There is a new book out about all of Jane Austen’s books, Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things that Really Matter, by a man no less. A girl co-worker and I were giddy. A boy co-worker of ours watched as we smiled and cooed over this new discovery. He asked, “what’s the big deal about Jane Austen? I just don’t get it. Why read six books about the same thing? They never do anything!” We looked at each other and then at him and replied. My friend said, “Why read any good book?” And I replied, “It is our lot in life, we girls, to defend Jane.” What I didn’t say was that he can never be Fanny Price or Elizabeth Bennet, Marianne or Elinor Dashwood but at one point or another we girls have all been these characters. And these characters all have their happy endings and by reading them we can have ours as well. And by reading these six novels, seemingly about nothing, we understand the dynamics of human nature that have not changed as much as we would like to think. Here is a little excerpt from Sense & Sensibility for your post Cinco-de-Mayo Friday,
Like half of the rest of the world, if more than half there be that are clever and good, Marianne, with excellent abilities, and an excellent disposition, was neither reasonable nor candid. She expected from other people the same opinions and feelings as her own, and she judged of their motives by the immediate effect of their actions on herself. Thus a circumstance occurred, while the sisters were together in their own room after breakfast, which sunk the heart of Mrs. Jennings still lower in her estimation; because, through her own weakness, it chanced to prove a source of fresh pain to herself, though Mrs. Jennings was governed in it by impulse of the utmost good will.