On the 10th Day ‘Til Christmas: Merry Christmas from the Austen Novels

On the 10th Day ’til Christmas my blogger gave to me

The Lovely Jane

A Jane Austen Birthday Wish!

For those of you who don’t know, today is Jane Austen’s birthday. If she was alive today, she would  be 237 years old. I know it’s not a Christmas-y movie, but what kind of Austenite would I be if I completely ignored the fact that it is her birthday on my blog?

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Jane Austen was an amazing woman who faced all kinds of adversary. Her father was a minister, and while well off to begin with, they ended up losing most of their money living in poverty. She fell in love with a high class man, and wanted to marry him; but his family intervened and sent him away. She was given another opportunity to marry a wealthy man that would have saved her and her family from destitution, but  she couldn’t marry him. She continued to wait for her true love; although he never walked back into her life. Her first book she ever wrote, Northanger Abbey (then called Lady Susan) was published post-mortem. Her second novel and the most famous, Pride and Prejudice, was turned down several times before being published. In fact, it was published after she wrote her third novel, Sense and Sensibility.

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Austen wrote not only great stories that have stood the test of time, but wrote about real issues and her more radical thoughts/philosophies, that wouldn’t be as easily accepted if spoken in person. In Northanger Abbey, we are all delighted as the main character is someone we can easily connect to. We all feel like Catherine at times in our lives, hoping that we will have an adventure and meet a dashing hero.

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This idea of a girl wanting the life of a novel, and ending up living one is later used and recycled in films such as Romancing the StoneAusten also pokes fun at all the social graces and little customs one must abide by, even though they are silly. It is a satire on societal rules and the gothic novel itself. However, it is a great book and one of Austen’s favorites.

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Pride and Prejudice  has so many things that are amazing to it. First of all parts of it are taken from her own life-a middle class poverty line woman falling for a high class man. Unfortunately she didn’t get the same ending. But Pride and Prejudice has such wit and wonderful lines; there is a reason why it is referenced in everything, has had a ton of movies and TV shows, spinoffs, vlogs, blogs, etc. I love it because the characters are so real. Elizabeth and Darcy are everywhere in the world. I’m a Darcy myself; every time I read it I always feel for him. But more on our shared traits later. I’m also an Elizabeth, they way she treats Darcy and others, when reading that its like looking into a mirror.

Go here to see who you are.

Go here to see who you are.

Emma, well I already stated that she and I have a lot alike. Sister’s amor hating you, a guy who won’t stop following you around. In my case 3), a friend who has a trifecta of boys rejecting her, deciding to become a spinster, and has meddled in friend’s love lives…need I go on? There are probably many of you out there who have had similar experiences. Not only that, but Jane Austen was able to share her own ideas of spinsterhood and how being a spinster who could care for one self (like Jane was able to in her writing) was nothing to look down on or pity. Austen said she was going to make a character that only she would love, but Emma has become beloved by all. Just like her modern counterpart, Cher from Clueless, there is something about that girl that is just lovable.

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Mansfield Park, while it isn’t my favorite is still a great read. We see a woman, although she is meek and timid through most of the novel, isn’t afraid to say no to a “a good thing”. *Spoiler Alert stop reading now if you haven’t read the book* When Henry Crawford asks her to marry him, even though he is rich and could save her family from destitution, she says no. She holds out for her number one, even when threatened to be kicked out of the Bertram house. Very Austonian there. She even continues to be kind and nice to all around her, even though they constantly use and abuse her. She is a true heroine, very Uncle Tom, never turning to hate or anger.

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I know I could never do that; Aunt Norris would have been punched in the eye already.

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But Fanny continues to be good, and when everyone else’s lives fall apart; she is there to help all pick up the pieces. The whole guy being blinded by the wrong girl, is also very real, I’ve had two friends like that.

Sense and Sensibility, deals with the line between expression. I liked how there is the question of whether too much of either is bad and how much does one need? We have Marianne full of sensibilities, wearing her heart on her sleeve; but we see this gets her into trouble as she expresses too much, before anything is promised to her.

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Elinor, expresses nothing, being purely intellectual and sensible; but this causes her to almost lose the man she loves.

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While both sisters are the best of friends; their extremes cause the other to never fully know their sister. Marianne can never see what Elinor is feeling and makes all these assumptions about a “frozen” heart. Elinor on the other hand, never imagines that Marianne has any sense as she assumes she is solely governed by feelings. I liked how the sisters were never privy to each others complete secrets as I feel this is realistic. I can see myself and my sister in these.

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Persuasion, is one of the saddest novels that Austen wrote, because even though it ends happily it was pure wish fulfillment. *Spoiler Alert stop reading now if you haven’t read the book* Anne is persuaded by her friend to not marry her love. He ends up leaving but returns, and after a series of misunderstandings the two are reunited. Austen always hoped that her love would return just like Captain Wentworth, but he never did.

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She also uses a strong irony in this as Anne was rich when she turned down poor Wentworth, but when he returns Anne is poor and Wentworth rich. I simply love this book because it seems so real, how the characters react and treat each other are the emotions they actually would. Austen also does a great line about women being portrayed as a “femme fatale” so often as men are the writers of these novels; therefore the view is biased. Great book to check out.

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Austen lived only 42 years, but changed the history of the novel with her great works. She has changed my life and I hope you give her a chance to influence yours. Happy Birthday Jane!

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Now to tie this into Christmas:

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The very first day that [James] Morland came to us last Christmas–the very first moment I beheld him–my heart was irrecoverably gone.”

-Northanger Abbey, pg 142

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I sincerely hope your Christmas in Hertfordshire may abound in the gaieties which the season generally brings…”

-Pride and Prejudice, pg 122

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I remember last Christmas…he danced from eight o’clock to four, without once sitting down.”

Sense and Sensibility, pg 30

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If they were at home to grace the ball, a ball you would have this very Christmas.”

-Mansfield Park, pg 262

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At Christmas every body invites their friends and thinks little of even the worst weather.”

-Emma, pg 97

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On one side was a table occupied by chattering girls, cutting up silk and gold paper; and on the other were tressels and trays, bending under the weight of brawn and cold pies, where riotous boys were holding high revel; the whole completed by a roaring Christmas fire…”

 Persuasion, pg 80

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So there you go! Merry Christmas!

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To start the 12 Posts of Christmas from the beginning, go to On the 12th Day ’til Christmas: The 12 Men of Christmas (2009)

For the previous post, go to On the 11th Day ’til Christmas: The Santa Clause (1994)

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For another Northanger Abbey post, go to Mr. Tilney’s Dating Tips

For more Pride & Prejudice, go to On the 12th Day ‘Til Christmas: The 12 Men of Christmas (2009)

For another Sense & Sensibility post, go to Let’s Hear It For the Boys

For more on Emma, go to By George He’s Perfect!

For more on Mansfield Park, go to Part IX: Adventures in Movie Lines

For another Persuasion post go to A Fredrick Wentworth Sighting

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Let’s Hear it For the Boys

So since today is Veteran’s Day I was going to do a post about 11 of my favorite war movies. However since it has been a while since my last Austenite post (not counting the Halloween one), I thought it would be better to do a list of my favorite Austen military men. As Deniece Willams’ put it so well. “Let’s hear it for the boys!“.

So here we go.

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9) Colonel Fitzwilliam

Colonel Fitzwilliam is from Pride and Prejudice and is the cousin of Mr. Darcy. He doesn’t feature too much in the story as he is supposed to be at first seen as a “character foil” for Mr. Darcy (but turns out to not be as we later realize we have misjudged Darcy) along with furthering the plot (such as revealing there is more to Darcy’s character, that Darcy broke up Bingley and Jane, etc.).

He is a very nice and funny man. He is in the military as he is the second son, and therefore forced to work as he will not inherit. But even though he makes it clear to Elizabeth that nothing will happen (as she isn’t rich enough) he still treats her like a person and is great fun for Elizabeth to hang out with.

Col. Fitzwilliam now seated himself by Elizabeth, and talked so agreeably of Kent and Hertfordshire, of traveling and staying at home, of new books and music, that Elizabeth had never been half so well entertained in that room before; and they conversed with so much spirit and flow…”

And to be honest, that’s all most people really want.

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8) Captain Harville

Captain Harville is from Persuasion and is a friend and fellow soldier of Captain Wentworth. He is a kind man who was wounded and retired from the military. He has a home in Lyme where everyone comes to visit and where Louisa gets injured at.

He is such a sweet and unassuming man. He opens him home up for everyone, and when Louisa gets hurt, allows her to stay there as long as she wants to until she is recovered. He is a great friend to Fredrick Wentworth and helps him realize how much he is in love with Anne.

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7) Sir John Middleton 

Sir John is from Sense and Sensibility and while some find him annoying I think he is a really nice guy. He can be a bit intrusive and a gossip, involving himself in other’s affairs (primarily Colonel Brandon’s love life), but he has a kind and gentle heart.

When the Dashwood’s are kicked out of their home, he lets them his cottage for a price far under what it is worth. Not only does he do that, but he invites them over to his house daily, supplying them with food and comfort far beyond their current ability.

He is fiercely loyal and caring for his friends; standing by Colonel Brandon even when others say things about his rash behavior of breaking up their planned outing. He even forgives Willoughby after the whole Marianne issue.

For more on Sir John Middleton, go to A Bit Pottery About Jane Austen

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6) Admiral Croft

Admiral Croft is also from Persuasion and is married to Captain Fredrick Wentworth’s sister. He is the perfect naval gentleman; kindly, genial, and good-looking (according to the Anne’s shallow and appearance obsessed father). He and his wife are so adorable, as they are also so clearly in love and can’t bear to be separated from each other for long periods of time. Anne considers them the happiest married couple she has ever met, and a role model for what she hopes to have one day.

I love how he gets rid of all of Sir Walter’s mirrors. I agree with him that Sir Walter was extremely excessive in that.

“I have done very little [changes] besides sending away some of the large looking-glasses from my dressing-room, which was your father’s…Such a number of looking-glasses! oh Lord! there was no getting away from one’s self. So I got Sophy to lend me a hand, and we soon shifted their quarters; and now I am quite snug, with my little shaving glass in one corner, and another great thing that I never go near.”

He is also very sweet. He and his wife care for Anne, giving her rides and taking her in to be part of their family. When Sir Walter snubs them in Bath, they take it with good humor and continue on their way.

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5) Colonel Campbell

We never get to see Colonel Campbell, but we get to hear all about him. He is from Emma, and the man who took care of Jane after her parents died. He was an old family friend and when Jane was reduced to the Bates’ poor circumstances he took Jane into his family and cared for her.

It was so nice of Colonel Campbell to do that for Jane. He could have just ignored her, but instead brought her into his family! Although he couldn’t provide her the same kind of future as his own child, what he gave her was much better than what she would have had without him. Through this she met the awful Frank Churchill, (more later on why I don’t like him), and had a “happy” future (Austen makes it seemingly happy but I don’t think one could be happy being married to Frank).

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4) Captain Benwick

Captain Benwick is also from Persuasion, (most of these military men are as Persuasion is a miltary filled novel).

Captain Benwick is such an adorable man. He is so kind but has such a sad story. He was in love with Captain Harville’s sister, but when she died, he stopped living his life, depressed and heartbroken over her loss. He’s so cute and romantic.

In the novel he makes a real connection with Anne, both understanding each other through their similar pain of losing the one they love. Benwick loves poetry, mostly melancholy ones, and Anne’s helps him out of his funk by discussing lighter and better ones. Without her he would never have had the courage to love another, Louisa Musgrove, or ask her hand.

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3) Lieutenant William Price

William Price is from the book Mansfield Park, and is Fanny’s older brother. He is the only one who remains in contact with her when she moves away, and is the epitome of the kind, caring, older brother.

“His last thought on leaving home was for her. He stepped back again to the door to say, ‘Take care of Fanny, mother. She is tender, and not used to rough it like the rest of us. I charge you, take care of Fanny.”

He shares a lot of sinilar traits as Edmund, although he doesn’t act as dumb as him. (More on this later). To Fanny, those two men are the most important people in her life.

William is honest and hard-working, which unfortunately not too helpful in moving up the ranks in the military, in times of peace. At this time in history, to get a good position in peace times, was only by having purchased a commission or position. He doesn’t get a big break until Henry Crawford pulls some strings, trying to get on Fanny’s good side.

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 2) Captain Fredrick Wentworth

Captain Fredrick Wentworth is the romantic hero of Persuasion. He is adorable and wonderful, I just adore him. After Anne breaks his heart, he goes off bravely combating anything in war. While he puts on a tough exterior, he is still in agony over losing Anne. At first he is a tad mean to her, mostly being cold or ignoring her presence; but this is perfectly understandable as he has spent years in pain over her; never realizing that she has been feeling the exact same way. He thought she didn’t want to be with him because he was poor and of a lower class.

He flirts with other girls to make her jealous, but realizes that he was crazy to do so as he could never imagine himself with any one but Anne. He thinks that he has lost her, but her conversation with Harville about women loving longer than men convinces him otherwise  and encourages him to write one of the best Austen letters. More on him later, as he deserves his own post like Knightly.

For more on Captain Frederick Wentworth, go to A Fredrick Wentworth Sighting 

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1) Colonel Brandon

 Colonel Brandon is one of the best Austen heroes. He’s from Sense and Sensibility and has such a sad story, but still remains kindly and good-hearted.

When he was younger he fell in love with a girl, but his father broke them up. He went on to India, but she went down an awful life as she feel in love with a man and was left alone pregnant. She died young, and Brandon took care of her child, raising it as his own.

He fell in love with Marianne, not caring that she had no fortune, but instead loving her mind and spirit. He is rich and of high social standing, but doesn’t allow those customs dictate the ways of his heart. He continues loving her and caring for her; even though all she thinks of him is an “old man”. He never gives up and does all he can to help her. When she is injured and caught in the rain the second time, he carries her to safety and travels a great distance to bring her mother to her.

He is kind, generous, and one of the most amazing Austen men; my top military man. He will be getting his own post too, eventually.

For more on Colonel Brandon, go to It’s All Jane Austen’s Fault

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I just want to end this post with my most heartfelt thanks to to all who have served our country and for those currently serving. Thank you so much for everything you have done and for all the sacrifices you have made. I am so happy to live in a country that gives honor to those who deserve it for all that they do. Happy Veteran’s Day! 

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For the previous holiday post go to Horrorfest

For more on Pride and Prejudice, go to A Halloween Hello from the Austen Men

For another Persuasion post, go to A Letter of Love

For more on Sense and Sensibility, go to On the 10th Day ‘Til Christmas

For another Emma related post, go to I’m No Warrior, I’m an Assistant Pig-Keeper

For more on Mansfield Park, go to Part IX: Adventures in Movie Lines