Why exactly do you think Jane Austen didn't write proposal scenes in Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey, and Sense and Sensibility?
I can't really comment on Mansfield Park right now since I am very slowing (but surely!) reading through it (though I know a little about what happens at the end), but I can still comment on Northanger Abbey and Sense and Sensibility. This question brings to mind the following quote from Sense and Sensibility:
|Proposal Scene from Sense and Sensibility (2008)|
|Proposal Scene from Northanger Abbey (2007): not|
necessarily the way I pictured the proposal
in Northanger Abbey.
Compare that idea with Emma or Pride and Prejudice or even Persuasion.
|Pride and Prejudice (1995)|
|Persuasion Letter Scenes; image used in Persuasion Comparison guest post that I contributed to|
In each case in Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and Persuasion, there is doubt in the mind of the heroine that the hero will not propose to her. And in each of the proposal scenes, the scene does not start out as a proposal scene, but rather a regular scene. In Emma, Mr. Knightley means to console Emma about Frank Churchill. In Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth thanks Mr. Darcy for fixing Lydia's scandal. And in Persuasion, Anne and Captain Wentworth were visiting the Musgroves. The proposal dialogue is in there not only to remove the doubt of the readers and the heroines, but to ease the scene into a proposal scene. It wouldn't make sense if Jane Austen said, "On a walk, Elizabeth thanked Mr. Darcy and Mr. Darcy renewed his declaration from a couple of months ago and they got engaged!" The reader would be left confused: "What? How did this happen? Weren't they just walking around? Wasn't Elizabeth just thanking him? How did a proposal come up?" So, by adding proposal dialogue into a scene, a scene can ease into a proposal scene instead of shocking the readers into a proposal that they didn't think was coming.
Now, on another idea, a special case for why Jane Austen didn't write a proposal scene for Sense and Sensibility could stem from the fact that Sense and Sensibility is a satire of the sentimental novel. You know the kind I'm talking about. Where a proposal could last pages and pages and be filled with flowery, overly mushy language to make anyone uncomfortable. So Jane Austen not having a proposal scene with dialogue could be her way of poking fun at the overly dramatic, romantic proposal scenes in other novels. Instead of a flowery proposal, Jane Austen gives a description of the outcome and keeps it short, sweet, and to the point: the actual details of the proposal aren't discussed.
So, that is my opinion on why Jane Austen left out proposal scenes out of some of her novels. What do you think? Do you agree with me? Do you think there was another reason why Jane Austen left out proposal scenes in some of her books? Leave a comment! I'm very interested in what you all think!
Thank you, Melody, for sending in this question! If you have a question you would like to submit for me to do a post on, leave a comment. Just follow these guidelines. It can be about anything related to this blog: period dramas, blogging, reviews, etc.