Originally Posted by Bookpossum
I think you must be a very kind person to find anything sympathetic in Mrs Norris, Billi! I have to say I found her totally unpleasant: bullying and unkind to Fanny, encouraging the vanity of the Bertram girls, and forever justifying anything and everything she did. See for a wonderful example her telling Sir Thomas about all her self-sacrificing behaviour when he protested to her about allowing the play to be rehearsed - it's masterly!
Of course anyone who needs to justify themselves as much as she did actually does have feelings of inferiority, but she's so unpleasant I find it impossible to feel sorry for her. I think she and Maria deserved each other.
I just read past this part and the dance. I find Mrs. Norris to be the most irritating character so far. I have the same impression that she overly compensates for her inferior social rank and thus her bullying of Fanny and her replacement of her sister in certain tasks (like assisting the nieces in their coming out and making good marriage matches) helps to make her feel superior (rather than being a completely unselfish, benevolent act of kindness).
I am enjoying this book. Maybe I should explore more of Jane Austen's books. I certainly like it better than Pride and Prejudice
but less than Persuasion