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.)
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, 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, 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.
|Mrs. Bates and Miss Bates|
|Mrs. Bennet has another attack of the vapors|
|Mrs. Palmer always looks on the bright side|