Gentle Readers: Here is a guest post with some Friday fun to get the weekend rolling early. Alyssa Palazzo is a young college student with a passion/obsession for our dear Jane. I thought her essay charming and very funny. Enjoy!
My friends think I have a problem.
I follow Jane Austen on Twitter. I watch her house on Google Earth and note her every movement in my journal. I have friend requested her 307 times on Facebook. Last night, I checked to see what time she was leaving for the Connecticut Repertory Theater’s rendition of Pride and Prejudice. Then I followed her there. I keep my cupboard stocked with her favorite cereal brand in the hopes that one day her car will break down in front of my house and she will want breakfast.
Just kidding. Jane Austen’s dead. BUT, if she were alive, I would have absolutely no problem hiding under her bed and tracking her every movement. After all, I’ve read the books, seen the movies, watched the plays, and enrolled myself in the Jane Austen class offered at UConn. In order to defend my sanity I have composed a list of the top ten reasons I should stalk Jane Austen (or at least like the books.)
- Mr. Darcy, Mr. Knightley, and Edmund Bertram are the sexiest male protagonists of all time. Enough said.
- Happy endings. Every young lady ends up with exactly the right gentleman despite undergoing several trials and mix-ups.
- The heroines aren’t weak creatures who need to be saved. Elizabeth Bennet treks through three miles of mud to visit her sick sister. There is no fainting, swooning, or rescuing to be found – although it might be worth it to be saved by the sexiest male protagonist of all time.
- The characters suffer the consequences of their actions. For example, when Charlotte Lucas marries for convenience, she has to spend the rest of her life rotting in the back room of her house while avoiding her idiotic and obsequious husband. Harsh, but true.
- The luxurious settings. Forget London. Who wouldn’t want to live in Longbourn or Highbury amidst the ample fields and long country roads? Especially when you live right down the lane from the sexiest male protagonist of all time.
- Best opening line ever: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” Haha. Get it?
- Austen does a fantastic job of mocking society. The clergymen are foolish, the “accomplished” young ladies are dimwitted, and the main characters can be spoilt and headstrong. This makes for a great book.
- It’s not all about romance. The books incorporate human shortcomings, character flaws, and moral dilemmas, forcing the readers to think about human nature.
- Austen was one of the few female writers of her time, and better yet, she never married. Way to stick it to the man.
- Have I mentioned the sexiest male protagonists of all time?! I’m a Darcy girl myself, but trust me, there’s a man for every female reader in Austen’s novels.
Now that I’ve defended my sanity I’m off to read Mansfield Park. Trust me, it never gets old.
Editor’s note: Isn’t it refreshing Janeites, that young people all over the world are reading Austen and getting it? This eloquent and observant analysis just made my day!
Alyssa Palazzo is a 4th semester English major and Women’s Studies minor at the University of Connecticut. Her latest work “Leaving the E-Herd for Face-to-Face Dating” was featured in the Hartford Courant. When she is not stalking Jane Austen, she is working and blogging at UConn’s Long River Review. You can follow her adventures at www.longriverreview.com
2007 – 2011 Alyssa Palazzo, Austenprose