"And to this purpose"

"If people like to read their books, it is all very well, but to be at so much trouble in filling great volumes, which, as I used to think, nobody would willingly ever look into, to be labouring only for the torment of little boys and girls, always struck me as a hard fate; and though I know it is all very right and necessary, I have often wondered at the person's courage that could sit down on purpose to do it." (In other words: rambling analyses, opinions, ideas, views, and comments from an English major, Essay/paper-writing enthusiastic, Austen-loving Master Librarian on, well, Jane Austen...and a whole lot of other things, too.)

"Celebrated Passages are Quoted"

Heidi's favorite quotes

"What is it really like to be engaged?" asked Anne curiously. "Well, that all depends on who you're engaged to," answered Diana, with that maddening air of superior wisdom always assumed by those who are engaged over those who are not."— L.M. Montgomery

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Favorite Austen Villain

5 Votes. Actually 11. I'm starting to think it means 5 voters. Here are the results:
Mr. John Willoughby 3 (60%)
Mr. George Wickham 1 (20%)
Rev. William Collins 4 (80%)
Mr. Frank Churchill 0 (0%)
Rev. Mr. Philip Elton 0 (0%)
Mr. Henry Crawford 1 (20%)
Mr. Tom Bertram 1 (20%)
Mr. John Thorpe 1 (20%)
Capt. Frederick Tilney 0 (0%)
General Tilney 0 (0%)
Mr. William Walter Elliot 0 (0%)
My thoughts:
Rev. Mr. Philip Elton - I can't love to hate him or hate to love him. Could you really blame him for liking Emma over Harriet. nothing against Harriet, of course! But just as he says, "Who can think of Miss Smith when Miss Woodhouse is near?" And for any silliness or rudeness he has in the rest of the story, I think it can be forgiven him as he gets his just rewards in the wife he chooses for himself.
Mr. Frank Churchill - He's more of an obstacle in the way of Emma and Mr. Knightley. While he can be a bit of self-centered brat, he's still lovable in his own way and he finds happiness in marriage as does the wife he chooses. So all's well there and I cannot dislike him for it. Just makes the plot more interesting--plus urges Mr. Knightley on to doing something about his feelings!
General Tilney - Creepy, domineering father. But it just makes dear Henry's actions that much more wonderful when he opts for the "filial disobedience."
Capt. Frederick Tilney - Well, he doesn't mess with out main heroes or heroines. Just the one silly female who needs to learn a lesson that is constantly trying to be taught to her. I know it's mean to say "You get what you deserve," but seriously...
Mr. William Walter Elliot - He's a slimily suave gentleman (in word only) whose attempts to get in the hero and heroine's way could have worked, except that Anne and Capt. Wentworth are too amazing to let that foil them! Well, all right, Anne had to really step it up to smack some sense into the jealous Wentworth. But it all worked out in the end! (And I love those scenes.) Every greedy step Mr. Elliot tries to make only succeeds in making our heroine that much more awesome.
Mr. John Thorpe - What a frustrating man! He is such a nuisance. He's full of himself. And a braggart to boot--not just of himself! Though some of his annoying and selfish antics in Bath could have prevented further acquaintance between Catherine and the Tilneys, Catherine's uneven balance between propriety, duty, responsibility, and honor helps her squash the little bug for worthier realms. And, of course, if not for his brown-nosed bragging, Catherine likely would never have been invited to Northanger Abbey, without which visit I doubt she would have grown in the way she needed and Henry would not have come to love her.
Mr. Tom Bertram - He's just a rebelling oldest child idiot. I can't like or hate. He just makes the story more interesting.
Mr. Henry Crawford - Oh, him. I can dislike him very strongly. Another arrogant one who just wants to see his power in conquering the ladies. I had wanted to believe that he still fell for Fanny, no matter how unworthy he would always be of her. But (this is why I HATE the 90s movie) Fanny was always wise. She knew her heart, and she knew how untrue his would be (judging from all the observing she'd done of him and the Bertram sisters). She never gave in to him. NEVER! His "you could make a good man of me" is nothing like Eugene Wrayburn's acknowledgement to Lizzie (in Our Mutual Friend), because Eugene was just lazy and lacked conviction. Eugene was not trying to lure people down evil paths with his conceit and lust. Mr. Crawford? Ug. I can find little good in the man. His visit to Fanny's family home might have had me swayed, but then he failed his truest test of faithfulness. If he'd not sulked in his rejection and turned to the arms of another (and married!!!) woman, maybe he'd have stood the slightest chance with Fanny. But I doubt it. Simple girl had simple desires for a simple man. She'd found him and had month-to-month been forced to watch him pass her over for the obvious beauty. Her loyalty proved true. Mr. Crawford never fully tried.
(Rev) Mr. William Collins - I love to dislike this oily, self-righteous, bumbling idiot. Why? Because I know too many in life who have similarities to him. And it's nice to have Austen create such a character so all of us females who've ever had to endure the Mr. Collins advances can shout "Hurrah!" when Lizzie turns him down--repeatedly--in one of literature's funniest marriage proposals ever. Plus, how many villains can make you laugh? Particularly from relief that he is not your suitor (or hoped for one, anyhow, 'cause we can't help the persistant ones that just never have a clue or take the hint).
Mr. George Wickham vs. Mr. John Willoughby - It's sometimes hard to describe why I hate Wickham less than Willoughby. I guess because part of him was just always charming while still being a gentleman who followed propriety in open, good society. It was only after his more recent misdeed that all of his ill-conduct became more universally known. Willoughby, however, was more on the improper side in his pursuit of Marianne. Just a little too forward, while Wickham was much more guarded. I'm not really a fan of the overly forward, so chalk one up for me hating Willoughby more.
I do not know the full past of Wickham except what Darcy reveals in his letter. His "running around" was probably pretty bad, but I don't get any full details of anything exact. What I mean is, yes he tried to elope with Georgiana. But how far and how much happened in that elopement before the intended marriage was stopped? I mean, Georgiana was pretty respectable and smart. She may have been "persuaded to believe herself in love," but going further than that? Surely not. I hope not. I have always thought highly of Georgiana. Either way, we have no physical evidence.
Willoughby? There's a pregnant Eliza that is evidence enough. And not just that--but he had no intentions of marrying her. He left her alone to fend for herself and quite soon after was pursuing another woman. Wickam would have married Georgiana. Out of revenge and for her fortune, yes. But still intended to marry her. Yes, of course, later with Lydia it was all for lustful purposes and no intention to marry. (Unless...*gasp!* Here's a twist I'd never thought of before--what if Wickham had suspected Darcy's feelings for Elizabeth and vice versa and was trying to see if Darcy would come to help save the Bennet family reputation. Perhaps too much thinking on his part, but you never know....) Whatever the history, I go by what was related. And there Willoughby is on the brink of becoming a father, having completely abandoned the mother before even meeting Marianne and choosing to pursue her.
I'm sure there's much more I could say. But I've said enough on thie entry already. Maybe I'll share more later.


Brittany Marie said...

I think my favorite Austen villains are Wickham & Willoughby. At times they can be soooo likeable and yet sooo bad. LOL

~Mary said...

I LOVE your comments on all the villains! I do like General Tilney...he's creepy!

Meredith said...

I still hate willoughby most. He tries so hard to justify his actions and see himself as the victim. Wickham never does that (at least I don't remember it, if he does). You're not the victim, Willoughby, you swine!

Excellent comments about all the villains.