Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Most Complicated Character in the Universe

Today I am going to do a character study.  I like those.  Anyway, I was reading through several blog posts and I noticed that Marianne Dashwood doesn't get too much attention.  I'm not sure why, and maybe I'm wrong.  But I figured I'd try to do a post on her myself, so here we are.  Here goes:
*Draws deep breath*
Marianne Dashwood is actually not too complicated.  She just seems like it.  To my mind, she is pretty much a normal teenage girl, although maybe she's more bold about her feelings than most. 
The reason she appears unstable, in my opinion anyway, is that she just tries to make her situation more romantic or dramatic.  After Willoughby left, she wandered around for weeks attempting to relive everywhere he'd been, so she could feel sad and put-upon for as long as possible.  That was a mistake that eventually caused her to become seriously ill.  When she's happy, she goes into raptures of joy and she does care for her sister.  She was selfish, but she a) didn't know the real situation with Edward Ferrars and b) Elinor is a really good actress.  I admire Elinor a lot, as I've already stated, but more on that in a future blog post.

Anyway.  Back to Marianne.

She's somewhat self-absorbed, but not really intentionally.  How many of us have ever been crying and we've thought of every sad thing we can think of to make it more dramatic.  To keep our anger or sadness or whatever the emotion is.  To make someone feel sorry for us.  I know I have.
To my mind, Elinor is what everyone wants to be and Marianne is what everyone is.  Most people have a tiny part in them that wants to forget all about propriety and constrain and just say what they think all the time.  They want to have a romantic adventure happen to them, even if in real life those "romantic adventures" are at best unpleasant and at worst, heartrending.
I know that I've always wished that I could have the courage to say what I think.  I'm not sure if Marianne is really courageous when she comes out with all her emotions, if she's just a drama queen, or if she's actually emotionally unstable.  We'll never know what Jane Austen meant her to be, I guess, but I think she's a little bit of each.
You see, she has sense.  However, she's different from Elinor in that she doesn't want to be in control of herself.  She wants to burst out with her emotions and be...herself, I suppose.  So she has the questionable virtue of the courage to be herself, without attempting to better herself at all.
She's also a lot more romantic than Elinor, as I've already stated.  Think dead leaves.  Her mother has been egging her on to be so from an early age, probably, and so I think that Marianne tries to be more dramatic than she would by herself because she wants to be like her mother.
Also, being like that for most of her life would make it habit, so she probably is a little bit emotionally unstable in that whenever she's the tiniest bit upset, angry, sad, happy or anything else, she will instantly exaggerate it as much as possible.  This could result in what would look like mood swings.
At the end of the story, Marianne attempts to better herself and I think she goes a little too far before finding a happy medium.  She marries Colonel Brandon just because she is grateful and admiring of him.  However, she eventually devotes her entire heart to him.  I think she gets her happy ending.

 So most people have a bit of Marianne in us, and some want to be more like her.  Being able to go into raptures at the slightest beauty and really appreciate all that is around us is a characteristic that I wish I had more of.  With Elinor's self-control and Marianne's loving, appreciating heart, I think that Marianne eventually found the happy medium.

As always, please tell me what you think in the comments.  I'd love to hear suggestions.

A note: Those who think my blog is kind of boring because there isn't a background on it, I should have a pretty good one up by the end of the week.  I'm working on it as soon as I post this.
-Miss Jane Bennet

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