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:
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
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)
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):
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
Caroline Bingley hopes that her brother will forget Jane Bennet and will marry Darcy’s only sister, Georgiana.
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 '
Frederick Wentworth has “more air than one often sees in
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
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
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