The Duality of Siblings
I believe that it is time to let out a joyous whoop for our little protagonist. She was finally pushed too hard by the ridiculousness of the Thorpes. Catherine Morland has arrived. She is a young woman with a keen sense of right and wrong. She may let her imagination take her astray but she knows when to stick true. The actions of others may sometimes confuse her but she is decided when it comes to her own. I love it. The insistence of the Thorpes that they be the center of her universe was a highly uncomfortable moment to read. However, she is keenly aware what decorum dictates. Catherine Morland is a young lady who knows when to put the brakes on. It also has to be noted that she had the extra test of her brother’s insistence as well. The disgusting display by this party of three stooges did more to demonstrate Catherine’s character than any other scene.
There are few instances in Jane Austen novels where the social norms of her era coincide with ours. However, John Thorpe’s decision to go behind Catherine’s back to Miss Tilney is one of these predicaments. Imagine a friend doing something similar to you. It’s a direct violation of the unspoken trust of the friendship agreement. Catherine had every right in the world to be upset and there is not a reader among us that didn’t feel for her. What a horrible situation and then to have it compounded with them attempting to hold her back; she handled herself better than I would have. Mr. Thorpe’s crude disregard for anyone’s feelings but his own is center stage at this moment. Know everything we know about him so far, I am fearful of what exactly he said to General Tilney about Catherine.
I believe that every person has a soundtrack, a natural song that fits their intellect and personality. I often spend time trying to figure out family and friend’s song. I believe if Mrs. Allen had a song it would be similar to elevator music. Dull and dim, at best. The sounds of crickets would work as well. I have never been a woman who has cared one wit about fashion. I have never understood the point of killing your feet, spending hundreds of dollars on a purse, or constantly stressing about the latest trends. It seems like such a sad and vane way to waste your time. Given the choice between the latest fashion and comfort, I choose comfort. I wear my baggy sweats as a badge of honor. My flip flops show you I have more important things to worry about. So for me to say that I cannot possibly relate to Mrs. Allen would the understatement of the century. Her head is filled with yards of muslin but not a single stitch of any substance. This is in stark contrast to her husband. He’s jovial enough but he also shows a great deal of common sense. It kind of makes you wonder what Mrs. Allen did to catch her husband, doesn’t it?
Little Miss Morland finally got her a long awaited walk with the Tilney siblings. It’s a wonderful moment in the book that further clarifies the brilliance of Mr. Tilney. He’s kind, intelligent, and humorous. What more could a woman ask for? I adore Miss Tilney. She’s the polar opposite of Isabella and clearly she’s the superior of the two. I don’t see Eleanor ever being a ridiculous flirt or putting Catherine in uncomfortable situations. The banter between Henry and Eleanor is so realistic, as any sister with a brother will tell you. I, personally, banter with mind daily. It is part of what you do. Brothers pick and sisters pick back, you can tell that Jane Austen had brothers of her own to understand this phenomenon so well. They are just a fantastic duo. These two chapters helped to clearly define the two sibling groups in Catherine’s world. Isabella and John Thorpe are ridiculous, self centered, and manipulative; while Henry and Eleanor Thilney are intelligent, understated, and kind. It’s clear to this reader which pair to like the best and I believe that Austen planned that beautifully.
Challenge: Finish Volume 1 and read first chapter of Volume 2