Chapter 9

For Fanny, it's just a very awkward situation and one that's hurtful to Mr. Rushworth. She sounds silly, talking about why Maria shouldn't go, but it's the only thing she can think of to stop what's coming and is the less powerful one in their dynamic. For Maria, it's a danger. She's starting to learn that she can want more than what she's expected to have, and developing a taste for it. Henry doesn't care about this at all; he just wants to gratify his ego without causing any disruptions, especially ones which would make people blame him - hence his behavior at the dinner and inviting Julia to sit next to him again.

Hmm, I don't remember exactly how I felt the first time, but I think I like Maria a lot more than I did before. I wonder what she would have been like if her marriage with Mr. Rushworth had lasted, or if she had married someone she liked better; she was happy to work with what she could get at first, but in some ways Mr. Crawford spurred her into becoming the 'rebellious princess' type of character, and this isn't the type of story where that character has a happy ending.
talibusorabat: A young white man looking up "(insert thoughts here)" (Primeval: Insert thoughts)

From: [personal profile] talibusorabat

Not just Fanny's lack of power, too -- in that situation, pointing out the inappropriateness of Maria & Mr. Crawford's behavior is more embarrassing than the behavior itself. It's just bad enough to sting poor Mr. Rushworth, but not bad enough to really warrant comment. Comment which Fanny wouldn't be able to give anyway, since she does occupy such a lowly place in the household.

I really do like Maria & Julia, despite how they treat Fanny. Your comment about Maria in particular makes me think of how Austen described Elinor's half-brother in Sense & Sensibility -- how he could have been a very kind man, if he had married a woman who would encourage the best in him as opposed to the most base. I don't think Maria ever could be satisfied with Mr. Rushworth -- even if Henry Crawford hadn't flirted with her while she was engaged, even if she had been married for years, at some point some gentleman with just a little more smarts & charm than Rushworth would come along and Maria would have either been miserable or disgraced herself. Love cannot make a person change, I think is the message of this book, but love can still change people.

Thoughts I scribbled down while reading:

I love the rhythm and the way Austen summarizes conversations without including the dialogue.

Henry Crawford, you are indeed a devil of a fellow. I am very much with Fanny on this one -- badly done, sir.

Somehow this whole scene makes me think of a Shakespearean play -- or any play, really, but for some reason Shakespeare comes to mind -- with people coming and going on and off stage, always missing each other. (So a comedy, not one of his tragedies.) It's a scene well suited for a stage.

I feel like Mrs. Norris would have been very happy as the head housekeeper of a great house. I don't know, there's something almost charming in how well she gets along with the Rushworth servants. It's not the kind of thing that balances out her poor treatment of Fanny, but it lessens her caricature and makes her more of a person.
talibusorabat: A drawing of a woman and the caption "Aquarius independent and loving it" (Aquarius: Independent)

From: [personal profile] talibusorabat

If Maria were a real person, I definitely agree. xD But in the kind of universe that Austen creates, I don't think so. Austen doesn't paint Mr. Rushworth as someone who could grow into a better person -- or at least smarter and/or kinder, and Maria is certainly not the kind of person to inspire someone to be the best that they can be. (Hell, one of the messages of the novel is that making someone a better man is a piss poor reason to marry them, as played out by Fanny and Henry Crawford's relationship.)

As for Maria finding happiness by sneaking around on Mr. Rushworth... again, something that could happen if she were a real person but would never happen in an Austen universe. She wouldn't necessarily be tragic & miserable, but it would be a very hollow happiness. Like Charlotte Lucas, who is content in her marriage to Mr. Collins because she finds ways to make sure they are almost never in the same room. Austen is a romantic; romantic relationships are not the be-all-end-all of her characters, but things are always framed so that those who do not marry for genuine love are remarkably less happy than those who do.


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