Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
I am not claiming to be Lizzy Bennet. In fact, I’m probably more similar to Mary, as depressing as that is. But her frustration with the world, and her love for behaving the way she wants to behave is something a lot of women can relate to. I think a lot of women would like to be as smart and funny as her, obeying some of societies rules and then disregarding those they felt were ridiculous. I wouldn’t mind having a Mr. Darcy either, but that is something else entirely.
Image credit: Pop Culture is my Life
Persuasion by Jane Austen
(Slight spoilers ahead)
Yet another Austen novel. I was originally determined when I was young to never enjoy a Jane Austen novel. I don’t really appreciate romantic books (nor, for that matter, the underdeveloped romantic subplots that come as per-requisites in some genres – I’m looking at you thrillers), and everyone told me that Jane Austen’s novels were so romantic. No-one mentioned they were also funny. Persuasion, however, is that rare beast where I can appreciate the romance and the comedy equally. It’s a beautifully told romance, Anne Elliot is awesome, and while I’m not sure I would appreciate a declaration of love written down in letter form rather than spoken out loud, you could do worse than receiving such a letter from the plain hot Captain Wentworth.
I would also recommend the 2007 ITV adaptation of Persuasion. While there are some deviations from the plot, it is both funny and sweet, Sally Hawkins is great as Anne, and Rupert Penry-Jones is so good looking as Captain Wentworth. Take me to sea, Captain.
Image credit: Books, my ego and entropy
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
After not expecting to enjoy Pride and Prejudice or Persuasion and doing just the opposite, after really liking the Ang Lee film adaptation of this book, and from hearing a friend declare this was her favourite Jane Austen novel, I was ready to really enjoy Sense and Sensibility. Instead I found a book I had to struggle to get through, and I didn’t feel all that satisfied with by the end. I usually like the stories of Jane Austen, and though I can get annoyed by the supporting characters (as is to be expected) I usually really like the main character. Eleanor Dashwood, however much I like her practicality, was an exception to this rule: it was her dislike of many people who were kind to her and treated her well that grated for me. I did not dislike her as a whole, just certain elements. But after Anne Elliot and Lizzie Bennet, I suppose I was expecting more. For once the film outshines the book for me.
Runner up: The Shadow of the Wind – if you say someone is going to die don’t cop out by having them die ‘temporarily’. So frustrating.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
When I was younger I avoided Jane Austen books like the plague. I had been told they were all about love and romance, and I was far more interested in action and fantasy to pay them any attention. Turns out that people forget to mention that Austen was actually really funny. That sense of humour is the main reason, at least for me, that Pride and Prejudice is so good; never mind that Mr Darcy is so dreamy. That, and Elizabeth Bennet. Lizzie is so funny and self assured – she knows what she wants, and to marry someone she would despise is not it. She is such a strong female character, something that can be rare now, never mind in the 19th century, when the book was written. If someone had told me that Pride and Prejudice was a comedy with a brilliant main character, and a romance that would make me giggle at the same time as swooning then maybe I would have been looking forward to the book a lot more. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised.
Note: the humour of Jane Austen is something that I think Joe Wright’s version of Pride and Prejudice gets right. It’s a funny film, whereas most Austen adaptations focus too much on the romance for my liking.
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