violently pinching

Category: Education | Type: Discussion | Title: Sense and Sensibility (in Context) | Author: Jane Austen | Ch: Chapter 21

A fine comic scene with some grave ramifications. The two sisters, instantly discerning Lady Middleton to be a doting, indulgent mother, use this to ingratiate themselves with the wealthy family. For Austen, who emphasizes early environment, ill-mannered children are apt to become morally questionable adults. 

Austen appears to have loved children—she had many nieces and nephews—and was loved by them (more than was her sister, Cassandra) and views the raising of children as a nearly sacred responsibility, for "the Child is father of the Man." Her own parents, especially her father, seem to have been exceptional without being fussy, like the parents of the heroine of Northanger Abbey's or the in-laws of Persuasion's heroine.

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