Thursday, 29 September 2011

Marianne Dashwood

They only see what they want to see. They don't know they're dead.
Cole from The Sixth Sense.

Finding value at the heart of reality. It is a truth that we create our own worlds, up to a point. In noticing what we notice when not under threat there is implicit a scale of valuing. The altering of these constructions is a favourite theme of Jane Austen's. The heroine at the end of the novel has a new world, a more 'real' world. It is more real in that it is more complete, the blank or missed bit is now present. In 'Sense and Sensibility' the modern reader must regret to a degree the punishment of Marianne, it seems too comprehensive and she appears to me at least to be too reduced, too broken to be put together without permanent disability. That is all too often life, sigh!

2 comments:

skholiast said...

I hope you are wrong about Marianne. I think Jane wanted her happy, merely chastened and, well, (a little more) sensible. I think the ones who are irrevocably broken usually remain off-stage in Austen (e.g. Col. Brandon's young ward). But there is no denying that she had it in for gushing as a substitute for thought.

ombhurbhuva said...

Skholiast:
Austen is ambivalent about Marianne's fate I think. A naive 16 year old girl is hardly a match for a hardened blackguard such as Willoughby. It is true that his rearing left him spoilt and self-indulgent but there is a fleeting moment of fantasy when Elinor imagines his rich wife dead and he gratefully united with her sister. There is also the hint that Colonel Brandon may not be so staid for he challenged Willoughby to a duel over his ward and he too had early been crossed in love. Fire under the ashes what! In all of this the chief villain is money. Didn't J.A. herself turn down a match with a rich man when it was practically her duty to accept it given the parlous financial condition of her family.