasks over as fast as you can?

2.  Do you agree that it's not possible/healthy for one's happiness to depend entirely upon one particular person?

12 comments:

  1. 1. Are you like Elinor, and like to get unpleasant, yet needful, tasks over as fast as you can?

    - Yes. Get the worse out of the way instead of dwelling on it and making yourself miserable.


    2.  Do you agree that it's not possible/healthy for one's happiness to depend entirely upon one particular person?

    - Absolutely. People come and go in life and to base your happiness on a single person just sets you up for heartbreak.

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    1. Ivy Miranda, I am also totally all about getting bad stuff over fast.

      And yes, people can do things like die or move away or turn into jerks. Don't base all your happiness on them.

      Delete
  2. Have you heard of the book called "Eat That Frog" (I think that's the name)? I only read the beginning of it, but the gist of it is that you do your least desired task of the day first, and he refers to that as Eating the Frog. I was hoping it would motivate me to be someone more like...well...Elinor, but it has not. Once in a while I look at my list and think "I should really eat that frog", but I usually don't. :(

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    1. Becky, nope, I haven't, but I can see that such an approach might be useful? But I would probably never make it work in my life because I'm constantly interrupted during pretty much all tasks. So I'd be eating the frog one leg at a time, and ew.

      Delete
  3. 1. Gee, I wish I were more like Elinor where unpleasant tasks are concerned... Unfortunately I'm the exact opposite, possibly to an almost pathological degree. I postpone everything unpleasant and that makes it only worse, of course. There's a nice scientific term for it – procrastination. 2. I completely agree that it's not healthy at all for one's happiness to depend on one human being alone. Boy, that must be extremely stifling for a person if his / her partner expects to be on cloud nine together on a daily basis...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Andrea, not unusual, I don't think. I tend to procrastinate really dumb things that are only going to take a few minutes to do, but I just don't want to do it, so... I put it off.

      Such a good point on how stifling that can be, to have another person relying on you for their own happiness! I hadn't thought of it from that angle, but it's so true.

      Delete
  4. I wish I was like Elinor, but I tend to procrastinate a lot.

    I completely agree with that, you can't put your happiness in other people's hands. God's hands for sure, but other people can't keep you happy.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Skye, I procrastinate too much myself. And then feel super guilty about it. Sigh.

      And yes. God can and will fulfill you, but other people... will fail you at some point.

      Delete
  5. I love the idea of doing the unpleasant tasks first to get them done. As to whether I actually DO it, it depends what they are - laundry yes, dishes no. Hah!

    2. No, it is not healthy for ALL of your happiness to depend on one other person. In fact, I think a strong argument can be made that your happiness should not depend ENTIRELY on other people (however many) at all. Certainly other people can make us happy, but if that is the only way we can be happy, we are bound for disappointment. Eventually, other people will let us down.

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    Replies
    1. Roxann, heh, yeah. Same.

      And I agree. ::high fives::

      Delete
  6. This exposure was SO satisfying at first. Lucy, the John Dashwoods get some come-uppance. Of course Lucy ends up still being able to lord if over Elinor. But Elinor no longer has to bear the exclusive burden. And Marianne learns a thing or too.

    Its funny I think with modern nicknames we assume they are always to be shorter but older nicknames weren't necessarily so like Nancy for Anne, Jack for John, Polly for Mary. Also Polly isn't at even like Mary nor is Daisy like Margaret although I think Margaret may mean daisy (Elizabeth takes the cake for the number of nicknames but Margaret has quite a few too)? Anyway, I love names and name facts. I always liked this spelling of Elinor which I'd never seen before.
    1. Are you like Elinor, and like to get unpleasant, yet needful, tasks over as fast as you can?

    Chores no, confessions yes. One of my least favorite plots authors/movie writers . . . Hallmark movies uses is the secret keeping that goes through a whole story that causes more complications than an honest explanation would.

    2. Do you agree that it's not possible/healthy for one's happiness to depend entirely upon one particular person?
    Yes, although I think that there are fewer people that one may truly love that maybe Elinor acknowledges.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Livia, yeah, nicknames are really interesting! Especially how some of them originated, like Daisy for Margaret (Marguerite is the French name for a daisy).

      I really have very little patience with stories where a 2-minute conversation would roll up the whole plot in a tidy bundle. It doesn't bug me here, because Elinor is keeping someone else's secret that has been forced on her, but when it's something dumb like "This kid you assume is mine is actually my niece" and it's being used to keep two people apart because the writers couldn't think of any other way to make that happen... it's lazy writing, and I hate it.

      Ahem. Why, yes, I do have strong feelings on that plot device.

      Delete

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