Jane Austen Structure and Social Vision by David Monaghan

By David Monaghan

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Yet, because the male characters are so poorly presented, because the two love relationships are so inadequately defined, and because there are so few occasions when polite display actively reinforces sound morality, Barton-Delaford emerges as something rather like Bleak House, a place to which a small group of good but powerless people retreat rather than continue to expose themselves to a corrupt world. SENSE AND SENSIBILITY 47 By examining the role of the formal social occasion further, I cannot hope to remove entirely the impression that Sense and Sensibiliry is a harbinger of Victorian alienation.

By so doing he NORTHANGER ABBEY 26 acknowledges that Catherine is finally worthy to be admitted into the adult world. Furthermore, he forms a bond that promises well for the future of his society. The Thorpes have been defeated, General Tilney has been reduced to impotence, and, as is suggested by Henry and Catherine's occupancy of the Woodston Parsonage, the spiritual leadership of the community has come to rest firmly in the hands of two people who have demonstrated their commitment to the gentlemanly ideal of concern for others.

Henry Tilney offers a definitive assessment of her mode of judging: How very little trouble it can give you to understand the motive of other people's actions ... With you, it is not, How is such a one likely to be influenced? -but, how should /be influenced, what would be my inducement in acting so and so. (I 32) However, Catherine does gradually begin to realise that to unite is not always an appropriate course of action. John Thorpe's behaviour, though, is so objectionable that not even the benevolent Catherine can continue to accept him at his own estimation.

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