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Thursday, September 30, 2010
Name: Elinor Dashwood
Most detrimental tendency: Emotional repression
Greatest strength: Emotional intelligence
Truest friend: Marianne Dashwood
Worst enemy: Lucy Steele
Prospects: Greatly reduced from what she would have expected had her father lived. She has one thousand pounds (approximately fifty a year), and can expect her share of the seven thousand pounds belonging to her mother upon that good lady's death.
Favorite quotations: "It is not every one," said Elinor, "who has your passion for dead leaves."
"Infirmity!" said Elinor, "do you call Colonel Brandon infirm? I can easily suppose that his age may appear much greater to you than to my mother; but you can hardly deceive yourself as to his having the use of his limbs!"
"You decide on his imperfections so much in the mass," replied Elinor, "and so much on the strength of your own imagination, that the commendation I am able to give of him is comparatively cold and insipid. I can only pronounce him to be a sensible man, well-bred, well-informed, of gentle address, and, I believe, possessing an amiable heart."
"I confess," replied Elinor, "that while I am at Barton Park, I never think of tame and quiet children with any abhorrence."
"But perhaps the abuse of such people as yourself and Marianne will make amends for the regard of Lady Middleton and her mother. If their praise is censure, your censure may be praise, for they are not more undiscerning, than you are prejudiced and unjust."
"Do you call me happy, Marianne? Ah! if you knew!--And can you believe me to be so, while I see you so wretched!
"Tintern Abbey", and I unconsciously just echoed some of his language: "That time is past,/And all its aching joys are now no more,/And all its dizzy raptures."
So while Elinor has grown beyond the time of "aching joys", Marianne, who in proper teenage fashion contributes the drama to our tale, is right in the middle of them. The result is that Elinor is presented as almost inconceivably perfect: a clear predecessor to Anne Elliot. She never makes a social misstep, privately or publicly, absorbing the kind of abuse that would drive Elizabeth Bennet to deliver an indignant set down with graceful indifference. Who does not wish to be so reasonable? So much in command of one's self at all times? It is impossible, but we are certainly better for trying.