Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Why Captain Wentworth is a Superior Example of Manhood

If you've been reading my blog for a long time, you may be surprised at the title of this post.  Many of you will know that Captain Wentworth is far from my favorite Jane Austen hero, and I've never actually had much of a fondness for him.

I do wonder how much of this might be due to two facts:
1) I don't care for any of the movie portrayals of him.
2) In the book there is really very little time to get to know him. We see his actions, but we can't get into his mind at all until he finally opens up to Anne again, which is at nearly the end.

Also, I wonder what Persuasion would have ended up like if Jane Austen had lived to see it published.  She wasn't necessarily ready for it to be published yet.  She was becoming too ill to even work on her newest story idea, much less the tedious task of in-depth editing of what was probably equal to a second draft.

But I'm going off on a rabbit trail here.  Frederick Wentworth is the subject at hand.

The fact is, the more I see of life, I realize just how accurate Anne's assessment of men is in chapter 23.

I should deserve utter contempt if I dared to suppose that true attachment and constancy were known only by woman.  No, I believe you capable of everything great and good in your married lives.  I believe you equal to every important exertion, and to every domestic forbearance, so long as--if I may be allowed the expression--so long as you have an object.  I mean while the woman you love lives, and lives for you.  All the privilege I claim for my own sex (it is not a very enviable one; you need not covet it), is that of loving longest, when existence or when hope is gone.

One thing that I feel I must have in a relationship is my beloved feeling that he would not be happy with anybody besides me.  This is extremely rare among men.  Their emotions only seem engaged if the person is living and present before them.  And, in fact, when they lose a sweetheart/fiancee/wife, they shortly find that the apparent way to solve the problem of their sadness is to fill the void with some other woman. (Hi, Captain Benwick.)

I have to admit, that kind of disgusts me.  There is the rare exception... but honestly, all the exceptions I keep thinking of are fictional, so... I'm just going to leave that right there.

(And yes, I am aware that Captain Wentworth is fictional too. Be quiet.)

But he didn't do that.  It had been eight years, and Captain Wentworth had not once been interested in another woman (because "a man does not recover from such a devotion of the heart to such a woman! He ought not--he does not.").  He had kind of a funny way of showing this... totally ignoring Anne and actually flirting with other girls and pretending like he was interested in them.

I was thinking about that a little more in depth, though.  For the first time, I put myself in his place.  Imagine being engaged to someone who was completely devoted to you, and then they change their mind because their snobby family thinks you're not good enough?  I can't excuse him for how he acted upon meeting Anne again... he should not have snubbed her as he did.  But I don't know if I can blame him for at least a lot of his behavior.

As to him flirting with other girls, I do blame him; but still I cannot condemn him.  After all, many women pull the exact same trick of trying to show their "ex" that they can live perfectly well without them.  She broke up with him because he wasn't good enough, and his pride was wounded.

Again, I'm not excusing him.  I'm just understanding him a little better... and forgiving him a little more, because he really is a superior example of manhood.  He was constant and he was true.  He was chivalrous and he had a good heart.  And in the end, he forgave Anne who (although she suffered equally) had caused him a lot of pain and heartache.

(Captain Harville also, it would seem, appears to be superior.  Although in the book he never had a reason to demonstrate that he could practice what he preached, he was terribly disturbed by Benwick's quick switch in affections, and a man who is likely to do that himself is not likely to be disturbed when other people do.)

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Would You Rather

Hiiii, everyone.  I'm back.  Well, actually, I've been back for a while... I just sort of haven't gotten around to posting.

And even this is... just a tag. ;)  But could I resist a Jane Austen tag? I think not.  This one is from Write On, Cordy!

Who would you rather have act as your matchmaker, Lady Russell (from Persuasion) or Mrs. Jennings?

Mrs. Jennings... she would at least be funny.  Lady Russell is just materialistic. :P  Less prone to say embarrassing things, but...  well, hopefully whomever she's matchmaking me with can join me in joking about it instead of being embarrassed. :)

Who would you like as a pen pal from Jane Austen's works?

Jane Austen.
Sorry, is that not an option.
Well then... perhaps Elinor Dashwood.  I feel like all the snark within her would come out the most in letters. ;)

Who would you rather go on a walk with, Colonel Fitzwilliam or Captain Benwick?

Colonel Fitzwilliam, definitely.  I have no taste for Captain Benwick.

Who would you rather have to befriend, Mrs. Elton or Lucy Steele?

Lucy Steele, actually... they are both really obnoxious but at least Lucy Steele can pretend to be agreeable sometimes.  Mrs. Elton is just like a constant annoying noise.

Who would you rather have as a sibling, John Knightley or Mary (from Persuasion, not Mary Bennet)?

Definitely John Knightley. No question about that.  He at least is funny, and doesn't have the attitude that the whole world exists to cater to his every whim.

Who would you rather dance with? (Very open book!)

Henry Tilney. Always my answer! I mean, need I say more??

Who would you rather refuse, Mr. Collins or Mr. Elton?

HA.  Ehm... Mr. Elton, because he would shut up sooner.

Who would you rather match-make for, Miss Bates or Mary Bennet?

Miss Bates.  Mary could bear solitude but I'm not sure what Miss Bates will do after her mother dies, with Jane gone and everything.  There is nobody in the book that I would have for her, though. We would have to make one up.

Who would you rather have as a best friend?

Ummmm... Amy?  Oh, we're not talking about real life. Okay.

Jane Austen!!!!
Oh... sorry, not an option either? Hmm.

I'm... tempted just to say Elizabeth Bennet?  Come on, people. She's witty and she's loyal and she be introvert-y and extrovert-y at different times.

Who would you rather argue with? (Mrs. Bennet, Lady Catherine, Emma Woodhouse, Mr. Woodhouse, Mr. Palmer, Mrs. Jennings, Fanny Dashwood, Captain Wentworth, Mr. Darcy, etc.) 

Wow. Emma, I think.  I would say Mr. Knightley but I might feel a little bit bad arguing with him... with Emma I could just feel more that I was having fun. Or maybe Marianne Dashwood. I feel like she needs someone to argue with.

Would you rather wander the grounds of Pemberley and risk being 'discovered' or wander over the downs surrounding Barton Cottage in the rain and twist an ankle?

Well, as twisting one's ankle would have more lasting consequences, I would definitely risk being discovered at Pemberley.  Besides, the grounds at Pemberley are marvelous. It has some of the best woods in the country. ;)

Where would you live in Austen's works?

Hampshire. ;)

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Dear Me

A letter to the Melody from the end of the last decade, at age thirteen/fourteen.

Dear Younger Me,

Hello.  This is Older You, writing to you from the future.  It is March 2016.  I've been thinking about you a lot lately and kind of just wanted to tell you some news that might be pleasing to you.

First, however, I must confess to not being in the exact spot in life that you thought I would be at this point in time.  But I must also confess to being completely okay with that.  And it's not that I've changed, because in essentials, I believe I am very much what I ever was.  (...hang on for about a year and then you'll know that that's a tweaked quote from the best novel in the universe.)

But things have shifted.  Instead of graduating with a BA in Elementary Education this May, I am actually only now really getting into this college thing.  Yeah, yeah, I know. But I've done cool things! I promise! And I work in a library, like you've always wanted to, if that's any comfort.  (Also it's great. Totally recommend it.  And volunteering at the library is a great way to get started. Good choice. Yes. Do it.)

Saturday, February 20, 2016

My JASNA Debut

So, my friends, on Tuesday the 9th I went to my first meeting with the Jane Austen Society of North America.  That's what this post will be about, but first a little backstory.

When I was first hired at my current library job, on the second day at work, I made the comment to my supervisor (her name is Jennifer) that "I liked this movie" (because I came across Emma 2009 and it made me smile).  She said she did too and that she loved Jane Austen, and my response was "I KNEW I LIKED YOU!!!" 

And then I was kind of embarrassed because, you know, she's my boss. I probably shouldn't be too weirdly enthusiastic right at the beginning.  She just laughed, though, and we went on talking. She mentioned that she was a member of JASNA.  I was highly interested and we had a bit of a discussion about it... I mentioned that it's hard for me to get to the book clubs or meetings because of where I live not being close by and the locations being tricky to drive in, and she made a vague offer to take me with her sometime.

Friday, February 19, 2016

By A Lady

So, Amy and I were chatting on Facebook this evening.  I'm in the purple, she's in the green.  It is altered just a tad because it was not written for the purpose of being shown to you guys. ;)  (I'm leaving "yezzzz" in there though, because that's just What I Do.)  And I'm also not hiding the fact that we're just a little bit awful sometimes. A little bit.

Harper Lee died. :(

She wrote To Kill a Mockingbird, in case you forgot that.

No, I knew that. :P 

I'm actually pretty good with author names attached to books they wrote.

That's why it was "in case" and not "fyi" :P

The first several times I heard of Harper Lee, I thought she was a dude.

It was easier to get published in those days if people thought you were a dude.

Sad but true.


(It's her middle name.)

Which is why I think Jane Austen was AWESOME.

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