Monday, 7 April 2008

More brilliant analysis from Mariana!

Dear friends, I just want to post another analysis from Mariana, another brilliant one of course, about the similarities between Jane Austen’s characters and her plight with Tom Lefroy. Enjoy!

During my research for ‘Pride and Prejudice’ I was struck by the similarities between Jane’s characters in almost all of her books and what we know about her and Tom Lefroy. Here are some samples:


The gentlemen are more or less dependent on their rich relatives (Tom Lefroy’s dependence on his great uncle Langlois):

Frank Churchill is dependent on his aunt and uncle, who will certainly oppose his match with Jane Fairfax. There is the fear that his aunt would disinherit him as a consequence.

John Willoughby is dependent on his aunt, Mrs. Smith. She does not approve of Willoughby’s behavior toward Miss Williams, and when he will not marry her, she disinherits him.

If they are rich then family and friends will interfere trying to stop their marriage (Tom’s family most likely considered this relation as imprudent):

Charles Bingley by his friend Darcy

Anne Elliot by Lady Russell and her father

Edward Ferrars by his mother and sister

Henry Tilney by his father

There are secret engagements (here Joan K. Ray maybe was right with her article– Tom’s engagement to Mary Paul):

Frank Churchill and Jane Fairfax (before meeting Emma)

Edward Ferrars and Lucy Steele (4 years before meeting Elinor; he was 18 -19 years old at that time)

Willoughby leaves Marianne, whom he loves, and becomes engaged to Miss Grey, who has a large fortune

Close and older female friends are advising against or hope for a union (Mrs Anne Lefroy’s relation and role in their love story):

Lady Russell advised Anne Elliot to reject Frederick Wentworth

Mrs. Taylor-Weston hoped that Frank Churchill will marry Emma (but he is already secretly engaged to Jane Fairfax)

Most definitely there is some “ill usage” (Joan’s article will not be that far from the truth at least in Frank Churchill’s case):

Frank Churchill flirts with Emma only to divert attention from his secret love for Jane. He is not heartless and claims he only flirted with her because he thought Emma knew his secret.

Willoughby (Marianne’s first love) falls in love with Marianne, but he does not respect her reputation, giving her large gifts and spending time with her in private. He does not think of the consequences of his actions.

Mr Bingley made everyone to believe that he will get engaged to Jane Bennet but he leaves her without a word and being influenced by his friend he will not return to her in almost 12 months.


Most of the heroines are at the same age or pretty close to Jane’s age when/after she met Tom Lefroy. A major difference is in Marianne Dashwood and Catherine Morland’s age:

Anne Elliot 19

Fanny Price 19

Elinor Dashwood 19

Emma Woodhouse 20 (nearly 21)

Jane Fairfax 20 (same age as Emma who does not like her, though she cannot come up with a reason. Mr. Knightley thinks she is jealous, and Emma later realizes she is. Note that Mary Paul was about the same age as Jane Austen– she died in 1858 at age 84)

Elizabeth Bennet 20 (nearly 21)

Jane Bennet 22 (nearly 23)

Marianne Dashwood 17

Catherine Morland 17


Older sisters do not approve their brother’s choice and have “great expectations”
(Tom’s older sisters probably had the same hopes for him):

Mrs. John (Fanny) Dashwood does not approve of Edward marrying Elinor (or Lucy). It is most important that he marry someone wealthy.

Caroline Bingley hopes that her brother will forget Jane Bennet and will marry Darcy’s only sister, Georgiana.

At least in 2-3 books we have a direct reference to the ‘Irish connections’:

Mr. Dixon is the Irishman who is Miss Fairfax's benefactor. He once saved Miss Fairfax from drowning, and Emma imagines that they are in love. She shares this piece of invented gossip with Frank Churchill, not knowing he was attached to Miss Fairfax. The name 'Dixon' becomes a secret code, one with which Mr. Churchill teases Jane.

Frederick Wentworth has “more air than one often sees in Bath. Irish, I dare say”. Lady Darymple and her daughter are happily claimed as “family connections among the nobility of England and Ireland” in Persuasion.

Emma Watson’s aunt makes an imprudent marriage to an Irish Captain in The Watsons.


Great analysis, Mariana! Might I add re: the ages of the characters that Frank Churchill was about three and twenty when Emma first met him; it was also Cassandra’s age (Cassie was born on 9 January 1773). By then, Tom Lefroy was only a bit younger; he was twenty years old on 8 January 1796. It’s also interesting that the birthdays of Cassie and Tom were back-to-back, this would make it harder for Jane to forget Tom’s birthday, and I bet Tom to forget Cassie’s birthday (and Jane as a consequence).

I will post another finding from Mariana re: Sense & Sensibility calendar in a day or two. Meanwhile, thanks a lot, Mariana!

Pic 1. Marianne and Willoughby (Ang Lee, 1995) from Video Detective

Pic 2. Elinor and Edward Ferrars (BBC, 2008) from The Telegraph UK

Pic 3. Frank Churchill and Jane Fairfax (Emma, 1996) from Boots and Bonnets


7 comments:

Maria said...

Oh well done Mariana! I have also thought of the Irish connexions i many a JA-novel. But I am not a great analyst and stick to fiction! ;)

/tata from Maria in Sweden

Icha said...

It occurred to me just now that there was another secret engagement happening in Jane/Tom story: Tom's brother (Anthony) with Elizabeth Wilkin. Since Anthony's marriage to Ms. Wilkin was disputed by Ben Langlois (to the point of Mr. Langlois pulling off financial support to Anthony), I think Anthony's engagement with Lizzy was also a secret.

Mariana said...

Thank you dearest friends for sharing my obsessions with the rest of ‘Planet Jane’ – as a friend of mine, so beautifully inspired, named our world. I think that I’m doing these analyses for the same reason you are writing the fan-fictions, or creating the fan-videos: can’t let Jane and Tom’s story end…

There are definitely many other similarities that are missing from this list of samples. Just the other day I was thinking of Tom’s ‘inclination’ for religion and some of Jane’s characters: Edmund Bertram, Henry Tilney, and Edward Ferrars, who "always preferred" the church but wasn’t “smart enough” for his family.

Maria said...

Mariana, yes that is very interesting! hehe...

Ah well, my I remember love is soon finished. Only one more chapter to go. Very sad indeed.

Would it be very wrong and blasphemous to tell the story in the 21st century?

/maria

Icha said...

Oooh!!! Dearest! I have a deadline this Thursday, so it will delay my reading your installment, but I will do that asap!

Oh, and YES for a 21st Century Jane and Tom! By all means! Though it will be a biiit hard, since the social context etc are different now; unless you place them appropriately in a 3rd world country with disagreeable economic condition. But I trust your imagination!

Oh, and I saw Dan Stevens' Edward Ferrars last nite in YouTube, man, isn't he HOT! I say, though I still pick Alan Rickman as Col Brandon and Greg Wise as Willoughby anytime, Stevens' Edward is winning my heart slowly but sure. Blasphemy indeed! :-D

Maria said...

It will be an obvious re-write of course, well shall see what I make of it.

Oh YES!!! Stevens is a total hottie! Right up there with James and Firth. Totally.

Melissa said...

Hello!
I'm so excited to see a site of Become Jane fans like this! I saw the movie a few months ago and ADORE it! I've watched it so many times, and truly believe there was a REAL LIFE connection between Jane and Tom - and Marianna's research seems to just confirm my suspicions! :) I'm glad I'm not the only one who's obsessed with this movie :) Please keep up the great work!!