347 – I Can Call You Betty

Heather

Mother, knitter, spinner, writer, wife, weaver, host...not necessarily in that order...

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2 Responses

  1. mama_g says:

    I copied my post from ravelry …

    I was holding judgement of Mrs. Hale and Mr. Hale, but I’m done. I am sympathetic to her physical plight, but what a whiner. I’d forgotten how deep under the skin irritating her complaining is.

    Which leads me to this thought–is it a rule that the romantic/victorians writers have such feeble parents? Earlier I’d noted that the Hales need to be largely out of pocket so that Margaret can, like any good fairy tale girl, spread her wings and have her adventure that brings her to adulthood. Elizabeth Bennet has the same experience in P&P. Huh. Maybe I’ve answered my own question.

    In both cases, the mothers are concerned with the self, not necessarily narcissistically, but their interest in their daughters is unfocused. Mrs. Bennet, at least, is obsessed with her daughters’ (and her own) future. She may be obnoxious, but at least she is aware of them. Mrs. Hale, as we see her, is, sigh, horrible. Was it really the fashion to tell a child she was ugly? Over and over? I don’t tell my children they are beautiful, but I don’t compare them (really, I don’t) or natter on about their physical beauty. Margaret just takes it, gracefully. (I mean really–Margaret, Frederick was so beautiful. I saw you and said, oh what an ugly baby!)

    Heather’s expressed her frustration with Mr. Hale and his dimwitted professor approach to life (my term, not putting words in her mouth), and I agree. He skates the surface of his relationship with Margaret, but he seems to acknowledge how heavily he leans on her, whereas Mrs. Hale leans and pushes and doesn’t think about it. Bring Frederick! How about noticing your daughter having some kind of gash on her head where she was knocked with a rock? (Mr. Bennet is also the dimwitted professor, taking more interest in his library than his children and wife. There are so many places in the text where his disdain is thick and painful to read.)

    I really do have to take a deep breath and consider time and social norms with their relationships. I want Margaret to say something though I know she never will. I want her to shake her mother. I want her to point out the big knock on head to her father. But, that isn’t what will happen. Those 19th century girls, challenging the world, but won’t tell their parents to stick it.

    • I can’t argue with any of that and have to say I agree (and am starting to think that 90% of that is just “good ol’ Victorian child-rearing practices”—can I get an Amen that it’s 2014?!).
      That said, if you’re already at your wit’s end about the Hale’s maternal and paternal stances, you’re going to want to wear a hat this week, lest you rip your hair out during 349!