Reading The Age this morning there is another article, Not all women want to be mothers and society is finally accepting it. It makes me appreciate the works of Jane Austen and remember some of my favourite characters who, although considered minor, are great role models. One of my all-time favourites would have to be Mrs Crofts. It is in Austen’s last completed novel Persuasion that she paints the Admiral and Mrs Crofts in such glowing terms. Mrs Crofts lived a wonderfully romantic and adventurous life. She has shared the Admiral’s life on “5 altogether” ships. She rejects the notion, very prevalent at the time, that women “would be too soft to be on a ship”… “We none of us expect to be in smooth waters all our days”. Theirs appears to be a very modern marriage based on equality and respect and this appears to have brought happiness. They do not have children and Austen makes no negative innuendo about such a circumstance.
Tag Archives: Persuasion
A very minor character, Discontented-Wife Mary, in Persuasion, highlights Austen’s craft. Discontented-Wife Mary is an often disappointed and unhappy character. Recall she is a member of the self important Elliot clan who think they are above others. The 18th century was a hierarchy based on land and the Elliots were at the top of the status stakes. In this society even the order of entering a room was based on the social hierarchy. As the daughter of a Baronet, Discontented-Wife Mary, could pull rank over her in-laws, and constantly did. Continue reading
Why is it that when we really like someone we can hardly speak, let alone tell the target of our fantasies of our feelings? Yet this can be crucial. It is humbling to put yourself out there and it is one big risk. But courage is necessary and the results can be revolutionary. Continue reading
Jane Austen warns us to suspect the perfect person. Mr Elliot, from Persuasion, the heir to Kellynch estate is such a perfect person. He says and does all that is expected of him. He doesn’t let himself behave like an embarrassing git. In society, he conducts himself in an exemplary manner, tuned in to all the wishes of all around him and he plays court to those he wishes to infiltrate very successfully. Continue reading
Captain Benwick, from Persuasion, is an interesting character. Austen celebrates him as being different – brave but sensitive. One of the best descriptions of any character comes from General Crofts – “too piano”. His fiancé died while he was at sea. Deeply melancholy, he consumes poetry to nurture his grief. But as Virtuous and Undervalued Anne seems to understand, a steady diet of poetry is fuelling his melancholy feelings, rather than alleviating them. She recommends reading a variety of material to aide in the “struggling against affliction”. (Austen is always in favour of moderation as a tool of mental health.)
Unknown to Benwich, Anne realises that she is able to give such advice as she is in need of it herself! She had been pining for her own lost love for eight years: she “had been eloquent on a point in which her own conduct would ill bear examination”. Continue reading