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Sunday, October 19

Jane Austen Character Throwdown

Mr. William Elliot, heir to the Elliot fortune, has won the dubious distinction of Most Conniving Character #2, winning the title over John Thorpe. We now come to this week's throwdown between two well-known ministers:

I'd Rather Move From His Parish Than Listen to His Sermons

Mr. Collins, Pride and Prejudice

An obsequious toad-eater, this man chose to read ponderous sermons and lectures to the Bennets during his first visit to Longbourn. One suspects that Lady Catherine de Bourgh played an active part in writing his sermons. After Lydia eloped with Mr. Wickham, Mr. Collins demonstrated his lack of common sense, and sent the following letter of condolence to Mr. Bennet: "They agree with me in apprehending that this false step in one daughter will be injurious to the fortunes of all the others; for who, as Lady Catherine herself condescendingly says, will connect themselves with such a family. And this consideration leads me moreover to reflect with augmented satisfaction on a certain event of last November, for had it been otherwise, I must have been involved in all your sorrow and disgrace. Let me advise you then, my dear Sir, to console yourself as much as possible, to throw off your unworthy child from your affection for ever, and leave her to reap the fruits of her own heinous offence."

Mr. Elton, Emma

If one lived in Highbury, one would not only have to listen to Mr. Elton, but to Mrs. Elton as well. One suspects she would insinuate herself into everyones' lives. A man of the cloth must show humility and demonstrate himself to be above petty thoughts or actions. Mr. Elton is far from being such a man. He was decidedly unable to show grace or forgiveness towards Harriet when Mrs. Weston solicited him to dance with the young girl at a ball: "Mrs. Gilbert does not mean to dance, but there is a young lady disengaged whom I should be very glad to see dancing—Miss Smith." "Miss Smith!—oh!—I had not observed.—You are extremely obliging—and if I were not an old married man.—But my dancing days are over, Mrs. Weston. You will excuse me. Any thing else I should be most happy to do, at your command—but my dancing days are over." Mrs. Weston said no more; and Emma could imagine with what surprise and mortification she must be returning to her seat. This was Mr. Elton! the amiable, obliging, gentle Mr. Elton." free polls
I'd Move From His Parish Rather Than Listen to His Sermons
Mr. Collins Mr. Elton


nigel said...

Tough call on this one because I am not so keen on parish Priests.

Mr Tilney and Edward Ferris were cool though and Jane's Father must have been a good teacher, for her to write so well.

I wonder if Jane used Elton and Collins as a general criticism of the church as well as a foil for the hero's in each story?

Can anyone else seperate the two?

Trish said...

Hmm...very hard call. I wouldn't want to sit through sermons from either of them. I voted for Mr. Elton, as I think his behavior is more deliberate/calculated. He is fairly intelligent and knows better. I think a lot of Mr. Collins' behavior is due to ignorance/stupidity.

I find Miss Austen's portrayals of clergymen interesting, in light of her father being one-inside knowledge?

I'm married to a minister of a small church, so I've seen all kinds, lol.

Faith said...

Mr. Elton of course. Mr. Collins is a self-important buffoon, but it would be easy to write him off as such. He wants everyone to know the wonders of his life, but he does not try to insert himself into theirs.

"Mr. E" (& his blushing bride) have a way of pushing their way and their agenda onto everyone they know, and would be very odious to live under.

Hungarican Chick said...

Wow, this is a tough one. A very tough one. They're both equally as irritating and insipid....... Almost. Hm...