Oh, Jane Austen, I have missed you!

You may recall my post from November about this mini-Jane Austen challenge, but probably not 🙂 I gave up Jane Austen in 2010 and so was unable to participate in this. But it’s simple enough that I think I can do it all in a single post, rather than one post every day for 30 days as was originally intended.

But back in November, I said this:

I was looking through Shannon’s blogroll at Giraffe Days, and upon viewing Christina Reads! blog I found a 30-day Jane Austen meme. :cry: This would be right up my alley, if I hadn’t decided to take the year off from Jane Austen.

So now I’m ready to do it 😀

The Jane Austen Challenge

1. Favorite Austen heroine.
I think this is probably the hardest question for me. I love Lizzie Bennet’s strong-will, but I also love that Anne Elliot’s love transcended the time apart from her soul mate–and she finally stood up for her man, even when everyone else said he wasn’t good enough. And I love Marianne and Elinor Dashwood both, for the very things that make them different from one another (Marianne isn’t too romantic, like I find Catherine Morland). So I think I’m going to have to go with Elinor, possibly because I think in reality I’m most like her (even if I’d rather have more of a backbone, like Lizzie).

2. Favorite Austen man.
My first instinct for this one was “This is another tough question!” But, after thinking for a few minutes, it’s not all that hard. Darcy. I know that might seem cliche, loving him most and he’s the hero in what I view as Austen’s most popular book. But let’s look at it logically. (I pretty much stuck to man = hero in this one.) Colonel Brandon is nice, but just a bit of a creeper. Edward Ferrars had no spine (I’m just being honest 🙂 ). Mr. Knightley…well, I just wasn’t as fond of Emma as I was the other books, so that rules him out. Edmund Bertram–he was pretty blind to some obvious things. Tilney, I don’t know–I just didn’t get him sometimes. But Captain Wentworth has an honorable mention for this one: he was just a good man. But he didn’t rescue his lady as Darcy did, which makes him lose by just a smidgen. And yes, Darcy had a weird way of showing his love, especially when trying to express it in words. But his actions spoke louder than words.

Now, I know you might all think I’m completely crazy, but I think Willoughby in S&S is also one of my favorite men. He’s a villain more than a hero, to be sure. But he, unlike most villains, knew what he did wrong. He admitted his faults. And he did truly love Marianne, unlike most of the other villains who didn’t truly love their ladies. But he couldn’t make up for the wrong he had done and punished himself in the process. But I like him anyway.

PS- If you’re interested, the PBS Masterpiece website has a fun little thing about the men in Austen’s novels. You can look at them and choose which one you like most and see who is more popular than others. It’s pretty fun. (And enlightening: Did you know Darcy’s 10,000 a year would be 6M today?!) Here is the link: The Men of Austen.

3. Favorite Austen book.
Pride and Prejudice is my favorite. But Persuasion moves closer to it in standing each time I read it. (While Sense and Sensibility slips down each time I read it 😕 )

4. Favorite quote from the books.
Well, of course I love this line: “In vain I have struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” But I love the whole argument that ensues, especially Darcy’s completely stupid, to say the least, pointing-out of the faults which surround Lizzie and her family, etc. But, you know, it’s okay…because he loves her in spite of these 🙂

5. Favorite moment in the books.
I have to say the part when Lizzie tells-off Lady Catherine is really a lovely moment. But I think my favorite moment in all of the books is when the Dashwood women don’t realize that Lucy married  Robert Ferrars and they are talking to Edward about who they think is his wife. I might just like this because it ends in Edward and Elinor getting together and happy endings are coming. But oh well 🙂

6. Favorite movie adaptation.
I know it is long, but I have to say the BBC Pride and Prejudice is my favorite. But that is because it is the one movie that is truest to the book. However, the recent PBS Masterpiece films have also been AMAZING! I really want to buy this version of Persuasion (what a dreamy Wentworth!)

7. Favorite Austen couple.
I love Jane and Bingsley. They are so made for each other and are so alike they don’t realize it! But, for what it was worth, I think I really liked Marianne and Willoughby together, as well. I know it didn’t end well, because of his past decisions, but had that not been a problem, I think they would’ve really made each other happy.

8. Least favorite couple.
I know they’re not a couple in the sense this question is seeking, but I really despised Henry and Mary Crawford in Mansfield Park. If anyone could’ve brought more destruction to a home than these two, I’d like to know who they are.

9. Most hated foe of a heroine.
Is it weird that I think I actually dislike Lady Russell the most? Sure, there are the men who decide to play games with the new people they meet and everything. But Lady Russell is different. She was supposed to be a friend of Anne’s. But, given Anne’s possibilities for her future, let’s be realistic. Captain Wentworth was as perfect for her 7-8 years before she finally ended up with him. And what sort of friend convinces someone to dump a person they’re truly in love with? Not a good one!

10. Most frustrating family member.
Mrs. Bennet and Mr. Elliot are equally “silly”. Both are entirely obsessed with standing and how they and theirs look.

11. Least favorite book.
Mansfield Park was the book I had the most trouble getting through. I had to start it twice before I finally finished it. But I tend to think that Northanger Abbey is a really silly book, what with Catherine’s romantic views on the whole world around her (but, to give her credit, she is the youngest heroine). But I’d still have to stick with MP.

12. Least favorite Austen heroine.
Fanny Price. For no real reason except that she just happens to be the heroine of my least favorite JA book 😕

13. Least favorite Austen man.
Henry Crawford. What an ass!

14. Favorite love confession from the books.
I still love that scene where Darcy confesses his love for Lizzie. But when Mr. Elton confessed his love for Emma in the carriage–that was priceless.

15. Favorite love confession from the films.
Tough one, but I think I’d have to go for one of the modern twists of the books. So, either when Mark Darcy tells Bridget Jones he loves her in Bridget Jones’ Diary or when Elton jumps on Cher in Clueless (a modern Emma).

16. Least favorite film adaptation.
I think I have liked them all 🙂 But, as Mansfield Park is my least favorite book, I guess it would make sense that it be my least favorite movie. Although I thought some of the casting in the first Persuasion was a little off–that Anne looked much older than 27!

17. Moment that made you sad/cry while reading.
I don’t know that I ever really got too sad from reading these books. In most cases, those who had the really bad things happen to them deserved it. But I did feel bad for Fanny Price when she was sent back to live with her parents. She didn’t deserve to be sent back to such a hovel, especially when she had not been brought up that way. But all turned out well in the end.

18. Moment that made you smile/happy while reading.
Anytime the hero and heroine realize they can be together and let each other know they love each other makes me happy. I was so giddy when I found out Darcy and Elizabeth were going to be together!

19. Moment that made you laugh while reading.
It really made me laugh when Henry Crawford confessed his love for Fanny Price. I just thought it was hilarious that he was trying to make Fanny fall in love with him and then he fell for her. And got majorly rejected.

20. Moment that made you mad while reading.
When Lady Catherine had the nerve to tell Lizzie that her daughter was meant to marry Darcy and that she wasn’t good enough regardless really pissed me off. I was like, “What right do you have to say that crap?!”

21. Favorite Jane Austen-related photo.
I have to be honest, I don’t have a favorite photo/image that relates to JA. While I love all of the manors and mansions in the movies and the illustrations in some editions of the books, I just prefer my own imaginations 🙂

22. Favorite Austen female casting decision.
At the risk of sounding redundant with my love of P&P, I’d have to say Keira Knightley made a wonderful Lizzie. (But I wasn’t a fan of Matthew Macfadyen as Darcy, so I just picture Keira and Colin when reading it 😀 )

23. Favorite Austen male casting decision.
Alan Rickman as Colonel Brandon. Hit the nail on the head right there! He was older, but not too old and just really personified the character for me.

24. Favorite supporting character.
I always wish I could’ve know Margaret Dashwood a little more. She was such a tomboy, it’d be interesting to see how she’d be written as an older young-lady. I wouldn’t even necessarily call her a supporting character because she wasn’t in the book enough to really be so. But I wish she had been!

25. Favorite family connection (i.e. sister-sister, mother-daughter, brother-sister, etc.)
I like the sister-sister connections, especially Elinor & Marianne and Lizzie & Jane. I have 3 sisters, so I can relate to these situations.

26. Favorite casting cameo from the films.
Dame Judi Dench as Lady Catherine. She’s just a great person for that role. She can do the haughty thing very well 🙂

27. Favorite quote from the films.
I don’t really have a favorite quote from the films. For the most part, those quotes are from the book. But it really makes me mad when the “You must allow to tell you how ardently I admire and love you” line is shortened or otherwise tampered with. Leave well enough alone!

28. Favorite moment from the films.
Whoever thought to have Colin Firth go swimming in that pond at Pemberley when it wasn’t at all included in the book was genius! Yes, it has nothing to do with Austen’s works. But the director definitely took some creative pursuits there 🙂 And Colin Firth is so yummy…

29. Favorite character back story or secret.
I thought it was pretty juicy when we heard just what Willoughby had done in his past, via Colonel Brandon’s enlightenment. Of course I immediately had some feminist thoughts about how men could do whatever they wanted and how that sucked 🙂

30. Character you most relate to.
Elinor Dashwood. I have thoughts like Lizzie Bennet, but I don’t think, given the actual situation, I would be able to stand up for myself like that. (I think it really depends on the situation.) So I’d be more like Elinor–keeping my thoughts to myself 🙂

And, two hours later, I’m done with this post. Congratulations to anyone who took the time and actually read it all 🙂 Yeah, I could’ve put more one word answers and not justified or explained anything, but I guess the teacher in me just does that automatically now.

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