Hey, it's Tess again. :) Anyone who knows me knows how much I LOVE Jane Austen's stories. "Pride and Prejudice" is my absolute favorite, but "Emma" and "Northanger Abbey" are also wonderful. And of course, "Sense and Sensibility" is special because it's about 3 sisters and there are 3 of us Prescott girls. Our personalities are even somewhat similar. I'm probably not quite as practical as Elinor, but I am more reserved than my little sister. Hailey is just like Marianne Dashwood. She's one of those people who can make friends with anyone, and has no problem telling everyone what she thinks and feels. I'm a more private person...I do much better writing out my thoughts than giving a speech or contributing to a conversation. I've always been more of an observer. I like watching people and imagining what their lives might be like, but ask me to talk to someone I don't know and I break out in a cold sweat! Ella's not exactly like Margaret, although she definitely likes to be sure she's not forgotten or overlooked as the youngest of 3! I'm getting sidetracked, though (I do that a lot...it's hard when your thoughts are going so fast you can't keep up with them). :)
It's tough being a Jane Austen girl in a Twilight world. Everyone at school goes on and on about the Twilight books and movies. Besides the fact that I'm not allowed to watch them (I'm only twelve and Mama is very careful about what she lets us watch), I'm just not that into vampires and werewolves. Give me a Mr. Knightley or a Mr. Tilney over an Edward Cullen or a Jacob Black any day. I'd much rather be in love with a sensitive or teasing gentleman than someone who might be tempted to bite me or eat me every time I turned around.
I think as girls it's easy for us to be attracted to the dangerous or threatening. It reminds me of Anne of Green Gables talking about wanting to love someone who could be wicked, but wouldn't. And I know, Edward is a gentleman and a really nice guy trying to do the right thing. Jacob loves Bella, too, and tries to put her needs first. The more I think about it, though, I'd rather just be loved by someone who was a plain, kind, honest man. Someone who would work hard to provide for his family and be supportive of my interests. Someone who would love children and be a good daddy. Someone who would bring me flowers just because and do the dishes every once in a while when I was tired. (I know, that last sentence is pushing it-that's what Mama told me, too. She says I'll be lucky just to find a man who remembers to pick up his dirty socks!) Most importantly, I'd like to find someone who loved Jesus more than he loved me.
The other thing I love about Jane Austen's stories that is completely missing from so many of the love stories written today is the way she portrays doing the right thing as being more important than "following your heart". Don't get me wrong, she's not all prickles, and she definitely finds satisfying ways to get her heroes and heroines together.
So many of the stories written today are all about following your emotions, or rather, letting them carry you away to do crazy and impossible things. The characters are urged to "do what feels good" or "follow their hearts". The problem is that our hearts often fool us, and when we are in the heat of the moment, we rarely think clearly. I think the contrast between this way of thinking and Jane Austen's writings is best illustrated in "Sense and Sensibility", in Edward and Elinor's relationship.
Edward and Elinor truly loved each other, but Edward had already made a promise to marry Lucy before he met Elinor. Even though he didn't love Lucy, he wanted to do the honorable thing and keep his promise to her. He stood by Lucy even after being threatened with losing his inheritance, which back then was a really big deal. He apologized to Elinor for his behavior towards her later, realizing that he had toyed with Elinor's emotions, falsely believing that she wouldn't get attached to him.
If the story had been written today, Edward would have canned Lucy at the first opportunity he had. Not to mention he would have been sleeping with one or both of them, adding to the complication and heartbreak. And hey, if he got tired of Elinor, he could just leave her for someone else after a while. That's the type of thing we do when we let our emotions take over our lives. We just want to do what we want to do without thinking about the consequences. And just to clarify, I'm not saying this is all in Twilight, lest I offend all the Twilight fans out there. I'm just saying modern stories in general are more and more this way.
I know the regency period wasn't perfect, but I do think it's a shame that we've lost that sense of honor, of keeping our word and doing what we believe is right, even if it's painful and costs us something we hold dear.
You probably think I'm horribly old-fashioned, but that's okay. Most people do. I like being an old-fashioned girl, and I'm going to hold out for an honorable, old-fashioned boy. You might say I'm asking for the impossible. But I know there are men out there like that. Mama married one...maybe someday I will, too.