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

February 12, 2015 04:06PM
Redson Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
>
>Now guess who makes each of these statements.
>
> 1."To yield readily -- easily -- to the persuasion
> of a friend is no merit with you."
>
> 2. "To yield without conviction is no compliment
> to the understanding of either."
>
> Ah, the irony. Elizabeth, who will have reason
> later on in the novel to decry Bingley's being so
> easily persuaded, makes the first statement.
> Darcy, who will manipulate Bingley to do what he
> wants, here says people should decide based on
> conviction and understanding.


I agree with you very much, and I think Austen deliberately uses this controversy and irony. Both the characters (and so, the reader as well) have to learn how none of these statements are of absolute value and the opposite of their standpoints is just as easily acceptable given the right circumstance.


>
> This is one of Austen's delicious dilemmas.
> Bingley is a sweet guy who relied on a friend's
> judgment and unwittingly breaks the heart of the
> sweetest girl in Meryton and thereabouts.
>
> In contrast, Darcy does not suffer from Bingley's
> brand of great natural modesty. Once he has
> decided he is in love with a girl, he leaps
> to the conclusion that she must love him to and is
> patiently hoping for his proposal. Darcy is as
> wrong as Bingley except that he cannot assume a
> higher moral ground. His hubris leads him astray
> rather than any desire to protect the other
> person.
>
> In Darcy's defense, he backs off quickly when he
> realizes his attentions are not wanted. Hey,
> wait--isn't that the same thing Bingley did--back
> off when he was convinced his attentions were not
> wanted? So, in my opinion, Bingley is not weak.
> He is strong enough to think about someone else's
> feelings, and his mistake is that he listened to
> Darcy. But Bingley is also young. I imagine he
> will get more in the habit of taking his own
> counsel rather than substituting the persuasions
> of another. In this sense, he is like Anne
> Elliott. She could be persuaded at nineteen but at
> twenty-seven, she had grown up enough to trust her
> own heart and judgment.

Austen does not actually condemn Bingley for stepping back not wanting to force Jane into a marriage without love, and she (JA) also doesn't condemn him (well, not as much as some of us modern readers) for listening to Darcy (I mean, he retains the good opinion of Darcy and Elizabeth, and he does get the girl which I suppose counts for the author's ultimate approval). And Darcy's offense of persuading/manipulating Bingley is also forgiven. As you mention in contrast Darcy's overconfidence when he proposes assuming that Elizabeth will accept him, this behavior is perhaps more condemned by the author (it results in the angry refusal, and he radically changes his behavior before he is rewarded).

I love your comparison to Anne Elliot!

> Actually, I think that if readers see Bingley as a
> wimp, then maybe Austen is not such a good writer.
> She should have given Jane someone better.

Well, this statement I disagree with, partly because of what I stated below, and partly because of the difference of opinion in what is desirable and undesirable behavior in a gentleman/suitor/lover (and to what extent is it good to listen to others and give way versus standing one's ground) that exist between Jane Austen's era and ours. See how it is obvious for us to call an "easily persuaded" man a "wimp" - to use a derogatory term, that is.

Or, to mention another difference, in our modern mindset it is the right thing to "get things out in the open", to "use a direct approach" - that is, "Bingley, go to the girl and clear out the misunderstandings, see for yourself if she loves you!" To the Regency mindset, however (or how I understand it) it was preferable to avoid a proposal that would be refused. Young women try to give all sorts of indirect signals to discourage a man from proposing and it is awkward and unpleasant if they have to listen to a proposal and refuse it - and the opposite is also true about the gentleman: Bingley rightly feels that there would be pressure on Jane to accept his suit regardless of her own feelings if he asks her outright. I think it is suited to this way of thinking that if someone (one he looks up to) assures Bingley Jane doesn't love him as she ought, he counts this as an indirect signal, one that he failed to understand.
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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