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Thursday, April 14

The Jane Austen Character I Most Identify With

Gentle Readers, Laurel Anne from Austenprose and I were chatting the other day about this, that, and the other, for we are both a bit Jane Austen nutty (if you haven't noticed.) As you continue reading, you will need to know only one thing:  we are just a wee bit longer in the tooth than Jane's young heroines:

LA: Vic and I were chatting on the phone today. Over the course of our three plus year Austen-inspired friendship we have mostly emailed, so this was a treat. She has the most infectious laugh which made me laugh too. Of course we were talking about our favorite author and she remarked that Austen excelled at humor and the amazing secondary characters she developed. Somehow it just popped out and I boldly asked her what Jane Austen character she most identified with. Without hesitation she replied, Lady Russell from Persuasion. “Lady Russell?” I replied in surprise! “Well, yes.”

Jane Rus.., er, Mrs. Russell

She then revealed that she is often wrong about the advice she gives people. At work she gathers the young-uns around her and freely offers opinions, whether they are solicited or not. When she gives wrong counsel - which she admits is more often than not - she torpedos herself in a most spectacular fashion. “The error of my ways does not go unnoticed by this unforgiving crowd. Unlike Lady Russell, I will own up to a misteak, er, mistake or two, and apologize for having interfered, but I hold the line at groveling.”

Another reason why she identifies with this character is her independence. Lady Russell is a widow with a healthy income and she has no intention of remarrying and being subjugated by a man. “I am a divorced woman who has discovered the joys of living singly on my own terms and by my own schedule. Ah, what total, selfish bliss!”

Vic further admitted that at a party, or when she lets her hair loose, she starts to resemble Mrs. Jennings. You know the type: a bit vulgar, out for a good time, giggling at precisely the wrong moments, and making those with a more composed nature feel uncomfortable with crass jokes and loud language. “Like Mrs. Jennings, I have a good heart. But I can be out there and in your face too. I might seem unseemly to a quieter person like Elinor, and be totally disliked by the likes of a Marianne, but my friends and family get me, and that’s what counts.”

Oh Vic! You are such a card. Lady Russell and Mrs. Jennings? She then turned the tables on me. “Now, who do you identify with in Jane’s novels? Are you like me, a bossy and interfering carouser? Or are your a bit more sedate and ladylike?”

Harriet Smith (Tony Collette) patiently poses for Emma
Vic: “Sedate. A total Harriet Smith,” LA replied. Many years ago a dear Janeite friend tagged her as a Harriet to her Emma. “It seemed appropriate since I was often asking for advice and was very mailable to change.” In her view, Harriet was a bit of a ditz and gullible which she has been accused of too. The thing she liked about being a Harriet is that Austen gave her such a great ending. She is resilient, and after being tossed about in love no less than three times in a year, Harriet gets the man she wanted in the first place and proves Emma, with her self-important airs, was totally clueless about the human heart. “I like having the last laugh, and being right.” ;-)
Sir John Middleton (Robert Hardy) and Mrs. Jennings (Elizabeth Spriggs)
Lately LA thinks she has evolved into Sir John Middleton from Sense and Sensibility. He was the Dashwood’s cousin and landlord of Barton Cottage. He is very gracious and likes to pop in and make sure his tenants are comfortable and entertained. He is a bit of a bore and talks too much about things that are not of interest to his young companions, but he likes dogs, has a good heart and loves to laugh. “As an enthusiastic bookseller, I like to inform customers of their choices and make suggestions. I am also a bit of an organizer and enjoy planning events on my blog, and orchestrating the 23 authors in my anthology. It is like herding cats, but I like being the boss of my own world!”
"One man's ways may be as good as another's, but we all like our own best." - Persuasion, Ch 13
Now our question. Which Jane Austen character do you, estimable viewer, most identify with, or which character are you afraid of becoming? Feel free to leave your comments!


Enid Wilson said...

A female Mr. Darcy here.

Fire and Cross

Nonna Beach said...

What a delightful post to two are just wonderful !!!
I am a strange mixture of Mrs. Jennings and Elizabeth Bennet.

Anonymous said...

To my (bad) surprise I found some Miss Bingley traits in me... being at a ball (I'm from Austria, better said Vienna and we do have lots of balls during the ballroom season) at a small provincial city and I found myself having pretty Miss-Bingley-like thoughts...

Meredith said...

Upon reflection, I think I am probably some weird combination of Henry Tilney and Anne Eliott. I'm not either sure if that makes sense.

Jenny Allworthy said...

Hmm...a bit of Henry Tilney's sense of humour and a dash of Mary Bennet, I am aghast to admit. I occasionally spout off information when no one else is interested. Oh, dear!

I would love to say Lizzy or Elinor but that is aspirational I believe.

Vic said...

Oh, how I LOVE your choices, everyone. Thank you for sharing. Vic

Risa said...

I just read this over at Laurel Ann's blog....very interesting! Here's what I said at her blog...

I've thought of myself as Elinor Dashwood - down-to-earth, practical. But then I've also related to the boring George Knightley as well, and calm, patient Ann Eliot. And I guess, because I love to laugh eventhough I am not particularly witty, I am a wee bit like Elizabeth Bennet.

Raquel said...

Like Enid, I am a female Mr. Darcy!

Vintage Reading said...

Elinor Dashwood ... I wish!