Friday, April 23, 2021

S&S Read-Along: Ch. 39 & 40

Well, finally!  Something goes right for somebody!  Isn't Colonel Brandon just the sweetest, most thoughtful man?  Offering this "living" to Edward, whom he barely knows, simply because he sympathizes with the injustice of parents interfering in the love lives of their children.  Of course, Brandon has no way of knowing that he's actually hurting his friend Elinor by this, because now Edward will be able to marry Lucy instead of putting off the marriage because of insufficient money to support a wife.  But Brandon doesn't know Elinor loves Edward, he just knows Edward is a friend of hers, and he thinks this means Elinor will be glad to see her friend have a home and a way to earn a living.

Which, you see, is the trouble with being SO guarded of your feelings as Elinor is -- you may end up getting hurt by people who are trying to be kind to you because they don't know what your feelings and thoughts are.  Better to be a little less reserved, at least with those you can trust, I think.

Here's a little aside from my annotated edition:  although several characters her believe that a clergyman who makes only 200 pounds a year is too poor to marry, that's actually a bit more than Jane Austen's father was making as a clergyman when he married her mother.  So it might not be enough to live well, but it's do-able.  

The whole thing where Mrs. Jennings and Elinor misunderstand each other is pretty funny, isn't it?  And it goes on just long enough, but stops before it becomes tiresome and ceases to be funny.  At least, I think so.

Quick note:  I'm so sorry I'm very behind on replying to comments and discussing this book with you!  The last two weeks have been ridiculously busy, and I have had almost no time to do even ordinary internet things like check my email.  I'm trying to fit blogging in, but even that has been tough, as evidenced by my posting this at 10:30 on a Friday night.  Next week should be much calmer!  So I promise I'm not ignoring y'all!  I will reply when life has settled down again!

Discussion Questions:

1.  Did you think the misunderstanding about what Colonel Brandon was asking Elinor was funny?

2.  Do you think it's better to marry sooner and be kind of poor, or put off marrying a few years until you will be more comfortably off?

14 comments:

  1. I noticed before that Jane Austen has that sort of 'misunderstood conversation' in more than one of her books--and they're always funny. Of course I can't remember what the others are now. :P I just remember thinking about it and listing them in my brain a long time ago lol.

    'Marry sooner' is the motto of this young person who wants to get married asap. ;) But at the same time, I know poverty (or just having to scrape by at least) can put a lot of strain on a relationship. So my fictitious husband and I would have to work through that and not let it affect us anymore than necessary.

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    1. Eva, yes, Austen is great at that! It's so hard to balance having the characters not understand each other, but being sure the readers do. Awesome.

      When we were in premarital counseling, our pastor said that it's always a trade-off -- marry sooner and have more time and energy, but less money, or marry later and have less time and energy, but more money. Same goes for when you're having kids. Me, I married at 22 and worked entry-level jobs and paid off school loans, and it was fine because we'd both grown up living simply and frugally. Wouldn't work for everyone, though.

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  2. I've been busy too, just catching up on reading and commenting myself this weekend.

    As much as I lean on the Marianne side on the Mrs. Jenning opinion and although it was impertinent of her to make her conclusions, I do think it says a lot that she was not trying to listen and moving to avoid it, especially coming after Miss Steele deliberately listening at the door to Lucy and Edward. Nevertheless the misunderstanding while irritating was funny.

    Definitely marry sooner as long as you know you are marrying the right person. People misuse the word poor, most people will not be poor without some other issue of single parenthood or abuse or something, and pooling resources is better than living separately, not to mention in terms of morals of those days and for Christians now, its easier to marry. I think people have gotten rather greedy. Just look back at parents or grandparents to see how they survived with much less than we consider necessary like these lavish grand balls that weddings are nowadays. My grandparents did a civil wedding and a house (granted that was easier to get then just proportionally to income).

    And these are all gentry and its not even near poverty, they still wouldn't be doing the housework themselves. Its just not what they are used to and expect in their status.

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    1. Livia, don't look now, but I'm finally catching up on comments you left 10 days ago! :-o

      I think that it's hard to fairly compare relative levels of poorness. We say "oh, they're not even all that poor," but if we had to suddenly reduce what we lived on by more than half, we would find that hard, right?

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    2. Sorry, socio-economic nerd here. I'm talking about that poverty, the economic definition of not having ones basic needs met, should not be thrown around so inaccurately, as soon as one has less doesn't make one poor, poor is not interchangeable with merely meaning less money, poverty is a devasting thing, it's actually is measurable (actual standards may vary) not truly relative. Elinor and Edward were not poor by any standard ever, definitely not even economically lower class. I remember seeing Pride and Prejudice in theater and the theater handbooks listed the incomes in modern dollars, I also had a book that did, I'll have to go look it up, see if I can find some comparisons for Sense and Sensibility.

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    3. I never said they were in poverty. They are now poorer than they were. For them, this is legitimately hard. Just like, if my family suddenly went from our current 4-bedroom house with a basement and a backyard and a garage to the 4-room apartment we lived in when we were first married, we would feel poor by comparison to our current life.

      (For the first 4 years of my son's life, we qualified for WIC. We chose not to sign up for it, but we were literally "poor," no single parenthood or substance abuse involved...)

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  3. Brandon is a sweetheart, he's my favorite of all Austen's heroes, and he is the best one of all. That is the hill I shall die on. ;)

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    1. Charity, Brandon is not my absolute favorite, but he is WAY up there. Like, #1 = Wentworth, #2 = Henry Tilney, #3 = Brandon/Darcy (depending on which I've read most recently, heh). And he'd probably be the one I'd be happiest with myself, tbh.

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  4. In answer to your questions, YES that misunderstood conversation is intensely funny, and I think it's better to marry (the right person) sooner and be kind of poor.

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    1. Kendra, glad that conversation struck you as funny too! And I agree with you.

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  5. 1. Did you think the misunderstanding about what Colonel Brandon was asking Elinor was funny?

    - Yes it was humorous. Poor Elinor. Everything is just coming at her at once.

    2.  Do you think it's better to marry sooner and be kind of poor, or put off marrying a few years until you will be more comfortably off?

    - If you know that person is definitely the person than yes, marry sooner when you're poor and build your life together. Waiting until you're more comfortable can make the love waver (Scrooge and Belle for example).

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    1. Ivy Miranda, yeah, poor Elinor.

      I am not a fan of long engagements when they're made simply so that people will have more money later. If it's because someone is underage or needs to finish school, or whatever, then they're fine.

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  6. I loved the whole misunderstanding. Mrs. Jennings thinking he was proposing. That was also incredibly sweet of Col. Brandon to do that for Edward.

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    1. Skye, yes, such a funny chapter!

      Brandon is wonderful, that's all.

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