Which Jane Austen Character Do You Most Indentify With?

Gentle Readers, Vic  from Jane Austen’s World and I both freely admit to being passionate Jane Austen fans, which tends to infiltrate our everyday world in ways that have us viewing friends and ourselves through Austen’s unique prism. Here is a bit of fun today for your amusement:

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!

56 thoughts on “Which Jane Austen Character Do You Most Indentify With?

  1. I definitely identify with Catherine Morland because of my obsessive love of books, but also Marianne Dashwood because I can be quite emotional and passionate. There’s some sensible Elinor in me, too. Great post!

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  2. ““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!”

    I am the same and yes what total utter bliss and nothing selfish about it at all….

    I very much identify with Eleonor in Sense and S. I have always been a person who people rely on, who looks after others, keeps her mouth shut when she really wants to scream and shout, and I am terribly sensible and practical. Like Eleonor, deep down I am a romantic and when she finally loses her cool with Marianne on the revelation of Edward’s engagement I always feel like shouting YAY as Marianne drives me mad.

    Of course, deep down I have the awful feeling I may be Lady Catherine de Burgh……

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  3. I have often wondered which Austen character is most like me. I fear since having children I have become a bit like Lady Middleton. Most of the time I identify more with Elinor Dashwood but in reality I am probably more like Mary Bennet!

    My husband is mostly Mr Martin with a touch of Mr Palmer.

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  4. I think of myself as Elizabeth Bennet but I’m 51 now so I’d better re-evaluate.I guess I’d like to think I’m Elizabeth at 51. Perhaps I’m most like Aunt Gardiner. Although, with my love of reading, perhaps I’m like Mr. Bennet….

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  5. An amusing post, this one! I’d like to think that I’m most like Elizabeth or Elinor, with wit and reserve, but in truth I’m probably more like the emotional and passionate Marianne…

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  6. Thank you for sharing your conversation Vic and Laurel Ann.

    Having the good fortune of having lunch every so often with you, Laurel Ann, I can tell you I don’t think your conversation at all like that of a John Middleton. I find it very interesting and always have a great time! :)

    I’m a bit of a mix when it comes to Austen characters: Anne Elliot in that I’m observant, reserved, diplomatic, and a good listener. Emma Woodhouse in having a high opinion of myself, Fanny Price in how I’m firm in my beliefs of what’s right and wrong, and Eliza Bennet in believing myself to be a good judge of character.

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    • Thanks for the kind thoughts Katherine. It is interesting how we perceive ourselves and how others view us. On the other hand, you know yourself well. I agree that you are a great Anne Elliot. You do have a sense of adventure and are very inquisitive though – so I would say that there is a dash of Catherine Morland mixed in there.

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  7. LaurelAnn, My first face to face with you and the time I have become acquainted with you, I would never have pegged you as a Harriet Smith. 1– YOU ARE MUCH BETTER READ! (BTW– I am presently reading “George Knightley Esquire.”) I would have chosen a more thoughtful, sensible heroine like Elinor Dashwood… you have a simple, pure elegance!

    Since I am reading an “Emma” book, all those characters are fresh in my head so for me (but more likely because it is cold, wet & dreary!) I would have to choose John Knightley. Yep, a man. Mr. Knightley’s surly brother. “…the folly of not allowing people to be comfortable at home…here we are setting forward to spend five dull hours in another man’s house, with nothing to say or to hear that was not said and heard yesterday…”Chpt13 ;)

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    • LOL Christina – well I hope I’m not Harriet Smith any more. My dear friend who Emma’d me through some terrible life challenges would be happy to hear you say that. John Knightley??? *snort* Isn’t he best friends with Mr. Palmer? ;-)

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    • Thanks for the great idea Vic. Interesting that you and I are characters from the same novel and in-laws who enjoy each others company! We would make a good tag team, annoying those young workmates of yours after drinking too much and laughing very loudly at the office party!

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  8. Pingback: The Jane Austen Character I Most Identify With « Jane Austen's World

  9. I just answered on Vic’s blog that I feel I am nost like Elinor Dashwood, but I identify with Mrs. Russell too! Does anyone know of an easy pattern to make a turban like hers shown above? Thanks!

    Kim

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  10. I daresay I’m a bit of a Charlotte Collins (though without being married to an odious man). I’ve always admired how Austen used sub-characters to move the plot along with their voice of reason while others are losing their heads. I’m more pragmatic than not when it comes to business though I’ve been known on more than one occasion to channel Mrs. Bennet (and I have five daughters). ;)

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  11. Emma – the first Emma on the list. I live a comfortable life, rather refined, in a beautiful house in a small agricultural town. It is a little too sedate, so I strive to improve my own and my children’s accomplishments. I care about my community and volunteer often. We entertain with dinner parties. Prone to matchmaking, I like to make introductions. I’m an Emma. I try to avoid her snobbery, but truthfully, I am faulty and flawed like she. Embarrassingly, I’ve have had my foot in my mouth too. I love revisiting, ‘Emma,’ and wish I could thank JA for dreaming her into creation.

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  12. This is a difficult question to answer. I would not say that I am one character in particular, but a combination of a few characters.

    I would say that I am an Elinor for the quiet reserve that I have. I am not loud in my opinions, though I have silent passions that I do not like known unless I am questioned and prodded for my answer.

    I also like to think I have a bit of Elizabeth as I am amicable with most, unless they have done something to lose my ‘good opinion.’ Then, when I am confronted with that person, I will have that smug smile on my face while quietly putting that person off, making them uncomfortable so that they will go away!

    Then I have a touch of Anne Elliot with her deep and unfaltering love for her Captain Wentworth…. luckily, I did not have to wait eight years to marry mine once I met him!

    Thanks for this post…what fun to ‘define’ oneself!

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  13. Definitely a mix… but I think I relate most to Anne Elliot because I’m steadfast and pretty good at waiting quietly in my corner while the love of my life is sailing around the world (ok, so that didn’t actually happen to me). Also Marianne – seeing with romance-colored glasses, I suppose. And because of that dashing Mr. Willoughby.

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  14. Like you friend Vic, I too can be slightly like Ms. Jennings, but that is only when in company I can truly trust, and am perhaps a little inebriated. I tend to be vulgar, mostly to be funny – but I think I can relate to Mrs. Jennings! lol :P

    Also, my other choice would be a mix between Elizabeth and Jane Bennett – Elizabeth, for her love of books and literature. And Jane, because like darling Jane I have a difficult time expressing my true emotions – and can come off coy, shy and sometimes even uncaring.

    What a lovely, and humorous post. Thank you ladies, SO MUCH, for sharing it with us.

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  15. I would have to say I’m most like Catherine Morland. I have this childlike (and sometimes naive) view of the world around me. I also have a great imagination (it’s why I love to read), and am very transparent (especially to the man in my life).

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  16. Thanks Laurel for the fun post.

    I have to say hands down that I am easily an Elizabeth Bennet.

    Had my own ridiculous proposal/confrontation. Not only was I convinced that they could not make me happy, but I was also convinced that I was the last person in the world that could make them happy. Furthermore, they also would NOT take no for an answer and it was even suggested that I might not get a better offer. *Snort*

    Happy ending ensues: I wouldn’t compromise. Two years later, my own Mr. Darcy found me. We are now in our second DECADE together and are very happy together.

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  17. Oh I don’t know really. I suppose I identify with:

    PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
    Charles Bingley
    Fitzwilliam Darcy
    William Collins
    George Wickham
    Colonel Fitzwilliam
    Edward Gardiner
    Mr. Bennet

    SENSE AND SENSIBILITY
    John Dashwood
    Henry Dashwood
    Edward Ferrars
    Robert Ferrars
    Sir John Middleton
    Col. Christopher Brandon
    John Willoughby
    Thomas Palmer

    EMMA
    George Knightley
    Mr. Woodhouse
    Frank Churchill
    Mr. Weston
    Mr. Elton
    Robert Martin
    John Knightley
    Colonel Campbell
    Mr. Cloe

    Northanger Abbey
    Henry Tilney
    General Tilney
    Captain Frederick Tilney
    John Thorpe
    James Morland
    Mr. Allen
    Mr. Morland

    MANSFIELD PARK
    Sir Thomas Bertram
    Edmund Bertram
    Tom Bertram
    Henry Crawford
    William Price
    Mr. Rushworth
    Mr. Yates

    PERSUASION
    Captain Frederick Wentworth
    Sir Walter Elliot
    William Elliot
    Charles Musgrove
    Mr. Musgrove
    Charles Hayter
    Captain Benwick
    Admiral Croft
    Captain Harville

    I’m a multifaceted sort of person!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    All the best,
    Tony

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  18. Anne Elliot. I say this even though all the polls indicate that no one ever selects Anne as a favorite! My friends might not claim that I’m like her (I was much more persuadable in my youth). But I FEEL like her — quiet, observant, well-read!, loyal, true-hearted, and with my adventures still before me!

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  19. Elizabeth Bennet. I can tend to be very judgmental, like her. I am determined that nothing but the very deepest and strongest love would convince me to enter into the state of matrimony.

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  20. 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.

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  21. I am definitely Catherine Morland, not just, as a previous comment said, because of an obsessive love of books (although that’s true) but also because of my tendency to allow the boundaries between fiction and reality to get blurred and let my imagination get the better of me! And perhaps there’s a bit of Marianne Dashwood because I wear my heart on my sleeve and let everyone know what I’m thinking all the time! I’d love to be more of an Elinor but I’m not really!

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  22. I feel like Anne Elliot or Elinor. I’m observant, a good listener, level-headed and I often have to try to keep the peace in my family.

    I’m most afraid of becoming like Mary Bennet or Miss Bates.

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  23. This is such a fun post, Laurel Ann and Vic!

    Like most, I can identify with several of Austen’s characters: Marianne, for her love of music and poetry; Anne, when people open up their problems to her, even when unsolicited; Emma, for being spoiled and her love of independence; and Lizzie, for being judgmental and being proposed to by a Mr. Collins (mortifying while it’s happening, but can’t help laughing at it afterward! =D)

    And I sincerely hope I don’t turn into a Mr. Bennet (or a Mrs. Bennet for that matter). =)

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  24. What a great post.

    I have to say that when I was young and most impressionable, I was more like Lydia, giddy and boy-crazy,minus the act of disgracing my family. Over the years, evolved into Elinor, a bit wiser and comforter to others within my family.

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  26. Lately, I’ve found myself relating more and more closely with Anne Elliot. Like Anne, I find myself often reserved and unnoticed next to my more outgoing sister. It’s easy to think of myself as making up for my introversion by being the dependable one, the practical one. But secretly I hope that some wonderful man sees my true worth and remains passionately devoted to me no matter what mistakes I make!

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  27. Love this post! I really enjoyed reading everyone’s answers, too.

    I think I can identify myself with a combination of characters, instead of just one:

    Catherine Morland, just a bit, and because I am obsessive in my love of books. I love to sit alone in the peaceful quiet and get “lost” in my books, with no one present to distract me.

    Marianne Dashwood, just slightly, in that I put my whole heart “out there”, and have been known to where my heart of my sleeve.

    And mostly like Elizabeth Bennet… for the love of books, and mostly for a fun, witty nature. I can be proper when I need to be, but “I dearly love to laugh”… one of my favorite things to do! :)

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  28. I would say I am a bit Lizzy (feisty moments), and a dash of Catherine Moreland, because I do so love a good Gothic novel, but mostly I feel like Anne Elliot. Not that I am easily persuaded, but more in the fact that I am the sibling that tends to feel the responsibility of family obligations the most, and also bears difficult situations with quiet resolve.

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  29. Every Austen quiz on the Net tells me I’m Elizabeth Bennet. Of course, we all know how easy it is to skew those results, so let’s take that with a grain of salt shall we?

    Still, after some thought I think I am most like Lizzy, with a dash of Marianne thrown in to spice things up. I have a quick wit and sharp tongue which occasionally get me in trouble. (Such as when I suggested to my boss that the only similarity between work and the Tower of London is that they are both places of enforced confinement.) I make snap judgments and it is difficult to talk me out of them. I am generally assessing situations, not individuals, but those impressions shade how I perceive the people involved. I am my father’s favorite daughter… well, his only daughter but I believe that still counts. I am often amused by the ridiculousness in every day life, and I am determined not to marry for anything but love.

    That brings me to my drop of Marianne–I have a horrible habit of falling for the wrong man, and being completely blind to the fact. Dear Marianne only had one Willougby, I’m afraid I have… well, more than one. I tend to let my emotions rule me, but unlike Marianne, I maintain my sense of propriety.

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  30. Alas, I am Mr. Bennet. We are probably about the same age but I’m a little more fortunate in that my wife is not a silly woman!

    I have Mr. Bennet’s sarcastic and biting wit which has gotten me into trouble more than once. I have a kindred spirit for a daughter. When we get going nobody else in the family can figure out what we’re talking about.

    I’m a voracious reader and would spend my days hiding in the library.

    I’m not above poking good-humored fun at many in my family.

    I’m somewhat impulsive in that when I make my mind up, yes indeed I will contact anyone at a moment’s notice and surprise my family, friends and associates in the process.

    I don’t worry a lot about money or the future but instead let my wife worry for me because I’m much too busy reading my latest book!

    Who else could I be but Mr. Bennet??

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  31. Hmm… I love this topic, but it is one of the hardest things to choose. In some respects, I’m like Catherine Moreland, a voracious reader with an overactive imagination which gets me in trouble sometimes. (I’ve spontaneously read a few of the creepier Jane Austen fan fictions and then had trouble sleeping after.) :-) I am also a bit naive and innocent about somethings. I would also put myself as a composite of the two Dashwood sisters with Marianne’s romanticism and love of a dead leaf but with Elinor’s ability to hide her emotions and opinions from those who shouldn’t see them.

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  32. Pingback: On Comparing ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ and ‘Persuasion’ « Breadcrumb Reads

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