Evelina..trying to find her place in the world…

Well, it has taken a while but I have finally finished “Evelina”. This is my second time reading this novel I started reading it as an undergrad but never finished it. I proud to say this time I finished it and actually enjoyed most of it and finally understood the subtle humor and satire employed by Frances Burney. This was the first novel she wrote prior to “The Witlings”, and it is her claim to fame. Also this novel makes you feel better about your own crazy family. She has relatives the Braghtons who will make a big deal out of going somewhere and then complain the whole time while there. Their is also her grandma Madame Duval whose main goal is make Evelina cultured and turn her into a suitable person fit for London society. Evelina gets snagged into spending time with these people over the question of her last name and origin. Her mom died while giving birth to her as a child and her father ditched her prior to her birth so she never knew her family history, which is not helpful if one wants to find a good match in London society. She has been taken care of by her guardian Mr. Villars for the past seventeen years up to the point that the letters in the novel begin. This novel brings to question how important where one comes from in the past, and where one is going in the future.
She is seen as a bastard child and has to maneuver constant interruptions and social faux paux in London because she is a country girl that grew up in Berry Hill. Actually all the interruptions of moments and satirical parts remind me of Witlings and the dialogue through out makes it seem like an act in a play one witnesses in the theater. I think Evelina experiences what we all do when being placed in a new environment, we have to determine the unwritten rules and social mores and how to act in certain situations. The best examples would be the first day of high school or college. Evelina unfortunately faces many problems in this regard as men are constantly hitting on her or trying to go with her in dark corners, even if she has no interest in them in the first place. The only man who is willing to respect her and her space is Lord Orville, and he does not seem to care if she has a country or city upbringing.
However she also over the novel evolves and is more able to act for herself with out advice of her guardian Mr. Villars to determine which actions are right for her depending on the situation. Also, he is one of the few people who seems to understand the situation that she has been put in within London and with her family. It seems that those that don’t understand her would rather than hit on her or just be a nuisance to those around them. Captain Miravan is constantly pulling pranks on others, Clement Willoboughy will act one way while talking behind one’s back, and Mr. Smith just reminds me of the English version of casanova. While, the Braghton’s just seem to not be cultured and are oblivious to any negative behavior due to being of a different class. However, I through out this novel has sort of known how Evelina has been feeling as I look for a job and try to figure out the next couple months, it has come to a point in my life, where if I plan to far in the future I feel like I will have a panic attack. Also I can relate to the constant interruptions, one of my relatives is planing to visit in a couple weeks and am not looking forward to it. I think this person is doing it to make up for a bad trip last Christmas. But I don’t know how this will ratify the situation. Also, I honestly don’t want this person to see our house and lives in chaos even if they may be used to chaos. I just wish they could wait tell next summer, when our lives are more calmer. I know this has some relevance to Evelina but it has been bugging me for the past week. Also I will do a part two for Evelina since this has turned out to be mostly summary, so more analysis to come in the next post.

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