Character Analysis Fanny Dashwood


A most unpleasant woman, Fanny represents the spoiled and selfish woman of wealth of Austen's time. She is egoistic and believes that what is good for her or her child is the best thing for everyone. Deter-mined to get all she can for her son, she cleverly persuades her husband to break his promise and give up any idea of providing for his stepmother and half-sisters. Neither courteous nor kindly, she does not wish to entertain Elinor and Marianne in London and is resentful when they are invited by her friends. When her husband suggests that they should invite the girls to stay with them, she persuades him to invite the Misses Steele instead — and believes that she is acting "out of the benevolence of her heart." Ironically, she discovers during their stay that Lucy is engaged to Edward. This brings on an absurd fit of hysterics.

In London, she is naturally attracted to Lady Middleton, for there is "a kind of cold-heartedness on both sides," and they sympathize with each other "in an insipid propriety of demeanour, and a general want of understanding."

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