Saturday, February 03, 2007

Bennett, Dashwood, or Woodhouse?

I realize I am probably getting in way over my head on this one, but keeping in mind that I have only read these books once or twice (tops), I thought it would be fun to discuss which Jane Austen heroine you resonate with most. I mean, it has always been Elizabeth Bennett for me, but maybe that is what makes her so ingenious, we can all see ourselves in her! Or maybe it is just people like me. I was thinking earlier how my little sister is so much like Jane, so loving and good and perfect (which is why the book isn't about Jane; she isn't flawed, so she's a little boring for a heroine!), but I wonder if she would identify more with Elizabeth too. If you throw the Dashwoods in the mix, I definitely relate more to Marianne than Elinor. And then there's Emma Woodhouse. Wikipedia says that Jane Austen said she would take a heroine who no one but herself would much like. But I like Emma, maybe because I knew her as Gwyneth Paltrow and Alicia Silverstone before I read the book! And that is a little bit of trouble for me, I have seen these movies a dozen times and read them just once or twice. I have not even read Mansfield Park, Persuasion, or Northanger Abbey. I read Emma aloud to Amabel when she was nursing, and I am reading Pride and Prejudice (again) to Elspeth now. I guess I will need to have three more daughters if I want to finish the complete works! Anyway, this may be silly to some of y'all, but I was being crushed under the weight of my own introspection, and had become more than a little self-absorbed (so much so that I forgot the thirtieth birthday of a very dear friend! I am sorry, dear friend!). I'm not really sure how this is not introspective except that it brings Jane Austen to the table and I think she's a little bigger than me. I mean, yes, I'm a great writer, but only time will tell if I surpass one of the great novelists of all time! (Do I even need to say that I'm kidding there?) Or if there's a non-Austen heroine you resonate with more, feel free to share that too. Anne of Green Gables? One of the Little Women? Sydney Bristow? I think I'll stick with Elizabeth Bennett; she's feisty!


Anonymous said...

I think that everyone identifies with Elizabeth Bennett. Or I think that folks wish that they were her -- to be flawed she still has many great qualities. You must read Persuasion, Abby. It has come to be my favorite after Pride and Prejudice.

Anonymous said...

I do have to tell you that I have a great affinity for Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables. I have every episode of that series. I have loved it since I was a little girl and I seriously married someone similar to Gilbert. And that's also my father-in-law's name. Crazy, huh?


Anonymous said...

I most admire and would love to be like Elizabeth Bennett, but I am not nearly as witty and quick as she is! I think I'm more Eleanor Dashwood--rational, logical, playing things close to the vest with my emotions. I love this post--it has revived my interest in finishing the Jane Austen books--I got the ones I hadn't read a couple of summers ago so that I could read everything she's written--I've read Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Mansfield Park, and Emma, but not Northanger Abby or Persuasion yet. (I was trying to go in order of publication. Which actually I think is something Eleanor Dashwood would do! :-)

jennifer said...

It's the dead cold of winter--time to get out those Jane Austen books and BBC dvds, grab a blanket, get warm, hibernate, and travel back in time to merry olde England. It's a good idea, anyway--if it weren't for those pesky offspring!

I like Elizabeth Bennet the best of all the Austen female characters. I don't think I am like any of them. I only aspire to be like them.

george edema said...

I'm like Mr. Collins. I always have clever and socially appropriate things to say. I never overstay my welcome and people delight to keep company with me. It doesn't come easy though. My reputation for interesting speeches comes from practice and preparation. The key is to come into a situation with a quiver of clever insights ready to let fly.

Jandy said...

My feedreader failed to give me this post. Bad feedreader. It is my very humble opinion that Elizabeth Bennet is the greatest character in all of English literature, so I guess that would make her my favorite, huh? ;) She's not a perfect person, but she's very nearly a perfect character. But I don't think I'm that much like her. I'm probably more like Emma...always interested in things that don't concern me more than things that do, always having a list of books I want to read but never quite getting through them because other things are more fun...yeah.

You should read Northanger Abbey, though. It's delightful. It doesn't have the depth of Austen's other books, but it's great fun to read--a spoof on the gothic novel, really.

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