The Jane Austen Roller Coaster Ride
Poor Mrs. Allen, there’s not an intelligent bone in that woman’s body. If it’s not covered in muslin, she’s not interested. Catherine is the one who has to suffer for her low intellect. She was practically begging her to come to her rescue but the dense nature of that woman would not take a blatant clue. I truly feel for Catherine. Have you ever been in a situation where you’re giving every body language clue to someone and they just are not getting it? You want to scream and shake them, beg them to please understand. It’s a horrible situation. I have a tendency to make friends, unwillingly most of the time, wherever I am at. For instance, yesterday I went on a classic book hunt and in the store I found myself with a group of three women hunting with me. They were very interested in my blog and my quest. They hunted shelf after shelf with me and spoke about their lives. The one lady had a journal where she listed every book she wants to read, a bucket list of books. I don’t know why this happens to me but I can’t tell you how many times I have tried to give off the “I have to go” vibes, just to have them ignored. Catherine Morland is a victim of an unrecognized cue, I can relate.
The Thorpes, Isabella and John, are singly the most wholly ridiculous family I’ve ever read. They treat Catherine like she is a child and yet she’s their better by far. I do believe, however, that there is more than ridiculousness to them. I think there is a great deal of manipulation and gold digging. They’re out to better their situation and could care the less who they step on to get there. John Thorpe is just a gross character, truly a man who couldn’t get a single woman unless she had an intellect slightly lower than Mrs. Allen’s. His use of blatant lies to boost his ego makes for some very humorous interactions. But you have to feel pity for Catherine, yet again, being stuck in a carriage with that fool. It’s like being put in a cage with a monkey, he’s just so deliciously lacking in any decent attribute. I do love how this ride showcases the wise nature of our heroine. She’s leaps and bounds wiser than her brother and certainly light years ahead of Mrs. Allen. She gets it. She gets that the Thorpes are very wishy washy and that they tell “lies to increase their importance”. This is a very novel moment for young Miss Morland, it is a moment when we find ourselves cheering because she’s not as stupid as was once described.
Oh, did anyone else weep for Catherine when she returned home to find that Mrs. Allen had spent the day with Mr. Tillney? It was an awful moment. I could feel that heart dropping to the pit of my stomach feeling. What a kick in the teeth for Catherine. All she has wanted, her deepest desire, is to get to meet and spend time with the Tillney siblings and she missed it for the ridiculous ride with John Thorpe. It was awful and I found myself having a deep desire to go through the pages of the book just to kick Mr. Thorpe. I despise that man; the loathing of a fictional character is truly the hallmark of a book geek.
And then it happened. This is the moment that we have all been breathlessly anticipating; the arrival of the one and only Mr. Tillney. I adore Miss Tillney. She’s such a calming character and much more suitable of a friend for Catherine than Isabella. I hope that Austen continues their closeness and I don’t even mind if it is an immediate bond. She just seems so honest which is a breath of fresh air next to the false Thorpes. These two chapters were ones of such varying emotions for this reader. First, the disgust at Mr. Thorpe, then the anger at Catherine missing a chance to be with Tillney, and then the pure adulation for Catherine on finally triumphing against some horrid odds. She finally had her moment with Mr. Tillney and what a fantastic character he is. He is kind, honest, and pure of heart. Or so I believe. Jane Austen has a way of writing the snakes to be appear to be honest however I believe this time it is genuine. I hope for Catherine’s sake he is. He sees clearly the ridiculousness and audacity of John Thorpe and brings this to Miss Morland’s attention. It’s a lovely scene and by the time their dance ended I was truly joyful in my heart for her. She had had that moment, the single best moment for a heroine with a crush, and I felt nothing but happiness for her. The description Austen gives of her being so happy with her night she couldn’t sit still was fantastic and I felt nostalgic for a moment. Who hasn’t felt that tingling, jump in your seat, feeling of new love? I can’t wait to see what Austen has in store for our young protagonist in the next challenge.
Challenge: Read Chapters 11 & 12