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Sunday, August 24

Jane Austen Character Throwdown

Old age and fearfulness do not a bad daddy make, as a resounding 85% of you have voted. Mr. Woodhouse, while weak and child-like, can hold no candle to Sir Thomas Bertram, for whom so few of you showed respect as a father. We will reserve Sir Thomas' next bout for another worthier opponent while we trot out two new worst father candidates for this week's Jane Austen Character Throwdown. Remember, the idea is to vote for the father who best fits the worst category, not for your favorite or least favorite character.

Worst Father


General Tilney of Northanger Abbey:
Harsh, ruthless, opportunistic, and lacking any of the softer skills that might have drawn him closer to his motherless children, this ambitious father will let nothing stand in the way of his goals. He rather lacks social graces as well, bragging about his possessions to Catherine Morland, a mere chit of a girl, and then turning her - his guest - out of the house without a chaperone or money simply because John Thorpe was wrong about the size of her fortune. Any time this father is near his children, they feel constrained to remain silent, and they tip toe around him for fear of drawing his ire. Despite his despotic demeanor, his two younger children made sensible choices in choosing a mate. For his oldest son, one suspects, there is very little hope of building good character.




Mr. Bennett of Longbourn:
What? You ask yourself. Why is this hugely popular character, known for his wit and sardonic comments, included in this category? Entertaining he may be, but he has also retreated from his responsibilities towards his three youngest daughters, openly preferring the eldest two. No wonder Lydia made such a poor choice for a husband, for had he required her to act with restraint and prudence, she would not have had the poor sense to run away with Wickham. He also belittles, or should I more accurately say, makes fun of his wife in front of his children, using his rapier wit and sarcasting remarks as weapons. The more I read Pride and Prejudice, the more I realize that Mr. Bennet chose to abrogate almost all his parental responsibilities despite the knowledge that his wife is too silly to be capable of sensible parenting.
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Worst Father
General Tilney Mr. Bennet

Posted by Vic, Jane Austen's World

5 comments:

nigel said...

I have areal soft spot for Mr Bennet in spite of some of his failings. Imagine co-habitation with 5 girls! How does the poor man cope?

Rona said...

General Tilney is a real jerk. What a comparison.

Vic (Ms. Place) said...

Thanks Nigel and Rona. Be patient, Rona, and you'll see a method to this madness. We will be pitting the 'winners' of the worst father contest against each other. One suspects Mr. Bennet will not be among them.

Amy P said...

While I agree that Mr. Bennet is not a good father, at least his children aren't afraid of him, as the two younger Tilneys are.

Naturallymade said...

I LOVE Mr. Bennet and even though he had favorites he was right on point with a lot of his observations. He had to deal with a bunch of crazies on a daily basis. One major thing he gets condemned for I don't agree was the mark of a bad man. he stopped Mary (his own daughter) from continuing to make a fool of herself and the family. Everyone was thinking it he just had enough guts to say it. Right on Mr. Bennet!!! Someone's got to do it, it might as well be your dad and not someone random...