Thursday, March 29, 2007

Elinor's Insight

I think I have writers' block again. And a little bit of writers' fear. Well, I made up writers' fear, but it's the fear of being misunderstood or argued. I feel like everything I have to say is either really boring or somehow controversial and I don't want to deal with either. Why do I have an overwhelming feeling that we need to all just get along and we aren't? Maybe it is from what I have been reading. On my own I have been reading Wicked, but it is yucky so far. I mean, it is vulgar and crass and lewd and not worth reading at all. But I have only read about forty pages. I thought I had heard good things about it. Was it maybe just good things about the musical? And I just finished reading Sense and Sensibility to Elspeth today. Which Austen novel should I pick next for our feedings? Mansfield Park or Northanger Abbey? I haven't read either one.

Oh, but that reminds me that I need to print a retraction of sorts. While I was sure I had read Sense and Sensibility before and the spine of my book has the creases to prove it, it does not seem familiar to me in the parts which vary from the movie- which are few, so kudos to Emma Thompson. So maybe it has just been a while, or else I have never really read it at all. I don't know. I can't explain the dog eared pages either if I haven't, nor my idea that I have read it for that matter. Good old Jane Austen though, I guess you can't have read her novels enough. Anyway, my retraction. It is nice to think that I, in some ways, can relate to Elizabeth Bennett as she is portrayed as a heroine. And while I maintain that I do in some respects, though if you remember I tend to think most people can in some way or another, I have to say that I recognize myself almost totally in Marianne Dashwood. I am not going to ramble on about all the ways but I just wanted to clear that up!

After all of this maybe I'll let Jane Austen write this post for me. That way, if anyone disagrees or wants to contest, it is with her and not me! I thought the following exchange was a very interesting commentary on our perception of people in general. Edward has come to visit and he, Elinor, and Marianne are having a conversation. Edward is teasing Marianne about one of her narrow and firm opinions which she declares she still holds to:

"Marianne is as steadfast as ever, you see," said Elinor; "she is not at all altered."

"She has only grown a little more grave than she was."

"Nay, Edward," said Marianne," you need not reproach me. You are not so very gay yourself."

"Why should you think so!" replied he, with a sigh. "But gaiety never was part of my character."

"Nor do I think it a part of Marianne's," said Elinor; "I should hardly call her a lively girl. She is very earnest, very eager in all she does; sometimes talks a great deal and always with animation; but she is not often really merry."

"I believe you are right," he replied, "and yet I have always set her down as a lively girl."

"I have frequently detected myself in such kind of mistakes," said Elinor, "in a total misapprehension of character in some point or other: fancying people much more gay or grave, or ingenious or stupid than they really are, and I can hardly tell why or in what the deception originated. Sometimes one is guided by what they say of themselves, and very frequently by what other people say of them, without giving oneself time to deliberate and judge."

That Elinor! She's sharp as a tack! And isn't that true that we can totally decide someone is one way when it really isn't the case? It's like the reason one of the nicest guys I ever knew was treated like a total loser in high school and one of the meanest people I ever knew was always voted most popular. It seems like everyone's high school was about that way. And it goes beyond high school a lot of times too. I just thought it was remarkably insightful.


jennifer said...

First, on Wicked, I read it years ago before it became a musical. It is crass, yes. But it is so clever. I encourage you to keep going.

Re: Jane Austen--I vote for Mansfield Park as your next read. I love Fanny Price. And, you'll find that the thought you expressed in your last paragraph of this post is illustrated by some of the characters in MP.

Abby said...

sorry jennifer. i took your encouragement and tried one last time while i was feeding elspeth before getting to the library this afternoon for a new book. wicked is going back! i just can't stomach it. i am pretty easily grossed out, and i couldn't get through the next THREE pages without obscene references to dirty sheets, stinky indigestion problems, lusty anatomy descriptions, and a description of someone using the bathroom (to put it as non-nasty as possible). I have no desire to read this no matter how clever! Everyone else, you have been warned!

the good, the bad & the ugly said...

My in-laws saw Wicked on broadway and said it was amazing. A hates The Wizard of Oz so he would not be excited to go to the play or have the book in the house. But I am sorry to hear that you haven't liked it so far. My vote for your next book is Mansfield Park.

jennifer said...

It's ok that you don't want to read it. I had mixed emotions the whole time I was reading it. I bought Son of a Witch for Mark for Christmas, and I have just started it. It doesn't seem as nasty, at least not yet. If you can handle a little adult content, I recommend the Starbridge series by Susan Howatch as a good choice. The first book is Glittering Images. I'll even loan it to you so you don't have to get it from the library. If you want to know more, I'll send you an e-mail.

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