Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Emma and Christmas

Here are a couple updates/bits of information about me and my blog.

First of all, I am reading Emma for British Literature in school. I did not choose it (if I had it probably would have been Pride and Prejudice), it is just conveniently in the curriculum. I’ve finished Frankenstein and the Romantic poets, and have yet to read A Tale of Two Cities, The Time MachineAnimal Farm, and other poets. I wish Animal Farm was something else – some Gaskell or Brontë or Eliot, perhaps – but I’m looking forward to reading Mr. Dickens.

Anyways, back to Emma. It’s quite nice to be reading Jane Austen for school – it feels so un-schoolish, you know. And, oh! With what delight I first read about Jane Austen and Emma when the Literature book first came! Seeing all those familiar names in the text book – Jane Austen, Emma Woodhouse, Mr. Knightley, Mr. Elton, Harriet – gave me a silly excitement.

I also liked what the author said at the very beginning of the Emma section:

“Note: Perhaps some of the male readers will be rather distressed when they learn that they will be studying Jane Austen this school year. Unfortunately, many people unthinkingly consider Austen a writer solely for women. In Emma, the main character is a young woman; women carry a majority of the dialogue; and, sadly for some perhaps, there is no physical violence. However, those who are disappointed by the former will be at least as pleased upon learning that, in the novel (and in all of Austen’s other novels), there are no improbable, long-winded, indulgent professions of love and they contain much satirical wit and humor.”

Thank you! You know what, if us girls had to read The Red Badge of Courage last year in American Literature…that’s a war story, and isn’t that supposed to be a boy’s thing? I saw no disclaimers or explanations there.
Anyways, I especially appreciated that because a man wrote it.

The second thing. Sometime between Thanksgiving and December 2nd, I shall turn my blog into a Christmas blog, and it will remain so for about a month. I love Christmas time so very much, I just have to share my excitement here too! I’m planning lots of special Christmas posts. They will still be centered around Jane Austen, etc. but there will be a few other ones, too. The look of the blog will also change.

I am planning a special post for later on this week, quite a Christmassy one, so be watching for it! =)

In the title of this post, I wasn’t trying to connect Emma with Christmas – but have you noticed that Christmas is mentioned in Emma more than any other Jane Austen novel?


Miss Elizabeth Bennet said...

I love that beginning section of your book! Jane Austen tends to be branded as a romantic author without any regard to her satire, wit, and humor. Sure, she wrote about love but like the quote said "there are no improbable, long-winded, indulgent professions of love"; that's one of the reasons I love Jane Austen: she didn't solely rely on romantic language.

Oooh! Can't wait for the Christmas blog! There's a local radio station has begun to play Christmas music: it might be early for Christmas music, but I love it!

Abby said...

Mmm, yes, Emma is quite a Christmassy novel :') What with the snow and everything.

I quite enjoyed Animal Farm. It's not the sort of thing I'd ever have picked up normally, but as we were studying pre-WWII Russia, our teacher advised us to read it and we watched the film. Once I understood the historical context it's based on, it was actually very interesting :)

You study a lot of books! Over two years, we only do two (P&P and To Kill a Mockingbird), two plays (Shakespeare, naturally!) and a huge poetry anthology. We also did a section on advertising and speech writing etc., but maybe you do that in another class? I don't know, but I'm kind of interested :) We just smish the two subjects - English Lit and Lang - into one subject :')

Hehe, I love that little note from the author! Although there is actually some (sort of) physical violence, in the form of Harriet being attacked by those gypsies, I guess it isn't really described, might be useful for getting less enthusiastic students interested: 'Someone gets attacked by gypsies!' :')

I go to an all-girls school so the teachers can do as many 'girly' books as they please :') We're studying P&P at the moment, and I completely understand your silly excitement! Most of the rest of the class were just being introducing to Lizzy and Darcy and Mr Collins, but I have known them quite a while now...'They are my old friends' as Mr Bennet might say! ;) Oh, I just love studying my favourite books for it really helps knowing about all her other novels for wider reading comparisons, and about her life and the era for historical context :)

Oh, and I'm looking forward to seeing your blog turn into a Christmas blog. Very exciting!


Melody said...

Miss Elizabeth,
I know! I dislike "mushy" stuff; it just makes it seem silly. Jane Austen did a wonderful job at being romantic but not at all silly in the ones where she attempted it. Half the novels don't even have a proposal at all.

So has ours! And it's funny you should say that... I will just hint that my post later on this week has to do with Christmas music. And I even mentioned the radio station in it, ha (I've written most of the post already).

Oh, well, I'm glad to hear maybe Animal Farm will be better than I think. =) But I'd still rather have Gaskell or Bronte. ha ha

Advertising and speech writing? Well I do that sort of thing more on my own. ha ha ;-) And you, no doubt, do more in-depth studies of the novels. Here I just read the assigned chapters, read their discussion questions & answers, and then it usually has an essay or book review at the end to write. (For Frankenstein I did a compare and contrast essay about the book and the 1931 movie...the thing is, they are so different you can hardly even compare them at all. o.o)

Haha, that is a very good point! That would be a funny thing to say if I was an English teacher! "Well, there might not be any shootings or murders, but someone is attacked by vicious gypsies!!" hahaha!

Miss Laurie of Old-Fashioned Charm said...

Reading Emma, how lovely! My sister is reading it for the first time in school too. Unfortunately she's not as entranced by the language and customs as I am. She does have an appreciation for Mr. Knightley though so I've at least taught her something! :D

Oooh! I'm hoping to read 'A Tale of Two Cities' this coming year. I bought a copy this summer because I need to read more Dickens and because I don't know the story at all. It might be lovely if you could do a book review on your blog when you finish reading it, especially mentioning your favorite characters. Just a thought. ;)

Christmas, yay! My sister and I have been listening to Christmas music since before Halloween! I've been surprised that our parents haven't complained because they usually dislike Christmas music before Thanksgiving. haha.

Christmas is mentioned more pointedly in Emma than in any other Austen book. The Weston's Christmas dinner is a lovely time of family and friends (even though Mr. Elton ruins it for Emma!).
Persuasion also mentions Christmas, Anne spends it with Lady Russell but they go to Uppercross to visit the Musgrove and their noisy guests. I think several of the other novels mention Christmas in passing...yes, I looked them up. In P&P the Gardiners spend Christmas at Longbourn. In MP Fanny's ball is very near to Christmastime. In NA James Morland spent Christmas with the Thorpes and fell in love with Isabella. In S&S Sir John Middleton mentions about Willoughby that "I remember last Christmas, at a little hop at the Park, he danced from eight o' clock till four, without once sitting down." And in Lady Susan it is her impromptu Christmas visit that keeps her bother-in-law's family from visiting his wife's parents as they usually did. Hmm...something like that might make an interesting post!

Looking forward to your Christmas posts! :)

Jemimah C. said...

I'm guessing you use Language Arts through Literature for your lit in school. I'm using that curriculum, too! However, much as I want to do the Emma and A Tale of Two Cities book studies, I'm stuck with American Literature at the moment. But isn't it fun to read Jane Austen and Dickens for school?

Melody said...

Miss Laurie,
Well, maybe give her a few years. =) At least she doesn't dislike JA! That would be a sad occasion. ha
Yeah, something like that might make an interesting post!...;-)

Oh, I'm actually supposed to write a review for it at the end, so I'll probably put it on here. I might have to add some of my own things though; the format of the review I'm supposed to be writing is probably a lot different from what I'd usually do.

So am I! =) And I'm glad you're in a Christmas music mood. :)

Yes! We've used those textbooks for many years. I did the American one last year. Truthfully I didn't like it very much and was wishing they would have done Little Women! ;-) Some of the short stories were all right, though. Anyways, good luck. Hopefully you'll enjoy it more than I did. (Isn't THAT encouraging?! :P)

Miss Dashwood said...

Completely aside from the subject of this post, but don't you just love the dress Emma's wearing in the picture? So classy and elegant and holiday-ish. I love it!
I read Pride and Prejudice last year for British Literature, and those were the best four weeks of school I've ever had. One of my assignments was to write three letters from three of the characters to three other characters, taking on their voices and personalities. I wrote from Mrs. Bennet to Mrs. Long, detailing Lizzy and Jane's engagements, from Lydia to Kitty, gloating about Brighton, and a thank-you note (epistle!) from Mr. Collins to Lady Catherine *cough*. That last one was the most fun.
I used Learning Language Arts through Literature (LLATL) from fourth grade to eighth grade, but I really hated the later books, and in ninth grade my Mom switched me over to Excellence in Literature (which I am so totally in love with). I only got as far as American Lit in LLATL, though, so I never got to read Emma as an assignment. :( I need to read that again, though...
Loved the intro to Emma! That was so funny! I know, isn't it unfair that people spend so much time apologizing to boys for making them read "girly" books, but girls have to read guy books without any excuses. I hated The Red Badge of Courage. Did you have to read Beowulf for Brit Lit? Ewww, that one was gross too.
Haha, the gypsy attack would be a good way of "marketing" Emma to a violence-seeking audience, though. :)

Melody said...

Miss Dashwood,
I like that dress too! I also love the green one she wears to the Christmas party. =)

Ooh! I was kind of wishing I could have read P&P. But Emma is good, too. Although I have read it more recently. I started re-reading P&P a few months ago...and I read some more this morning just because I felt like it. =) I think I've been on a Knightley kick for too long, and I want to get back to Mr. Darcy. (tehehe)

Ha ha ha!! You should put those letters on your blog! I would love to read them. =) =)

I remember we didn't do LLATL in either 7th or 8th of them was different than the others and I didn't like it. >.< It's too bad you didn't do the British literature rather than the American one. It's a lot better. =) (So far...except there's still too much poetry. bah)
No! I don't have to read Beowulf. It all starts in the Romantic period. There's not even any Shakespeare!

Would you rather hear the story...

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