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Sunday, May 10

Jane Austen Character Throwdown: Most Aptly Named Character

Emma's ruined outing at Box Hill vexed readers most. Emma, as we have all read, has become the most popular girl's name in the U.S., besting Emily. In keeping with the name theme, who is the most aptly named Jane Austen character? Mr. Wickham or Mr. Knightley. You decide who is
Most Aptly Named

Mr. Knightley, Emma
Mr. Knightley defends Miss Bates with a vengeance, telling Emma in no uncertain terms that she had made cruel sport of a defenseless woman. He also comes to Miss Harriet Smith's rescue, dancing with her when Mr. Elton so rudely snubs her at the Crown Inn ball. Who among us cannot admire such a chivalrous character? Emma observed: "In another moment a happier sight caught her;—Mr. Knightley leading Harriet to the set!—Never had she been more surprised, seldom more delighted, than at that instant. She was all pleasure and gratitude, both for Harriet and herself, and longed to be thanking him; and though too distant for speech, her countenance said much, as soon as she could catch his eye again. His dancing proved to be just what she had believed it, extremely good; and Harriet would have seemed almost too lucky, if it had not been for the cruel state of things before, and for the very complete enjoyment and very high sense of the distinction which her happy features announced."

Mr. Wickham, Pride and Prejudice
The wickedly devilish Mr. Wickham is one of those bad boys who some women tend to love no matter what. On the surface he seems charming, but his selfish actions could have ruined Lydia, since he did not intend to wed her. An unabashed fortune hunter, Wickham almost ruined innocent Georgianna Darcy and badmouthed her brother to Elizabeth, lying to her in the process. Elizabeth eventually caught on to his schemes. She also learned the following information from Mrs. Gardiner about Wickham's behavior in London: "[Mr. Darcy] thought, to secure and expedite a marriage, which, in his very first conversation with Wickham, he easily learnt had never been his design. He confessed himself obliged to leave the regiment, on account of some debts of honour, which were very pressing; and scrupled not to lay all the ill-consequences of Lydia's flight on her own folly alone. He meant to resign his commission immediately; and as to his future situation, he could conjecture very little about it...Wickham still cherished the hope of more effectually making his fortune by marriage in some other country."


Lynn said...

Mr. Knightley or Emma's knight in shining armor her whole life...Valiant,patient,humble, kind, brave, generous, thoughtful, loving, respectful and true blue...what more could a girl ask for ???

nigel said...

I wonder if the name Knightly was a slightly ironical choice, for "men" in general, rather than Austen's character in actuality?

Knightly is a great model for all men, which I have often mentioned here.

Jane said...

Mr. Knightly is the most valiant of all of Jane Austen's men... sigh.

Jane said...

How about Colonel Brandon? I think Knightly & Brandon are the best male character's in the Austen novels. We all swoon over the emotionally unavailable Darcy (despite how we learn he IS a great guy). Brandon & Knightly seem to be in better touch w/their emotions. Although they do not forcibly act on them.

Lynn said...

I agree with Jane on Col. Brandon.

Unlike Mr. Knightley, who only loved Emma in his lifetime and lead a rather charmed life, Col. Brandon had made his fortune in the military, had been brokenhearted ( twice ) and when he first met Marianne, he loved from afar passionately. He was rewarded fully for his unconditional love, patience and generosity ! Brandon is an excellent man a girl could only dream of and hope to find for real !