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Monday, December 16, 2013

Happy Birthday Jane Austen!

Today Jane Austen is remembered as a classic story teller, and rightfully so! Her stories are still  recognized today, and they have inspired many modern storytellers. Without Pride and Prejudice, we wouldn't have The Lizzie Bennet Diares. And without Emma, there would be no Emma Approved. 

In honor of Jane Austen, these are my favorite stories and characters. 

1. Persuasion: This is my favorite Jane Austen novel. It is a story about hope in spite of regret. Anne's journey from living under the shadow of expectations to discovering what she truly wants has inspired me to do the same. Captain Wentworth himself is charming, and his letter to Anne is the moment I remember most from the story. 

2. Emma: Despite many people not liking this character, I admire Emma's confidence. She does have faults, but she doesn't let her mistakes keep her from moving forward. Her obsession with matchmaking is a reflection of her desire to be useful. Mr Knightley is her confidante, and he is never afraid to point out when Emma is wrong. Mr Knightly is actually my favorite Austen hero. He is awkward and shows his concern for Emma by teasing her, and his lectures are based on his care for Emma. 

3. Pride and Prejudice: Elizabeth Bennet is such an amazing character. She is smart, brave, honest and follows her heart. Her story is entertaining. She won't settle, and she is determined to help her sister find happiness. Her fault is judging others, and once she meets Darcy, a new game comes into play. Both Elizabeth and Darcy view the world by judging others and believing that they are better than them. Their faults are challenged when they meet, because they mirror each other. This is what makes Pride and Prejudice such a charming story. Both Elizabeth and Darcy grow once they learn to look past their judgements and give people a chance. 

4.Northanger Abbey: Catherine is the ultimate daydreamer in Austenland. Her love of gothic novels and excitement causes her to lose sight of reality. I can relate to this. Being lost in a story, and wanting something exciting to happen I often have my head in the clouds. Mr. Tilney is also a silly person, and the siliest of Austen's heroes. His charm and happy go lucky attitude really compliments Catherine's romantization of the real world. The novel is charming because not only is it a satire, but it is also a great lesson not to let your imagination remove you from reality completely. 

Jane Austen's stories are wonderful commentaries on social life, the process of growing up and the ability to listen to your heart. 

Here are my favorite adaptions: 

BBC Pride and Prejudice
The Lizzie Bennet Diaries
Bride and Prejudice
Persuasion (1998)
BBC Emma
Emma Approved
Northanger Abbey (2007)

Which of Jane Austen's stories speak to you?

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