By P. Menon
This lucid and tightly-argued examine makes use of the motif of the mentor-lover - embodying different variations of sexual love, strength and judgement - to discover, evaluation and examine the works of Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë and George Eliot as they cope with problems with sexuality, relatives, selfhood, freedom, behavior and gender. The determine additionally offers a way to probe their courting to the reader as they turn into mentor-lovers via authorship, each one eliciting a unique type of love and electing a special form of guideline.
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Extra resources for Austen, Eliot, Charlotte Bronte & The Mentor-Lover
Mr Knightley calls himself a “very old and intimate friend of the family” (9), but, as a consequence of the moral nullity of Emma’s father, he has clearly assumed the paternal role with a parent’s awareness of her childhood faults and triumphs (37). By insisting on the discrepancy in ages – Emma has lived “nearly twenty-one years in the world” while Mr Knightley is “seven or eight-and-thirty”(5, 9) – Austen forces into prominence two problems deriving from potential characteristics of the father.
And I am afraid very natural for you to feel it was done in a disagreeable manner. I do not believe I did you any good. (462) In both cases he justifiably criticizes himself for his manner (although in the first the emphasis is on Emma’s unique ability to have “borne with it”, here on naturalness of her objections) and raises important questions about interference and resistance, but above all, about whether one adult has the duty or the right to criticize another. Clearly, however, the first two issues are not intended to be seriously considered, and in passing over them, the reader is persuaded to pass over the other, the duty to criticize, the lesson of Box Hill in this regard being forgotten.
Like Frank Churchill, Harriet is only superficially appealing to Emma and therefore offers no real threat to her self-sufficiency. As Cicely Palser Havely notes, the most common deduction from Emma’s characterization of herself as an “imaginist” (335) is that she is “‘an aspiring but failed novelist who wishes to rewrite the community around her’” (221), and hers is certainly a nature that draws on the detachment of the novelist who created her: “A mind lively and at ease, can do with seeing nothing, and can see nothing that does not answer” (233, emphasis mine).