Virtuous and Undervalued Anne Elliot does regret her family’s lack of feeling when she is to marry Captain Wentworth. She had “the consciousness of having no relations to bestow on him which a man of sense could value.” An extended family that is supportive and fun is an attractive part of any partner’s dowry:
“The disproportion in their fortune was nothing; it did not give her a moment’s regret; but to have no family to receive and estimate him properly; nothing of respectability, of harmony, of good-will to offer in return for all the worth and all the prompt welcome which met her in his brothers and sisters, was a source of as lively pain as her mind could be well sensible of, under circumstances of otherwise strong felicity”. Continue reading
How could Charlotte Lucas, best friend to Lizzie Bennet choose such an odious partner? Surely this choice, the choice made by our pragmatic Charlotte for Clawing Mr Collins, has been gasped at through the centuries by countless readers of Pride and Prejudice.
Recall Charlotte says, “I am not romantic, you know. I never was. I only ask for a comfortable home”. Surely Jane Austen is making a comment on the choices that women must make in such an unfair and patriarchal world. Highlighting such limited and odious choices suggests Austen’s feminist credentials.
a typical Jane Austen image, painted by her sister Cassandra, not very flattering!
Jane Austen has at times been accused of snobbery as she makes her clearly imperfect characters say snobby things. Emma is perhaps our best example. Egotistical-Emma likes the position she commands in society and she likes to be in control. When she finds out that her new best friend Harriet has begun a love affair with a local farmer, she is none too happy. Continue reading
On this St Valentine’s Eve let’s ponder on what sort of a partner Austen might recommend. Are we all looking for the perfect partner? And is there a danger in this? It is interesting that in the Austen Six the seemingly perfect partner is often introduced early but inevitably found wanting.
In Emma, Jane seems to be suggesting that the seemingly perfect partner has issues. Once Frank Churchill has been found to have been playing a duplicitous game Emma says:
“It has sunk him, I cannot say how it has sunk him in my opinion. So unlike what a man should be! – None of that upright integrity, that strict adherence to truth and principle, that disdain of trick and littleness, which a man should display in every transaction of his life.”
It is as if Jane Austen is telling us exactly what we want in a partner, or at the very least, should want: Integrity and honour rather than succumbing to the romantic idealism often inside the Hallmark card.
English: Silhouette of Cassandra Austen (1773-1845), sister of Jane Austen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
More successful than Jane’s first love but with a tragic outcome was Jane’s sister Cassandra‘s love affair with Tom Fowle. Tom was a friend of the family having spent time as a pupil in Mr George Austen’s school. In some ways these young adults grew up together. The school was part of the house and George Austen’s pupils joined the Austen family, both the brothers and the sisters in family life.
Cassandra became engaged to Tom in 1792, but there was no money and so rather than a marriage, Continue reading
sally hawkins and rupert penry-jones filming persuasion (Photo credit: Owen Benson Visuals)
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
Random Thoughts of Kindness Barnstar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
As the happy recipient of a random act of kindness yesterday, I’m pondering on such acts in the Austen Six. The winner has to be Decent-and-Dependable-Colonel Brandon, who presents a living (in today’s speak a job) to Honourable-Edward Ferrars. Edward was disinherited by his aspirational mother, Ambitious-Matriarch-Mrs Ferrars, after acting honourably by Lucy Steele.
Colonel Brandon wasn’t friends with Edward; he had just met him a few times and had heard his heartfelt story second hand but wanted to help. In the Austen Six those who act well by their fellow man Continue reading
Today we are bombarded in the news by research findings that tell us how to help our children reach their potential. We can apparently grow our children’s IQ a number of notches by playing Mozart to them in and out of the womb, breastfeeding them and reading to them as babies. We can begin them on Gymberoo and Little Maestros at a very young age and start them using a mouse on the computer before four. Now this is not undesirable, indeed it is to be admired. But does this make them happy?
The simple answer is we don’t know. But beware of geniuses. They are often spoon fed on their own importance and become prima donnas before you can get them into a school uniform. What on earth would Jane have to say about such modern little tykes? Continue reading
Mead & Light (Photo credit: Kyral210)
As I sit here thinking I want to imagine what Jane Austen’s everyday life was like. I imagine her writing in a letter, “I am so pleased the mead is brewed”. What was her day like as a teenager, as a young woman and as an author? How did her life change or did the nature of her daily life largely remain the same? Continue reading
English: Persuasion (last Jane Austen Novel) ch 23 : Captain Wentworth is showing his letter to Anne, “with eyes eyes of glowing entreaty fixed on her” Français : Persuasion (Jane Austen) ch 23. Frederick Wentworth montre à Anne une lettre sur le secrétaire, en la regardant avec insistance. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
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