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Willoughby turns up to unburden himself to Elinor.

This is another of those chapters where Austen doesn't do all that much in order to rewrite this chapter from an epistolary form to a regular novel - I think it's pretty plain with Willoughby's barely interrupted monologue that this was likely originally a letter sent from Willoughby to Elinor, but recast as a face-to-face conversation. Still, even with recasting it as a one-on-one conversation rather than a reading by Elinor with an occasional thought or reaction, I think the characters' discomfort in participating in such a conversation resonates more with the reader, which at least partially explains the justification for moving away from an epistolary format.

Willoughby: I came because I heard Marianne was dying. The servant assures me she's improving, however. Is it true? Is she improving?

Elinor: Yes, but it is SO NOT YOUR PLACE to be here asking questions.

Willoughby: Oh what a rogue and peasant slave am I!

Elinor: (in a repressive tone) You are no Prince Hamlet, Mr. Willoughby. Cut the crap.

Willoughby: I am a victim I tell you! Mrs. Smith was sooooo mean to me, cutting off my inheritance all because I seduced and knocked up a young woman and then refused to marry her.

Elinor: O_o

Willoughby: And THEN I had to go to town and mary that cow, Miss Grey, for whom I don't care sixpence. Not that she loves me, either. She wanted my land, I wanted her money, bada bing, bada boom. Solved my financial problems. But my heart, my heart, my heart has its love. fn1

Elinor: Good God. Are you quoting Heine? How very . . . anachronistic of you. He didn't start writing poetry until years after this novel was published. I insist that you stop it immediately.

Willoughby: Fine. But I still love Marianne and He Who Shall Not Be Named *coughBrandoncough* is a poopypants and I just know she's going to marry him. Willoughby OUT! *flounces off*

Elinor: O_o

fn1 "But my heart, my heart,/My heart has its love" are lines from "The Sea Has Its Pearls", which I translated for National Poetry Month 2009.


You can watch how they played this scene in the 2008 version for the BBC/PBS between the 11 and 14 minute marks. Be sure to stop at 14 minutes if you don't want to see Colonel Brandon & Mrs Dashwood's arrival, etc., since it's also on this segment:




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Comments

( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
helgatwb
Dec. 2nd, 2010 01:39 pm (UTC)
Okay. This scene just makes me hate Willoughby all the more. I just can't understand why Elinor says that her heart has softened a little toward him. He doesn't care about anyone but himself. And his lack of concern for Eliza just makes me sick. I know that some people, probably impressed by the beautiful men that play him, think he wasn't so bad. If he were a real person, living today in the U.S., he would be in jail. Men who get women pregnant and refuse to take care of them are considered criminals.

I'm sorry about the rant, but I've kinda been wanting to say that for a while.
annemariepace
Dec. 2nd, 2010 05:46 pm (UTC)
If this were in the US today, we'd think Brandon was a dirty old man. What is he? 35? And Marianne is 16. Ew.

:)
kellyrfineman
Dec. 2nd, 2010 07:07 pm (UTC)
I believe Marianne is 17 now, to his 35, but your point still holds. :)
kellyrfineman
Dec. 2nd, 2010 07:07 pm (UTC)
Men who get women pregnant and refuse to take care of them are considered deadbeats, but they very seldom get punished, even here in the U.S. Still, I applaud your point.

The reason Elinor softens toward him a little bit is because she realizes that he actually did love Marianne, and wasn't completely callous toward her. So even while she remains dismayed by his choices, she unbends just a little bit because he hadn't been leading Marianne along the entire time - he'd actually intended on marrying her anyway, until his cousin/aunt disinherited him.
helgatwb
Dec. 4th, 2010 12:24 am (UTC)
Well, I can't get over his treatment of Eliza. Personal issues that I will not go into here are affecting my reading of the book. Past experience informs present and future experiences.

I know what you mean about the lack of punishment, but they still are criminals, and if you can get the authorities to do anything about it, will be imprisoned.
kellyrfineman
Dec. 4th, 2010 01:13 am (UTC)
It's so sad that the "if you can get the authorities to do anything about it" part is so hard. Sad, too, that there are so many men who deserve to have them involved. Grrrr.
melted_rachel
Dec. 2nd, 2010 07:13 pm (UTC)
I love what they did with this scene in the 2008 version - Willoughby was much more hateable than in the book. In the book he was more ridculous than anything else, I thought.
kellyrfineman
Dec. 2nd, 2010 07:17 pm (UTC)
Agreed - his tone pretty much challenged Elinor and conveyed his bitterness and his disdain toward his wife so clearly that it was almost chilling.
(Deleted comment)
kellyrfineman
Dec. 3rd, 2010 02:12 am (UTC)
I can indeed tell. And while I understand Elinor's slight softening - she realizes he truly loved Marianne and was therefore less malicious than she'd thought in encouraging Marianne's affections - I don't understand why she continues to feel sorry for him in the next chapter. Like, at all. (Sorry for the spoiler, but really, it's so close by that I'm not counting it.)
(Deleted comment)
kellyrfineman
Dec. 3rd, 2010 06:11 pm (UTC)
Here's what I got to thinking: Elinor knows how she feels about Edward, and she knows that Marianne truly loved Willoughby, and I think that part of what she's doing is looking at Willoughby as the "there but for the grace of God" version of Edward. Willoughby came into some money (not tons, but some) when he was young, and he had been indulged and allowed to run free. Edward, on the other hand, was tied up by his mother. So she's thinking that if Willoughby had been checked, the way Edward was, he would have turned out okay instead of behaving profligately.
(Deleted comment)
(Deleted comment)
(Anonymous)
Dec. 3rd, 2010 02:48 am (UTC)
I've been reading your posts, though not reading along with the book. I remember the Emma Thompson movie very well, and though I never did buy her as Elinor, it's still her I think of when I read your write-ups. I just had to say that I cracked up at your version of her response as O-o. And "Willoughby OUT! Thanks for that.

-MotherReader
kellyrfineman
Dec. 3rd, 2010 02:57 am (UTC)
Thanks Pam!!
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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