Tuesday, May 4, 2021

S&S Read-Along: Ch. 47 & 48

So Much Suspense!  I don't know about you, but I really didn't want to stop reading at the end of chapter 48, so I am going to try to post this quick, read the last two chapters, and post about them today too.  Because yikes, the end of 48 is a wretched place to stop.

I love this line about Elinor's thinking process:  "Reflection had given a calmness to her judgment, and sobered her opinion of Willoughby's deserts" (p. 650).  Not only is it important not to make snap judgments, but it's also important to realize that our emotions can be swayed by a forceful personality, and those emotions can affect our reason.  When Willoughby is present and pleading his case, even Elinor can't quite resist his charm.  But when he's gone, she takes the time to think over what she now knows about him, and his claims, and can see them much more clearly.  Something for us all to remember and try to follow!

I'm really happy for Marianne, that she realizes that even if she had married Willoughby, she would not have been happy with him forever.  She would eventually, inevitably have learned about his seduction and abandonment of Eliza, and she would have lost all respect and even love for him.  I think this must be of a great comfort for her, realizing she hasn't missed out on lasting happiness and love.

In fact, she realizes that her own happiness "never was his object" (p. 654).  He was thoroughly selfish in his love, only caring about how it made him feel, not about how it would affect her.  Another important lesson for us, to be careful not to give our love to those who care only about their own happiness and well-being, not our own.  In fact, I personally feel like that's one way you can tell if a relationship could last -- do both people in it put the other person's welfare and interests above their own?  (And if they both put God first, the other person second, and themselves last, then I think you've got an unbeatable romance there.)

(SPOILERS BELOW!)

And then, their servant drops the big bomb.  Miss Lucy Steele is now Mrs. Lucy Ferrars.  Dun-dun-dun.  (At least we didn't end with THAT chapter!)  Happily, neither the Dashwoods nor ourselves are left in the misunderstanding of which Mr. Ferrars Lucy married -- not for long, anyway.  Edward arrives, announces that he's unmarried, but Lucy has married Robert, and then off he goes because honestly, that's enough news for one day, am I right?

What does Elinor do?  Does she go into hysterics?  No, that's Marianne, and she's not even the one involved in this love quadrangle!  Elinor *almost* runs out of the room (running was unladylike, especially in the house, so she maintains proper behavior even now) and closes the door behind her... and then "burst into tears of joy, which at first she thought would never cease" (p. 670).  Final, definite proof that it's not that Elinor doesn't feel deeply, but that she "will be mistress" of herself (p. 666).  No one is going to control her by playing on her emotions, the way Willoughby preyed on Marianne -- she controls her emotions herself, so no one else can.  

Yeah, I don't want to stop here, so I'm going to read the next couple chapters as soon as my kids finish school.  Here's hoping I have time to post about them yet today too.  And then... the giveaway!  And we'll be done!

Discussion Questions:

1.  Do you think Willoughby will continue to regret losing Marianne, or is he going to move on pretty quickly?

2.  Did you just read straight on to the end instead of stopping here? 

11 comments:

  1. 1. Do you think Willoughby will continue to regret losing Marianne, or is he going to move on pretty quickly?

    - It's clear he and his wife despise one another. And his carelessness regarding Marianne's feelings for him are is now his biggest regret.

    2.  Did you just read straight on to the end instead of stopping here? 

    - I finished it!

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    1. Ivy Miranda, I think he'll regret the fun he had with her, and imagine they could have continued enjoying life together. His regret is kind of an illusion, I think.

      Good for you!

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  2. Yeah, I finished it, too. No Stopping us now!
    I'm not sure how I would write it if a sequel was added, or even a few more chapters. I don't think Willoughby will ever find true happiness unless he has a complete character change. So maybe he'll move on quickly as he has before.

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    1. Mom, very cool!

      I don't think Willoughby will be easily satisfied by anyone or anything. Even Marianne would have eventually lost his interest, I think. Such is the fate of shallow and self-absorbed people.

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  3. I think Willoughby will regret losing her, but only in a selfish way.
    I stopped, but I'm going to read the rest right now. XD

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    1. Skye, I agree. He'll regret this for his own sake and what he's lost, but that's all.

      :-D

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  4. I finished it quickly, I mean once things start coming together it ends pretty quickly, just a tad too quickly for my taste after all the agony!

    Lucy is . . . unmentionable things. Edward still up to the last doesn't get how horrible she is.

    1. Do you think Willoughby will continue to regret losing Marianne, or is he going to move on pretty quickly?

    Austen sardonic tone about Willoughby, I think it's the last chapter I'm thinking of, is hilarious, she implies that he's not nearly so heartsick as his "apology" to Elinor-Marianne through Elinor is.

    2. Did you just read straight on to the end instead of stopping here?
    I can't remember when I think it was few chapters back I managed to read to the end. But yeah, you can't just stop in the middle of this end section and not be distracted.

    A couple other notes I'd written down from this chapter:
    Marianne is not a parcel to be handed over to Colonel Brandon, nor I think would he want her until he really truly won her. Give her some space to get over Willoughby, her illness and have a clear mind for awhile!!! So much half truths and so much confusion.

    Mrs Dash wood sees what she wants, Elinor tries to soften everything. Lucy and Edwards secret engagement. Lucy and Willoughby's selfish lies and underhandedness, Lucy's absolutely malicious.

    And then this contrast:

    "His countenance, as he entered the room, was not too happy, even for Elinor. His complexion was white with agitation, and he looked as if fearful of his reception, and conscious that he merited no kind one." The contrast with poor Edward and his guilt over his thoughtless mistakes vs and Willoughby's lack of it and "apology" with his exponentially worse and intentional behavior, is so vivid.

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    1. Also, Edward just walking out at the interesting juncture . . . it's just so . . . Edward. Really, just leave them hanging? It was hilarious now that we know everything will turn out well.

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    2. Livia, yeah, Austen doesn't go easy on Willoughby.

      Are you saying you think Marianne was treated like a parcel? Or that Brandon didn't truly want her? I'm confused. She doesn't marry Col. Brandon until a year after Elinor and Edward married, which is two years after she met Brandon in the first place (the novel starts in August of one year and ends in August of the next, but Marianne doesn't get married for another whole year after that).

      Anyway, yes, Edward is just...so sweet. And funny, sometimes intentionally and sometimes not :-)

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    3. It's not Brandon, I know he loves and wants whats best for her, it's mainly Mrs. Dashwood's attitude about just handing her over to Brandon that drives me nuts and a bit of the narrator tone (although since it's Austen she was probably being a bit facetious).

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    4. Livia, ahhhh, I misunderstood. I do think Austen is being very sarcastic/satirical/facetious/ironic there -- she's pointing out that sometimes, daughters get treated that way in her day. But we all know Mrs. Dashwood loves and has a special kinship with Marianne and isn't just turning her into a parcel to hand about.

      Delete

What do you think?

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