I just read an interesting article by ladaisi called I’m a Jane Austen, Jane Eyre kind of Girl talking about the female characters that she loved as a teenager. Jane Austen has definitely been one of my favourite authors for many years now. I first read Emma when I was about 14, but perhaps was too young to fully appreciate the artistry of Jane’s writing and depth of the character Emma at the time. It wasn’t until I was in my late teens when I watched the seminal BBC mini series adaptation of Pride & Prejudice that I came to love Jane’s work. From the moment the end credits of the first of the six episodes were rolling I was digging out my old copy of Emma for a refresh. The very next day I had bought a copy of every book she had ever written and my second hand copy of Persuasion is probably my most prized book on the shelves!
As much as I loved the feminist sass and independence of Elizabeth Bennett in Pride & Prejudice it was the stoical resolve and unswerving devotion of Anne Elliot in Persuasion that spoke to the deeper recesses of my psyche. Besieged by her tactless family, written off as a lost cause by friends and family alike, pursued by a roguish and unwanted admirer, persuaded by a friend to give up the man she loved and then shunned by the object of her affection, Captain Wentworth upon first being re-acquainted. It is Anne’s poise and equanimity that speared right to my core as a young woman struggling to understand who she was and where she fitted into the world. For so much of the book Anne suffers, never showing how much it hurts or burdening others with her pain. A selfless character who puts the feelings of those she loves and cares for above her own, resigning herself to a cold and lonely existence. Of course, Jane was too kind a writer to leave Anne’s selflessness unrewarded, but I shan’t spoil it too much for those who have not read the novel.
It is not an overstatement to say that Anne was a revelation to me, proof that I wasn’t all that strange, that someone like me – a self possessed, introverted and deeply passionate individual who kept her heart a closely guarded secret could exist, if only in fiction. I found something in all of Austen’s characters though, the feminine determination and independence of spirit in Elizabeth Bennett and also in the youthful innocence of Marianne Dashwood in Sense & Sensibility and her sister Elinor Dashwood’s constancy and selflessness, so reminiscent of Anne Eliott and the sense of purpose, morality and conscience of Fanny Price in Mansfield Park.
I could go on and on, but rather than continue to wax lyrical about the characters and the books and how much they mean to me I want to share with you a poem. The poem demonstrates how throughout my life I have not only been supported, comforted and befriended by Austen’s work, but also inspired.
So cinch in your corsets and put on your bonnets, watch out Wentworth and Darcy, it’s time to get Pinned by Jane Austen!
P.S. if I’ve inspired you to go out and read a bit or even watch a bit of Jane Austen then here’s a woo hoo! If you need inspiration or help with choosing click here to see all things Jane Austen that you can buy on Amazon!
PINNED BY JANE AUSTEN
I’m confused, this morning I was so sure, the look in your eyes, the lingering of our touch…God I want you too much. And now the insipid doubt returns and I feel my heart, it burns. My mind is reeling; I don’t know where to turn. This morning my smile could not be swayed, yet now I sit alone a bundle of nerves each one broken, each one frayed. How do you do this to me? Why do I continue to let this be? What the fuck happened to my wonder woman gene and who the hell let Jane Austen in?
My confidence escapes me and the mask of my dominance melts away. Struggling with my inner demons, how do I get the courage to tell you how I feel? My corseted emotions locked sickeningly deep, stood in the corner in my dunce’s cap, someone hand me a shovel, I need to dig my way out of all this emotional crap.
Give me back my tiara and cape, let me spin around and find the courage to do what must be done. Give me back my wonder woman and someone please show Ms Austen the door. Give me leave to pick my fractured dignity up off the floor. I’m so confused; do you feel this way too, how do you feel when I’m with you?
Are you to be my Mr Darcy with your stoic resolve? Are you struggling as much as I to articulate these emotions, or am I alone in my ardour for you? Why can’t you be my superman, you look equally good in red or blue? Why are you not entwined within my arms and legs, tucked up safe with me in my warm bed?
But in the corner I still stand, pinned down by Jane Austen’s hand and yet still I wish to say:
“I like you,
Like you more than I should,
I like you
Like you more than friends,
Like you like no other
And I would like for nothing more than you to like me too.”
Oh God I hope you do!
02 September 2005, 3.30 pm
Copyright R.Weal 2005 ©