Frances Burney vs. Samuel Johnson
Evelina, written by Frances Burney, is a story told in a series of letters between a beautiful and innocent young girl and her overprotective guardian, Reverend Villars. Through the course of the letters it is often seen that there is a connection between Burney's storyline and the guidelines set forth in Samuel Johnson Rambler #4. The connection found between the two works is the similar views between Johnson and Villars, and Johnson's theme of overlooking the bad qualities in a person's character. Burney does not always follow Johnson's guidelines, she does divert away from them through Evelina's judgmental character.
Reverend Villars, Evelina's guardian, is a man of countless morals and virtues. He lives in this world where he believes everything outside of it is evil. He is afraid to let Evelina experience the real world on her own, because he fears that she will be faced with great danger and disappointment: "defend you from danger, save you from distress, and keep vice as distant from your heart!" (19). As seen Villars is extremely protective of Evelina. He wants nothing but the best for Evelina, which is what all guardians want for their children.
Villars character is an image of Samuel Johnson; they share similar views and beliefs on the world. In Johnson's Rambler #4, he makes this statement that men are "cunning" that they have this manipulative side about them which gives them the ability to take advantage and take over the innocence of young women: "The purpose of these writings is surely not only to shew mankind, but to provide that they may be seen hereafter with less hazard; to teach the means of avoiding the snares which are laid by Treachery for Innocence, [
]" (23-24). Through this guideline Johnson is setting forth a statement to warn people to protect themselves of others, because there are people in the world that will take advantage of a persons innocence and cause them nothing but pain....
Cited: Burney, Frances. Evelina. Ed. Stewart J. Cooke. New York: Norton and Company, 1998.
Electronic Text Center. 2005.University of Virginia, Library. 12 March 2006
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