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Re: Bingley: Wishy-washy Wimp or Sweet-Tempered Champ

Redson
February 08, 2015 11:36PM
Little Nell Wrote: (in part)
-------------------------------------------------------

>
> JA tells us at the end of the novel that
>
Quote

Jane and Elizabeth, in addition to every
> other source of happiness, were within thirty
> miles of each other.
So Jane did live
> happily ever after..nor something that would be
> possible with a weak or easily led man in my
> opinion.

I agree with Sandy C's observation about fanfic diversity, and I am happy to see characters that divert from Austen's. It can make for some very good scenarios that take different paths from the one that Austen would have.

However, as a reader I also appreciate trying to understand Austen's messages. So, I think Little Nell makes a really good point with her observation. I had not considered that line from Pride and Prejudice when I started this thread. I suppose one could posit a weak Bingley as being possible in a universe in which Jane is happy, but I think not. "Every source of happiness" suggests to me that she is happy in her marriage and her life and has her sister nearby, the latter being the icing on the cake. Austen's Jane and Bingley live happily ever after.

I have read fanfic in which Bingley is a womanizer or he is such a poor provider that Jane ends up poor and struggling. Or, he simply so ineffectual as a husband he puts her on a pedestal instead of treating her as a woman wants to be treated by a husband. Many writers give Jane "someone stronger," like the colonel or some newly created character. This is all fine with me. But, as Nell points out, Austen writes that Jane was happy with Bingley so I doubt Austen would have written any of these other scenarios.

I am not saying it is wrong for a reader to come to a different conclusion than Austen. Just because she liked Bingley--and the evidence is she did--does not mean every reader must like him. It's like Mansfield Park and Fanny Price. Some readers actually believe Austen meant for Fanny to be seen as a mousy, small-minded hypocrite and Mary Crawford, lively and outspoken, is the novel's "real" heroine. I think it's fine for a reader to see the characters this way but it is incorrect that Austen wanted you to see the characters this way.

Similarly, readers can have such a personal, almost visceral reaction to Bingley's allowing himself to be persuaded to leave Jane that they assume Austen does not regard Bingley well. A reader must separate his or her feelings from what Austen is communicating. Just because she is happy with Bingley does not mean you have to be, but you do need to recognize that she is happy with Bingley.

It is true that despicable characters oftentimes fare quite well in Austen. She did not send Wickham to gaol or the poorhouse, as many fanfic writers would do. Austen left Willoughby in a luxurious marriage to a rich woman where he could perhaps pine for Marianne or even sometimes reflect on his cruelty to Eliza Williams, instead of really punishing him as some fanfic writers have done. Lucy Steele's duplicity earned her an income twice as nice as Eleanor's -- but Eleanor was happy and a definitely a better person. Perhaps virtue is meant to be its own reward?

Anyway, I think Austen meant that Bingley was a good man who made Jane happy. But that is not the way he has to be in every fanfic.
SubjectAuthorPosted

Bingley: Wishy-washy Wimp or Sweet-Tempered Champ

RedsonFebruary 04, 2015 12:07AM

Re: Bingley: Wishy-washy Wimp or Sweet-Tempered Champ

Agnes BeatrixFebruary 12, 2015 04:06PM

Re: Bingley: Wishy-washy Wimp or Sweet-Tempered Champ

Jim G.MFebruary 12, 2015 04:52PM

Re: Bingley: Wishy-washy Wimp or Sweet-Tempered Champ

Agnes BeatrixFebruary 12, 2015 06:37PM

Re: Bingley: Wishy-washy Wimp or Sweet-Tempered Champ

Jim G.MFebruary 12, 2015 08:16PM

Re: Bingley: Wishy-washy Wimp or Sweet-Tempered Champ

Agnes BeatrixFebruary 12, 2015 09:51PM

Re: Bingley: Wishy-washy Wimp or Sweet-Tempered Champ

Jim G.MFebruary 12, 2015 10:33PM

Pictures! Pictures! (nfm)

Suzanne OFebruary 17, 2015 03:36AM

Re: Bingley: Wishy-washy Wimp or Sweet-Tempered Champ

BrontesawusFebruary 12, 2015 01:39PM

Alias

Amy I.February 12, 2015 03:30PM

Re: Alias

Jim G.MFebruary 12, 2015 04:32PM

Re: Bingley: Wishy-washy Wimp or Sweet-Tempered Champ

BrontesawusFebruary 12, 2015 03:14PM

I vote wimp

Harvey S.February 11, 2015 08:42PM

Re: but....

Sarah WaldockFebruary 12, 2015 12:57PM

Re: but....

Harvey S.February 14, 2015 04:44PM

Re: luckier than perhaps he deserved.... (nfm)

Sarah WaldockFebruary 16, 2015 01:05AM

Re: Bingley: Wishy-washy Wimp or Sweet-Tempered Champ

MichelleAnne (not signed in)February 04, 2015 10:33PM

Re: Bingley: Wishy-washy Wimp or Sweet-Tempered Champ

RedsonFebruary 06, 2015 12:11AM

Re: Bingley: Wishy-washy Wimp or Sweet-Tempered Champ

Little NellFebruary 08, 2015 10:38AM

Re: Bingley: Wishy-washy Wimp or Sweet-Tempered Champ

Sandy CFebruary 08, 2015 01:13PM

Re: Bingley: Wishy-washy Wimp or Sweet-Tempered Champ

Little NellFebruary 08, 2015 03:47PM

Jane living happily ever after with Bingley

Agnes BeatrixFebruary 10, 2015 02:50PM

Re: Jane living happily ever after with Bingley

Jim G.MFebruary 12, 2015 07:26PM

Re: Jane living happily ever after with Bingley

RedsonFebruary 10, 2015 10:58PM

Re: Jane living happily ever after with Bingley

Agnes BeatrixFebruary 11, 2015 01:45PM

Re: Jane living happily ever after with Bingley

Little NellFebruary 10, 2015 10:42PM

Little Nell, had I seen your post,

RedsonFebruary 11, 2015 01:34AM

Re: Bingley: Wishy-washy Wimp or Sweet-Tempered Champ

RedsonFebruary 08, 2015 11:36PM

Re: Bingley: Wishy-washy Wimp or Sweet-Tempered Champ

Sandy CFebruary 08, 2015 09:34PM

Re: Bingley: Wishy-washy Wimp or Sweet-Tempered Champ

Little NellFebruary 08, 2015 09:56PM

Re: Bingley: Wishy-washy Wimp or Sweet-Tempered Champ

Jean M.February 11, 2015 01:11AM

Re: Bingley: Wishy-washy Wimp or Sweet-Tempered Champ

RedsonFebruary 11, 2015 02:08AM

Re: Bingley: Wishy-washy Wimp or Sweet-Tempered Champ

PeterFebruary 14, 2015 06:53PM

Re: Bingley: Wishy-washy Wimp or Sweet-Tempered Champ

Little NellFebruary 14, 2015 07:11PM

Re: Bingley: Wishy-washy Wimp or Sweet-Tempered Champ

PeterFebruary 04, 2015 06:18PM

Re: Bingley: Wishy-washy Wimp or Sweet-Tempered Champ

Suzanne OFebruary 04, 2015 07:29PM

Re: Bingley: Wishy-washy Wimp or Sweet-Tempered Champ

gloria L.February 04, 2015 10:07PM

Re: Bingley: Wishy-washy Wimp or Sweet-Tempered Champ

RedsonFebruary 05, 2015 11:29AM

Re: Bingley: Wishy-washy Wimp or Sweet-Tempered Champ

Harvey S.February 11, 2015 10:10PM

Re: Bingley: Wishy-washy Wimp or Sweet-Tempered Champ

RedsonFebruary 12, 2015 11:19PM

Re: Bingley: Wishy-washy Wimp or Sweet-Tempered Champ

Harvey S.February 14, 2015 04:39PM

Situation. Re: Bingley: Wishy-washy Wimp or Sweet-Tempered Champ

Jim G.MFebruary 13, 2015 12:43PM

Re: Bingley: Wishy-washy Wimp or Sweet-Tempered Champ

Mari A.February 04, 2015 08:40PM

Re: Bingley: Wishy-washy Wimp or Sweet-Tempered Champ

PeterFebruary 04, 2015 07:51PM

Re: Bingley: Wishy-washy Wimp or Sweet-Tempered Champ

Little NellFebruary 04, 2015 08:32AM

Re: Bingley: Wishy-washy Wimp or Sweet-Tempered Champ

RedsonFebruary 04, 2015 11:46AM



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