The Enigmatic Miss Darcy — 31 Comments

  1. I think you exaggerate when you state that Darcy dislikes Wickham because of the incident involving Georgiana. Darcy has other reasons to dislike Wickham which date back to his childhood and days at university. Such feelings are discussed in canon.

    • Perhaps it is an oversimplification, Jerry, but I think there can be little doubt that Wickham’s dealings with Georgiana have to be the single biggest reason Darcy despises him. Thank you for your comment.

  2. I agree, Shannon, that Georgiana is very much there for the plot — she is there to lend credibility to Wickham’s villainy. The fact that Wickham managed to seduce such a sweet, shy girl adds fuel to the fire and confirms to Elizabeth that Darcy’s claims in the letter were true.

    I remember being shocked when I read that she doesn’t say a single word in the novel. JA is so brilliant at sketching her character that we never notice. It’s ironic that JA, who claims that “pictures of perfection make me sick and wicked” ends up creating just that.

    Having Georgiana be the central character (as I did in The Darcy Cousins) is quite challenging, I found. I agree that it’s hard to work out what’s behind that “picture of perfection” JA created.

    • Insightful comments, Monica. You obviously have given the matter much thought for your own writing.

      I was also shocked to realize that Georgiana doesn’t have a single line of dialogue in the book. But (JA’s brilliant character sketch aside) I think the reason we think she does speak is that we have seen her do so over and over in the film adaptations! Haha!

  3. Looking forward to your next preview and your finished book! But I do not totally agree with your statement that Georgiana was only to give Darcy more fuel to dislike Wickham; I believe that she is also there to show that Darcy can be caring and gentle and kind to others, as shown with his behavior to his sister, which Elizabeth needed to see. Just my 2 cents. Thank you for the thought-provoking discussion and for your work.

    • Excellent point, Evelyn! And you’re right. Hearing how good and kind he is from the housekeeper is one thing; seeing it in action in regards to his sister would make a much bigger impact on Elizabeth.

    • I agree. Elizabeth needed to hear about and witness his loyalty and care towards someone he loved. It also was a heavy burden to parent a young girl when he had only reached adulthood when his father died. Taking on the care of the estates (London and Pemberley), with managing finances, supervising tenants and servants, etc. Do we wonder why Darcy was a somber and quiet man? He had no one close to talk to about all his burdens and he was the one responsible for all the decisions. Even Col. Fitzwilliam was not always at hand to fulfill his role as guardian with Darcy over Georgiana. So that gives Elizabeth a view of Darcy not otherwise provided. And he blamed himself for not checking Mrs. Younge background more thoroughly.

  4. I do believe Georgiana adds credence for Darcy’s animosity of Wickham (he has other reasons as well), but I also believe, as Evelyn said, this shows his loyalty and caring to and for those he loves. As you stated, still waters run deep, so we are given just Georgiana’s façade by Jane Austen. We don’t get to know her as a person; What is going on under the shy exterior? We all have a façade in public, but what are each of us truly like? We all hide parts of ourselves from the world and have imperfections, Darcy does.. How could Georgiana be any different? Thank you for sharing such a thought provoking post this morning.

    • You’re very welcome, Deborah. You’re quite right; none of us show our whole selves to the world. Thank you for your contribution to the discussion.

  5. I think another reason might be showing how Darcy could be sweet and brotherly towards Georgiana, thus making Elizabeth falling in love with him even more…

    • Absolutely true! We all love a strong man who also has a tender side where his family is concerned. Thank you for adding your thoughts!

  6. Yes, I agree that while Georgiana is present in the story to show why Darcy despises Wickham so thoroughly yet keeps the truth regarding his former friend to himself while in Hertfordshire rather than warning the populace, the presence of Georgiana also demonstrates the tender, loving, doting side of Darcy to Elizabeth. His obvious love and care of his sister, first demonstrated in the letter and then face-to-face in Derbyshire, shows Elizabeth the real Fitzwilliam Darcy.

    If such a seemingly proud man can so cherish a younger sister (to whom he has been a father figure more than merely an elder brother), then Darcy is capable of a deep and abiding romantic love as well. The private man, devoted to his sister, will be well-worth getting to know as opposed to his proud and disdainful public persona. His love for Georgiana knocks down the wall of pride and arrogance behind which Darcy hides his true self, revealing a man whom Elizabeth can (and does) indeed love for a lifetime.

    I really enjoyed your thoughts, Shannon, and everyone else’s as well. I can’t wait until your book is released. 🙂

    Susanne 🙂

  7. That was enlightening to read that Georgiana doesn’t have any lines in the book! You are right that the film adaptions give her a voice and JA did a character sketch of her that formed her in my mind. Double the kudos to you (and Monica) for making her the focus of your book with very little to go on. The “opportunity” for a custom sketch that will evolve her character vs. change it is a fun challenge. Looking forward to reading the book once it is released!

    • I’m glad to hear it, Lauren!
      Yes, it was a fun, new challenge, as I find each book I write to be: “The Darcys of Pemberley” because it was my first, “For Myself Alone” because I was starting from scratch this time (all new characters instead of borrowing JA’s), “Return to Longbourn” in trying to redeem an unlikable character like Mary Bennet, and “The Persuasion of Miss Jane Austen” in weaving the fictional story of “Persuasion” together with the life of a person who existed in real life (Jane Austen). That’s what keeps writing interesting!

  8. BTW: The rationale: the reasoning or principle that underlies or explains something, or a statement setting out this reasoning or principle

  9. Fascinating post, Shannon, and the subequent discussion has been equally interesting. It’s only a couple of years ago that I realised that Georgiana has no dialogue in the original. Yet somehow we find her a far more interesting character than Anne de Bourgh who also has no dialogue. Both are, in the end, plot devices devised by Jane Austen to throw light on the characters and characteristics of some of the major protagonists.

    We grow to love Darcy, as Elizabeth does, partly because of his caring attitude towards his sister and his concern for her narrow escape from Wickham. We develop antipathy for Lady C. as she demonstrates her domineering attitude over her daughter and others. It’s no wonder Anne never utters a word in company with such a mother. The good Colonel is never given a chance to show what a good guardian he is as he’s yet another plot device; there just to let slip to Elizabeth about Darcy’s influence over Bingley. Also, given the state of war between England and France, he may not have been at home much in recent years, though Jane Austen is remarkably silent on that particular subject in her novels.

    • Very true, Anji. It wouldn’t be enough for JA just to TELL us that Darcy is really a good guy. We need to discover it for ourselves, right along with Elizabeth, by what she, bit by bit, SHOWS us through his actions.

      Yes, Georgiana is more interesting than the equally silent Anne de Bourgh. But I did take pity on Anne and give her a voice too, both in this book and “The Darcys of Pemberley”. She uses that voice to proclaim her emancipation from her mother, loud and clear! Colonel Fitzwilliam also gets a more meaningful role. What fun!

  10. Like everyone else, I’m looking forward to your book! It’s great to give Georgiana a back story (or any kind of story at all!), as I’m a little sad to think of her just as a plot device! 🙁 It is definitely interesting to wonder how Georgiana got into that situation with Wickham, and like any parent in a similar situation, Darcy is probably wondering where he went wrong. I hope that at heart, she was a sensible girl who just got a little rebellious and in over her head, as teenagers tend to do.

    I think Georgiana’s relationship with her brother also reveals to Darcy how vulnerable he is; he otherwise can ignore Wickham’s imposition on his money and his pride, but when Georgiana is threatened, it must be the most unsettling thing for him, when he’s probably felt that he had everything under control before.

  11. Cheer up, Kathy! Georgiana is no longer “just a plot device.” Haha! She has a full story now – back story all the way through to courtship and a happy ending. In fact, she has three men vying for her hand at one point.

    It was fun to delve into her past to see what made her the girl we meet in P&P, and then to take her through those days to find out what becomes of her afterward. I hope you’ll enjoy the story too!

  12. Great thought-exercise, Shannon! And I’ve enjoyed the excerpts–can’t wait to read the whole thing!

    I feel like Georgiana is mostly uncomfortable in company and naive–much like her brother. Darcy is sheltered and naive in a very different way (e.g., he can’t imagine how someone of the Gardiner’s stature could be so genteel; can’t imagine a woman turning him down), and thus I imagine Georgiana was even more so—because she didn’t even have the “advantage” of a proper schooling. And Pemberley being so far away from London (or any other “metropolis”), she didn’t have much opportunity for social mixing. All she knew of love was from novels, and why wouldn’t she imagine those early stirrings of puberty to be love? She had no mother or sister to tell her otherwise…and I imagine Lady Catherine was no help!

  13. Can’t wait for the new book! Such great insights by you, Shannon, and the other commenters. Georgiana also played a role in helping Caroline show how “dear” she is to the Darcys and convincing Jane that Bingley isn’t going to marry her by insinuating that Bingley will marry Georgie. Alas, still being used as a plot device. . Good for you for saving her!

  14. Pingback: Jane Austen Variations » Blog Archive » Young Darcy Inherits Heavy Mantle of Responsibility: excerpt from a WIP

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