Sunday, November 06, 2005

I feel the urge to curtsy: Can I STOP reading Jane Austen now?

I just finished Jane Austen's book, "Pride & Prejudice".

This is my third English Lit book from the early-mid 19th Century, and I have pretty much had it.

I learned a lot about the language and social morays of the time, and for that I am thankful. But Jane Austen is probably the most insipid writer of any real fame that I've ever come across.

Ultimately, all her people find some reason to like each other after hating each other, and of course, the natural thing to do is to marry. No matter how independent of spirit her female characters are, the time dictated that she must fall in love and get married to end the book.

What's funny is that I thought at first that the "happily ever after" ending was one of those Victorian-era things, but then I realized that there isn't a Disney movie (or rarely any movie) that comes out that doesn't result in at least some sort of profession of commitment, if not marriage.

I'm not down on marriage, don't get me wrong. But the Inner Gloria Steinem in me says that it's not the end-all, be-all for many women. I relish the fact that marriage ages are going UP in this country -- particularly for women (men have always married later). It just tells me that they're starting to realize they can do something OTHER than get marriage to have some sense of worth.

In the meantime, the feminist in me just waits for the day equality will really mean something. I'm not talking about being able to bench-press as much as my DH, or expect him to sew as well as me. I mean in terms of basic respect in society, especially in the workplace.

I think that last Austen book obviously struck a nerve. The good news is, unless Jane Austen comes out of her coffin and writes a new book, I'm done. Thanks for the taste, Ms. Austen, but I've taken all the formality, chivalry and innuendo one girl can take from your books.

I'm on to something bright and cheery -- Russian Literature -- "The Brother's Karamozov" by Fyodor Dostoevsky. That oughta brighten up my day!


Lauren said...

She was a product of her time and her writing reflects that... a nice, Victorian Nora Roberts. LOL

Dostoyevsky, huh? Having trouble sleeping or something? ;o)

Jules said...

You nailed it, Lauren! "A nice, Victorian Nora Roberts!"




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