Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I have a new role model: What would Eleanor Dashwood do?

I found the "Sense and Sensibility" miniseries utterly enchanting, mostly due to the wonderful acting of Hattie Morahan as Eleanor (or is it Elinor?) Dashwood, the elder sister of a family recently fallen into poverty.

Her younger sister Marianne acts on her feelings immediately upon feeling them, and cries if she feels like crying, but Eleanor holds her cards very close to her chest and refrains from saying things that might be harmful. Below, she is discovering that the young man with whom she has fallen in love, and whom she believes to return her affections, is in fact secretly engaged to another woman:

Notice the lack of screaming. She goes on to not scream or complain for the rest of the show, though her heart is breaking. In the last few frames all is made right (ah, so often not the case in real life).

Is it too late for me to learn to keep my mouth shut? Eleanor is the Queen of Sucking It Up. I'd like to be like that.

The opposite of Eleanor, or perhaps the old crone one becomes if one doesn't hold with holding back, is Mrs. Gummidge, in David Copperfield by Charles Dickens. I don't want to end up like Mrs. Gummidge.

I soon found out that Mrs. Gummidge did not always make herself so agreeable as she might have been expected to do... Mrs. Gummidge’s was rather a fretful disposition, and she whimpered more sometimes than was comfortable for other parties in so small an establishment.

Mrs. Gummidge had been in a low state all day, and had burst into tears in the forenoon, when the fire smoked. "I am a lone lorn creetur," were Mrs. Gummidge’s words, when that unpleasant occurrence took place, "and everythink goes contrairy with me."

"Oh, it'll soon leave off," said Peggotty—I again mean our Peggotty—"and besides, you know, it's not more disagreeable to you than to us."

"I feel it more," said Mrs. Gummidge.

It was a very cold day, with cutting blasts of wind. Mrs. Gummidge’s peculiar corner of the fireside seemed to me to be the warmest and snuggest in the place, as her chair was certainly the easiest, but it didn’t suit her that day at all. She was constantly complaining of the cold ... at last shed tears on that subject, and said again that she was "a lone lorn creetur' and everythink went contrairy with her."

"It is certainly very cold," said Peggotty. "Everybody must feel it so."

"I feel it more than other people," said Mrs. Gummidge.

So at dinner; the fish were small and bony, and the potatoes were a little burnt. We all acknowledged that we felt this something of a disappointment; but Mrs. Gummidge said she felt it more than we did, and shed tears again, and made that former declaration with great bitterness.


At 2:21 PM, Anonymous susanlynn said...

Ha ! Thanks for the giggle. Like your heroine, I have become The Queen of Sucking It Up in the last few years. It makes life easier and quieter. It's never too late.


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