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
Tag Archives: Resilience
Mary, Mary Quite Contrary!
In celebration of happiness day!
This week we celebrate International Happiness Day. More learned commentators will be able to guide us on how to achieve happiness but does Austen have something to contribute? Not only does reading her six novels delight but within the subtext there are some lessons on happiness. Pride and Prejudice’s Mr Bennet is a case in point; he knows how to live contently despite a plethora of problems and a nightmare wife! Continue reading
What are the keys to a resilient life?
While youth is naturally more resilient, resilience is not just for the young. When young, time seems to go
forever and chances to make amends or change direction abound. However, once over the hump of middle age, it
might not seem so easy. Jane Austen’s characters reflect this. A small, and one might say inconsequential character, is Mrs Smith in Persuasion. Continue reading
Filed under Resilience
Beware the seemingly perfect person
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
Filed under Romance and Marriage
Is sitting at our desks good for us?
Being outside, walking or strolling and being in the elements lifts our spirits. I remember a book once that started out with the premise that GOD actually was an acronym and stood for the Great Out Doors! It made sense; the great outdoors – sunshine, wind, the sky – can bring about a significant increase in wellbeing. Could it just be possible that the reason some of us struggle to find happiness in the modern age is because many of us work at desks? In our world we have so many other things available to make us feel good when we are down but perhaps the simplest and the easiest is Continue reading
Filed under Living the Simple Life
Fanny Price’s Resilience
Over the previous few decades, developing self esteem has been a guiding principle in child rearing. Only now are we realising that the downside to this ostensibly admirable philosophy is that we are not equipping our children with the tools to cope with adversity. This is where the term resilience, the need to accept life’s difficulties and then to adapt and change, has come into our lexicon. Fortunately many psychologists are now giving us insights into these old philosophies but it is illuminating that Jane Austen knew the value of resilience and her heroines and heroes actively practise its principles. Continue reading
Filed under Resilience
Managing the ordinary
If one could wave an Austenian wand and have a skill for life granted, it would be resilience. As Jane Austen described it in Persuasion, “It was the choicest gift from heaven”. Perhaps more than anything else, resilience is the ability that predicts a happy life. To be able to get back up after a fall, to be able to overcome a failure, to be able to move on after a disappointment – resilience is the value to covet.
Most of Austen’s heroines and heroes are just ordinary everyday people: they don’t think themselves Continue reading