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Sunday, February 27

Jane Austen Character Throwdown: Who is more irritating?

Some of Jane Austen's characters are too irritating for words. Who, in your opinion, would be the most irritating character if you had to invite one of these women to a close family gathering? (We'll deal with the males at another time.)
Mrs. Bates and Miss Bates 
Miss Bates, Emma: She cannot stop chattering and few can get a word in edgewise. Emma, who has been brought up better and embodies the rules of etiquette, can almost not stand her, forcing Mr. Knightley to remind her of Miss Bates's very reduced circumstances and uncertain future. No topic is too trivial for Miss Bates to lengthen and expound upon for endless boring minutes.

Mrs. Bennet has another attack of the vapors
Mrs. Bennet, Pride and Prejudice: I think it is safe to say that Mrs. Bennet is one of the most famous irritating characters in literary history with her continual spasms, vapors, and nerves. Conversations that should remain private are made public or are overheard in her loud voice. She can be notoriously insensitive and often embarrasses her family with her artless statements.
Mrs. Palmer always looks on the bright side
Mrs. Palmer, Sense and Sensibility: An incessantly cheerful airhead, she always sees the good in others or a situation. Mr. Palmer checked out of his marriage ages ago, ignoring his wife's talent for regurgitating inanities. Her altered Pollyanna perception of the universe makes her turn everything into a glad and happy world. Even Elinor Dashwood felt guilty for not liking her more.

Most irritating character
Miss Bates
Mrs. Bennet
Mrs. Palmer free polls


Raquel said...

Miss Bates.

She does not shut your mouth up. Never!

She emends an issue in another. Ever!

Jenny Allworthy said...

I'm rather fond of Miss Bates and of Charlotte Palmer. I find them rather funny. I'm afraid Mrs. Bennet is too similar to my own mother to find her funny. She is just cringe-worthy for me anyway. She always makes me feel like a teenager embarrassed to be around her mother again!

Katie H said...

Mrs. Bennett reminds me of my mother in law. Yikes!

Meredith R. said...

Mrs. Palmer. I know someone who is always cheerful and unwilling to see things as they are, just like Mrs. Palmer. Not a good person to turn to in times of stress when a reality check is needed.

Cinthia said...

Though both Miss Bates and Mrs. Palmer could never stop their chatter, at least they are not mean spirited as Mrs. Bennet can be.

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

That's a tough one, Vic. But I think I'll have to go with Mrs. Bennet. Miss Bates' constant inane chatter would drive me nuts, but we must, as Mr. Knightley would remind us, remember Miss Bates' reduced circumstances! So I would be more tactful than Emma, but I would have to somehow shut her up!

Nonna Beach said...

Mrs. Bennet is the most irritating because she is so self centered and dramatic, drawing everyone into her crazy outbursts and embarrassing, rude and loud social snafoos !!!

Gina said...

Mrs. Bennet. The other two are annoying, but it's easier to get far away from them, whereas Mrs. Bennet's family members have to put up with her constantly. And Mrs. Bennet is always trying to force her daughters to do things, which the other two don't really do.

Steph said...

Miss Bates is really harmless, although boring and overwhelmingly chatty. But at least she can carry a conversation on her own. And although a total airhead and definitely high-energy and chatty (like a Yorkie), Mrs. Palmer is even more harmless. Mrs. Bennet's tactlessness, imagined nerves, and willingness to loudly complain at the slightest offense or loudly boast at any good fortune make her the MOST ANNOYING person in any room. I would have thought Mrs. Augusta Elton would be a better person to include on this list than poor Miss Bates. And Fanny Dashwood would have been a better to include than Mrs. Palmer.

Vic said...

Steph, you are probably right, but I have them in mind for other throwdowns. Still. Good point.

Steph said...

No criticism intended Vic! :-) I look forward to these polls to see what everyone thinks. In this case, I'm glad to see Miss Bates and Mrs. Palmer put down as annoying, but not as irritating as Mrs. Bennet.

Tristans_Isolde said...

Of the characters listed I must say Mrs Bennet is the most irritating however of all Jane's characters I cannot stand Mary Musgrove she irritates me excessively!!! but I do love Persuasion :)