I’ll be honest. I took way too long to settle on a topic for this issue, “Love Triangles.”
I sat and stared at my blank computer screen, racking my brains for something—anything!—yet coming up empty. Finally, I complained to a dear friend (and fellow Femnista writer). “Where have all the good love triangles gone? Why, oh why, can’t I think of one?”
Her response was immediate: “Sense and Sensibility! Your favorite Austen story!”
And lo, out of darkness, there appeared a great light… in my brain, that is. “Oh.” Continue reading
SEPT / OCT 2013: BY VERONICA LEIGH
Not all villains are bent on evil. Most do not even consider their actions evil. In their minds, they’re looking out for their own best interests or they are “following their heart.” Many even have good qualities; they love and give and show flickers of morality. Mr. John Willoughby of Jane Austen’s timeless classic Sense and Sensibility is one of those villains who is not exactly a villain, but he’s not a good man either. When he makes his debut in the story, he seems to come in the form of a knight in shining armor but in reality he is the downfall of many. Continue reading
JAN / FEB 2013: BY CHRISTY McDOUGALL
Recently I read an article about Jane Austen in which Edward Ferrars was remarked upon as unintelligent and uninteresting.
It’s all the rage these days to denigrate the quiet, virtuous character of Edward, along with the similarly quiet and virtuous character of Edmund Bertram (who was called a “dull parson” in the article). They are rarely dealt with kindly in pop culture essays. Apparently, an interesting character (and especially an interesting lover) must be as proud and handsome as Mr. Darcy, as vivacious and popular as Henry Crawford, and as wronged and attractive as Captain Wentworth to be considered “interesting” in our culture. Never mind that Mr. Darcy’s pride gave great pain to the woman he loved, Henry Crawford’s vivacity couldn’t keep him from being deeply distressing to the woman he pretended to love, and Captain Wentworth’s wrongs made him resentful and hurtful to the woman who loved him. At least they’re “interesting.” Continue reading
MAY / JUNE 2012: BY LIANNE M. BERNARDO
ELINOR WAS DEEPLY afflicted; but still she could struggle, she could exert herself. This summarizes Elinor Dashwood’s philosophy in life: no matter what happened or how much something bothered her, she would keep moving and not let anything leave her in a state of shock. Continue reading
SEPT / OCT 2011: BY KATHARINE TAYLOR
At a turning point in plot and character development in Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennet stares up in “earnest contemplation” at a portrait of Mr. Darcy hanging in his home. It’s a moment that represents true seeing—she has misjudged him and is beginning to realize her mistake fully. The painting is described in the novel as “a striking resemblance” of the handsome Mr. Darcy, notably wearing a smile on his face instead of the usual expression of disapproval that has characterized him throughout the book.
Pride and Prejudice is not the only classic novel to use art at key moments to illuminate the characters’ thoughts or to provide a visual symbol of conflict. Continue reading