Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Best characters in Jane Austen's novels

(I'VE FINISHED "PRIDE AND PREJUDICE", i.e I've read all of Jane Austen's novels!)

- "Northanger abbey": 
Catherine Morland
Henry Tilney
Isabella Thorpe
John Thorpe

- "Sense and sensibility":
Elinor Dashwood
Marianne Dashwood
Lucy Steele 
Fanny Dashwood

- "Pride and prejudice":
Elizabeth Bennet 
Fitzwilliam Darcy
Mr Bennet
Mrs Bennet
Jane Bennett
Lydia Bennett
George Wickham
Caroline Bingley
Lady Catherine de Bourgh

- "Mansfield park":
Fanny Price
Henry Crawford
Mary Crawford
Mrs Norris
Lady Bertram

- "Emma":
Emma Woodhouse
Harriet Smith
Augusta Elton 
Frank Churchill

- "Persuasion":
Anne Elliot
Sir Walter Elliot
Mary Musgrove

a) Jane Austen's strength is in female characters, especially her heroines, and the unpleasant characters she makes fun of, particularly hypocrites.
b) Which is to say, I'm generally not enchanted with her men- Edward Ferras, Colonel Brandon, Edmund Bertram, George Knightley and Captain Wentworth, and am not even crazy about Fitzwilliam Darcy. My favourite is Henry Tilney.
c) Her 7 heroines, all of whom are authentic and convincing, are very different. Some are introverts, some are extroverts. Some are more strong-minded than others and each has her faults, and even though Catherine Morland may be unexperienced, naive and trusting and Marianne Dashwood lets sensibility take over sense and behaves irrationally, none of Jane Austen's heroines is weak, subservient to men, or stupid.
(d) One can imagine how Jane Austen might feel about someone like Emma Bovary or Miss Julie.
e) The difference between the heroines is best seen in the way they face suffering- to try to laugh at everything or to be tormented by negative feelings, to endure quietly or to lose interest in other things, to push her anguish to the extreme and bring herself sickness or to repress all emotions only to burst into tears in the end.) 

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