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Re: Cannot change his character?

March 26, 2015 12:43AM
Yes, exactly. Austen didn't believe in reformed rakes, and she believed that character was more important than charm. Most of her books feature a charming scoundrel, often contrasted with a less dashing man of good character who wins out in the end because he is the better man and the better husband. Consider Wickham and Darcy, Willoughby and Brandon, Churchill and Knightley. Although Mr. Elliot can hardly be called more dashing than Wentworth, he's another example of the charming scoundrel. And, of course, Henry Crawford and Edmund Bertram.

I think that Crawford is terribly charming, personally, but I so much appreciate Austen's insightful truth--that habits of vice and selfishness are not easily overcome, and that while heights of emotion will stir you to all kinds of things, over time, character tells, and habit tells. And unlike Darcy, Henry doesn't want to be better for the sake of being better, he just wants to please Fanny. It's not that he regrets his past misdeeds in any meaningful sense, just that (he thinks) he wants something different now. I don't think Fanny encouraging him would have done anything but cement his vanity and carelessness; he was far more likely to be stirred by the need to pursue and win her. But even that wasn't enough. I think Austen goes to some pain make it clear that he really did love her, and he really did have every intention of continuing his courtship with perseverance, that the need to persuade her made her more valuable to him rather than less--but he still goes straight from spending time with her to flirting with Maria again. With every inducement in the world, and every reason to avoid an entanglement with this one woman above all, still he could not resist the need to appease his vanity by "subduing" her again. If Fanny had married him she would have been absolutely miserable.
SubjectAuthorPosted

Mansfield Park Fanny/Henry stories?

Rose H.March 25, 2015 12:52AM

Re: Mansfield Park Fanny/Henry stories?

Katharine TMarch 25, 2015 02:25PM

Cannot change his character?

Rose H.March 25, 2015 07:28PM

Re: Cannot change his character?

Katharine TMarch 25, 2015 10:30PM

Re: Cannot change his character?

Suzanne OMarch 26, 2015 12:43AM

Totally agree with this (nfm)

NickiMarch 25, 2015 10:55PM

Re: Cannot change his character?

Jim D.March 25, 2015 07:43PM

Re: Cannot change his character?

Suzanne OMarch 26, 2015 01:00AM

Agreed, though

Rose H.March 26, 2015 01:37AM

Re: Agreed, though

Suzanne OMarch 26, 2015 02:45AM

Re: Mansfield Park Fanny/Henry stories?

Jim D.March 25, 2015 12:52PM

Re: Mansfield Park Fanny/Henry stories?

Rose H.March 25, 2015 07:58PM

Re: Mansfield Park Fanny/Henry stories?

Amy A-NWMarch 26, 2015 05:21PM

Re: Mansfield Park Fanny/Henry stories?

Jim D.March 26, 2015 03:17AM

Re: Mansfield Park Fanny/Henry stories?

Katharine TMarch 25, 2015 10:42PM

Re: Mansfield Park Fanny/Henry stories?

Rose H.March 26, 2015 12:03AM

Re: Mansfield Park Fanny/Henry stories?

Suzanne OMarch 26, 2015 02:50AM

Re: Mansfield Park Fanny/Henry stories?

Katharine TMarch 26, 2015 12:46AM

Re: Mansfield Park Fanny/Henry stories?

Mari A.March 25, 2015 08:32PM

Re: Mansfield Park Fanny/Henry stories?

Janice HMarch 25, 2015 09:29PM

Re: Mansfield Park Fanny/Henry stories?

Rose H.March 26, 2015 12:14AM

Re: Mansfield Park Fanny/Henry stories?

Suzanne OMarch 26, 2015 03:09AM

Re: Mansfield Park Fanny/Henry stories?

Shannon KMarch 25, 2015 02:19AM

Totally agree! (nfm)

InesMarch 28, 2015 03:13PM

I second that!

Janice HMarch 25, 2015 02:40PM

Re: I second that!

Katharine TMarch 25, 2015 03:09PM



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