In Facebook Land over the last couple of months, people have been tagging people (including me) in this #3fictionalcharacters, where you make a little collage of the three fictional characters you identify with the most, or that sorta-kinda make up your personality.
As it happens, the three I came to settle on were all Jane Austen heroines. ...Go figure. After all, one of my favorite things about Jane Austen is how relatable her characters are!
So I decided to do a blog post about it.
1. Elizabeth Bennet
So this sounds a little... I don't know. Conceited. Because, after all, Elizabeth Bennet is my favorite heroine of all TIME. But then, don't we always like the characters we can see ourselves in?
There are plenty of ways I'm NOT like Lizzy. (To name a few, she's way more outgoing than I am, she's more witty, and she definitely likes walking more than I do.) But I shall focus on the similarities.
Judgment & Opinions
Heh, heh. So, I totally understand Elizabeth when it comes to deciding at the very beginning of an acquaintanceship what I think of a person-- except I'm probably even a little more suspicious than Elizabeth. (Wickham couldn't have gotten past me, gals.) And I think I do give people more of a chance than she does. But hey... maybe that's just a lesson I've learned from Pride and Prejudice!
I'm also quite opinionated in... well, a lot of areas, and it annoys me when people don't think like I do. "Yes, but Lizzy, not everyone is the SAME," Jane reminds her in the 1995 miniseries. Being tolerant of differences is something one must learn in life, but like Lizzy, I struggle with it. Because my natural inclination is to believe that either you agree with me, or you're wrong.
Heh heh again.
Elizabeth is fiercely loyal, and so am I. If you become one of my favorite people, you better believe I will defend you with everything in me. If someone says something unjust about a person I love, I feel it as if they said it about me.
Some people call this "stubborn." I myself prefer to say "constant." :P
Elizabeth has firmly-held beliefs upon which she Will Not Budge, and I can't tell you how much I identify with that. The more someone tries to pressure me into doing something that I'm not comfortable with, for whatever reason, the less likely I am to do it. They think they're trying to persuade me, but really, they're just digging their own grave.* When faced with a strong personality such as Lady Catherine de Bourgh, this may even be classified as "obstinate" and "headstrong."
*If you are someone I like and respect, this does not apply to you. Yes, if I feel something is wrong, I will not budge. But if you're trying, say, to convince me to read a book you like, it's not true that the more you try the more likely I am to never do it. If I have respect for the person, the opposite may be true.
Marriage Is Not The All-Important Goal Of Life
It's just not. Or at least, it shouldn't be. Her opinions on marriage and relationships are, most of the time, nearly identical to my own.
Ahh, yes. Elizabeth Bennet, Queen of the Well-Placed Sarcastic Comment. I am definitely not queen (Amy is), but I have been known to "sass" people when they least expect it. And yes, sometimes I feel bad about it afterwards. (Other times, I just feel deep satisfaction. Heh heh.) Her sense of humor in general is quite similar to my own.
2. Fanny Price
Yes, people. Yes. Jane Austen's most unloved heroine. I identify with her in so many ways! Again, there are plenty of ways in which I am NOT like her (even more than with Lizzy), but let's take a look at the similarities.
Fanny notices things about people that nobody else does. Out of all characters in the book, she has the soundest judgment. "I was quiet, but I was not blind" is one of my favorite quotes to describe her.
I've gone through a couple periods in my life where I felt deeply that something someone else was doing wasn't a good idea, and in the end, it turned out that I was right. The difference is, I don't keep all my opinions to myself, and sometimes it just makes people resent you, soooo... yeah, anyways.
Quiet in Social Situations
We see into Fanny's head a lot throughout the book, so I think we do get to know her character. But one thing we don't get to see is how she really is when she's in the company of like-minded people. Probably the closest is what we see with her brother (William, is it?) and as he isn't physically there in most of the book, that's a tough one.
When I'm around a bunch of people whom I do not connect with, I'm very quiet. Like, I find it physically difficult to speak up. Only when I become comfortable will I be anything like myself. Consequently, there are dozens of people among my partial acquaintance who think of me as a "quiet" person. (BOY ARE THEY WRONG. Anyways...) "Oh, Melody! She's so shy!" Then when they take the trouble to get acquainted with you, they might think you've "come out of your shell," as if you've changed, somehow. No. It's called being an introvert, folks.
This is a bit of a crossover trait with Elizabeth Bennet. Fanny is one of the most constant heroines I've ever read in fiction, and what I like to call a "nonconformist". Even though being subjected to a lot of pressure, she never caves. She sticks with her convictions and, in the end, emerges as the only "blameless" one. Unlike Elizabeth Bennet, though, Fanny doesn't have the stubborn streak. She may be branded so by such as Mrs. Norris, but it is without foundation.
Yup, that too.
Fanny feels things so very much. When reading the novel, I feel the things with her and it's one of those rare experiences where you really connect with a character and hurt right along with them. It's because I feel things in a very similar way to Fanny.
I'm also super sensitive. I cry. I can't stand it when people yell at me. I get "upset" much more often than I get "mad."
People judge Fanny for this, and I think they shouldn't. Being sensitive is not the same as being weak. This is about what you feel. How you act is what makes you either strong or weak, and Fanny is strong. As, I hope, am I.
3. Marianne Dashwood
This is a tricky one. On some days, it seems like I'm just as much Elinor as I am Marianne... and I think that the deal is, I behave a bit more like Elinor outwardly, but inside I feel like Marianne.
I don't form attachments all that easily/frequently. But when I do, it's a very strong, deep, lasting, and to the best of my knowledge, limitless. Like Marianne, I become fiercely loyal (yes, that's 3/3... are you sensing a trend yet?) to that person. It's in my personality to seek deep, emotionally intimate connections, and if I do "click" with someone-- when I find in another human being something that I've never seen anywhere but inside of myself-- that someone can suddenly mean the world to me.
Unfortunately, I also become too emotionally dependent on them. Elinor's line "...after all that is bewitching in the idea of a single and constant attachment, and all that can be said of one's happiness depending entirely on any particular person, it is not meant -- it is not fit -- it is not possible that it should be so" has resonated deeply with me in times past. Because I can, all too easily, get so wrapped up in one particular person that not talking to them, not being 100% in harmony with them, feeling that in some particular they don't understand me after all, etc. can play an infuriatingly large role in my overall happiness.
Unlike Marianne, you see, I'm not totally okay with that. (She just thinks that's as it should be.) However, even when I try to change it, I often find myself right back where I started. Because when the relationship is going through a good time, there's no problem. I'm happy, because all is well! It's only when all isn't well that I question it again.
This is something that I struggle with. Similarly to Elizabeth Bennet, except more exaggerated, Marianne has very deeply held beliefs and can't stand it when people don't agree with her. She has an extreme distaste for anything inconstant, and so do I. Flighty people are just... maddening. The way I am is the only right way to be, after all!
I really do believe that I'm not as bad as Marianne when it comes to that. Perhaps I was, at one point, but I've worked on it and I hope I've at least reached an Elizabeth level. However, I still empathize.
Marianne has some pretty stupid opinions about some things. But she has others with which I completely empathize, even if I don't believe them to the same degree as she does. But (as most of you know) I'm a bit of a romantic when it comes to soul mates and One True Love and that sort of thing. Also, I've always HUGELY identified with the "The more I know of the world, the more I am convinced that I shall never see a man whom I can really love!" quote.
Again, I'm not as "bad" as Marianne. But I do like my bits of drama from time to time. ;)
Marianne has a LOT of pet peeves and things that just really, really annoy her. Hahaha! Me too. Although I'm not outspoken about it to everyone like Marianne seems to be. Coughcoughhopefullycough.
So, there you have it. The three Jane Austen heroines I am most like... and why.
I hope you all have a wonderful Christmastime!