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Sunday, January 11

Jane Austen Character Throwdown: Marriage With the Least Chance for Happiness

Last week Mrs. Palmer won silliest wife hands down. Mrs. Bennet has some heft to her personality after all. Now we turn to the "unhappily ever after." What happens when people marry for convenience, as in the case of Charlotte Lucas. Will she ever find happiness with someone she cannot respect? What happens when one marries improvidently for love, as with Frank Churchill and Jane Fairfax? He must have felt great emotion for her, for penniless as she was, he was willing to marry her, but is his character all it should be? Can Jane ever be happy with a smooth-talking and careless man? You decide when you vote for
Marriage With the Least Chance for Happiness

Mr. & Mrs. Collins, Pride and Prejudice

Charlotte walked into her marriage with her eyes wide open. A plain woman, well into her prime at 27, and with no other prospects, she took the only opportunity open to her and married a buffoon of a man. Her decision affected her very close friendship with Lizzy, who could not understand Charlotte's reasoning. But we can. Living under her parents' roof, she had no other options open to her. When Lizzy visits Charlotte in her new home, she sees that she has made a cozy nook for herself and that she has found ways to be private. In Charlotte's own words: “I am not romantic you know. I never was. I ask only a comfortable home;…I am convinced that my chance of happiness with him is as fair as most people can boast on entering the married state.”

Mr. & Mrs. Frank Churchill, Emma

Yes, Jane Fairfax fell in love, but at the time she met Frank Churchill she had very few choices in life except to make a living, and the only position open to her was that of governess. Well bred, well educated, and talented, she faced a life of service and isolation. One wonders if she fell as much in love with Frank the man as with his ability to save her from poverty and servitude. Frank, though handsome and suave, played loose and free with the truth. He did not show proper fealty to his father and new wife, the former Miss Taylor, after their wedding, and he toyed with Emma's emotions as he hid the secret of his engagement to Jane. In the process he risked hurting Emma's heart in trying to pull the wool over everyone's eyes. Thankfully Emma's affections were not engaged. They parted as friends, but upon reflection Emma realized that between Frank Churchill and Mr. Knightley there was no comparison, and that she "had never been more sensible of Mr. Knightley's high superiority of character." free polls
Jane Austen Character Throwdown: Marriage With the Least Chance for Happiness
Mr. and Mrs. Collins Mr. and Mrs. Frank Churchill


Lynn said...

In the Collins marriage, there is no passion and no love. It is purely a marriage made by the desperation of Charlotte to wed a man of some means, position, social standing, principle and comfort. To sweeten the pot, so to speak, with Mr. Collins' future of becoming Master of a lovely estate ( even if it was entailed on him) was what closed the deal for her.

I suspect Mr. Collins had well spelled out motives as well, mainly because of his constant bragging about all his important connections and preening and pawing and catowing to his betters to secure his position and favor. The fact that Charlotte's father is titled "Sir" and has access to St. James Court, that Charlotte's family are therefore richer, more influential and socially higher on the rungs of society, gives him an advantage as a clergyman: a servant of the Church and yet connected to the max !

As for Frank and Jane, they are a real love match...she suffered while being secretly engaged to him and why ? Passion, deep love and understanding of the real Frank.

He adored and loved her but was pracital enough to know their future happiness hindged on his Aunt and her approval and keeping his fortune intact for their future life together. I've always liked Frank because, like Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy, he loves the woman, her talents, who she is as a person, rather than what she has in the way of fortune to bring to the marriage. I have a feeling Jane rubbed off on him over time to make him a better man and to appreciate what she suffered ( especially snide, stuck up, rude Mrs. Elton !)

Frank would shower her with everything beautiful and fine and would get great pleasure out of spoiling Jane. I also believe he would help her Aunt ( Miss Bates) & grandmother raise to a place in society they formally held when Emma was a child.

Oh, I didn't mean to write so much but once I started, I just couldn't stop ! LOL

giddymomof6 said...

I agree Lynn! Wholeheartedly! That's exactly what i was thinking when i voted!

Genevieve said...

What happens when people marry for convenience, as in the case of Charlotte Lucas? And so on...and so on...

Yes darling, this is the question.

ap said...

At least Charlotte has a consistent husband, even if he is consistently ridiculous. If Frank Churchill could be so unreliable before he married Jane, who knows who he might have become 10 years into their marriage, when the newlywed love and both of their good looks began to wear off. It may be a cynical take on it, but as Charlotte determined in marrying Mr. Collins, early 19th century England wasn't the easiest time to put passion over practicality.

Faith said...

Initial passion only gets you so far. Charlotte Lucas went into her marriage fully aware not to look for happiness in her husband. However, she knows how to choose her own fate & to find joy & comfort in her life regardless of her simple husband.

Frank Churchill is deceitful, unkind & does not "do his duty" as Mr. Knightley points out to us. He & Jane Fairfax may have a blossoming passion, but it will only get them so far. Jane is not of a constitution to deal with Frank's toying personality.

Lynn said...

I believe Jane Fairfax is up to any challenge put before her, including Frank's undutiful ways. He has been self centered his whole life, whereas Jane has had to eek out a life for herself with almost no money.In the 19th century, as now, money lends alot to a happy marriage, when true love is the foundation !

Anonymous said...

I imagine there is much to be said about self-delusion and happiness which is often under-appreciated. Both the Mrs & Mr Collins are -- how to word this -- perfectly capable at making themselves believe they are content. Their unhappiness may be expressed through trivialities: the dinner-ware isn't up-to-par, or the hydrangea isn't pink enough; but, as leaches, I believe they can feed off one another - back and forth, cyclically - ad nauseum.

The Mr & Mrs Frank Churchills are, I think, a little bit more idealistic and imaginative: the two attributes are, together, self-destructive, because eventually they will be able to imagine a more ideal situation. These two are doomed.

- Scho.