Opening With…

Reminds me of Degas

 

So the other day I was reading the beginning of Northanger Abbey and I realized that Jane Austen is the queen of opening lines

Grease Tell Me more

Yep in all her novels she has some of the best opening lines that just pull you into her work and make you want to read on and find out what’s coming next. Check it out!

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1) Sense and Sensibility

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“The family of Dashwood had been long settled in Sussex. Their estate was large, and their residence was at Norland Park, in the centre of their property, where, for many generations, they had lived in so respectable a manner as to engage the general good opinion of their surrounding acquaintance.”

Right away you pick up on a few key words, had and was.

The family of Dashwood had been long settled in Sussex. Their estate was large, and their residence was at Norland Park, in the centre of their property, where, for many generations, they had lived in so respectable a manner as to engage the general good opinion of their surrounding acquaintance.”

Immediately we know something dramatically changed this family’s fortune and it probably wasn’t a good thing. Now you’re sucked in and you have to find out what happens next? Why can’t they live there anymore? Who are the Dashwoods?

Suspense

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2) Pride and Prejudice

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in posession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”

So I actually did a longer post on this, It is a Truth Universally Acknowledged…. But when you read these words, admit you are ready for the adventure of the book.  In fact this hook is one that has continued to be entertaining for ages. I mean that saying never gets old, but constantly draws you in no matter how many times you have read it.

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3) Mansfield Park

“About thirty years ago, Miss Maria Ward, of Huntingdon, with only seven thousand pounds, had the good luck to captivate Sir Thomas Bertram, of Mansfield Park, in the county of Northampton, and to be thereby raised to the rank of a baronet’s lady, with all the comforts and consequences of an handsome house and large income.”

Oooh who is this Maria Ward now Maria Bertram? Is she an upstanding lady and we should be happy at her fortune? Or she is a harlot and we hate that she used her charms to win Sir Bertram?

maybe

Either way you are intrigued and want to know more about her and her family.

 

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4) Emma

“Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition, seemed to unite some of the best blessings of existence; and had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her.”

So Emma seems like she is a blessed woman and everything is fine in her life. Or is it?

Sound suspicious

Sound suspicious

It sounds to me like there is a big ol’ but coming this way and that something going to happen to change her pristine life. What? I don’t know, but now I need to know.

Emma_Buggin

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5) Northanger Abbey

“No one who had ever seen Catherine Moreland in her infancy would have supposed her born to be a heroine. Her situation in life, the character of her father and mother, her own person and disposition, were all equally against her.”

So here we have a girl that has nothing to make her life seem interesting. Pretty bland…but just those words no one “would have supposed her” means that she is going to beat all the odds and have a fantastic story! After all:

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And we can’t wait to read about it!

excited

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6)Persuasion

Sir Walter Elliot of Kellynch Hall, in Somersetshire, was a man who for his own amusement never took up any book but the Baronetage: there he found occupation for an idle hour, and consolation in a distressed one; there his faculties were roused into admiration and respect, by contemplating the limited remnant of the earliest patents; there any unwelcome sensations, arising from domestic affairs, changed naturally into pity and contempt as he turned over the almost endless creations of the last century; and there, if every other leaf were powerless, he could read his own history with an interest which never failed. This was the page at which the favorite volume always opened: — “ELLIOT OF KELLYNCH HALL. “Walter Elliot, born March 1, 1760, married, July 15, 1784, Elizabeth, daughter of James Stevenson, Esq. of South Park, in the county of Gloucester; by which lady (who died 1800) he has issue, Elizabeth, born June 1, 1785; Anne, born August 9, 1787; a still-born son, November 5, 1789; Mary, born November 20, 1791.”

Yes that paragraph is only two sentences.

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I know, but the rest of the book isn’t like that. So I’m sure you’re first reaction was what an egotistical man.

Ugh

Ugh men

But this pretty interesting opening. It’s the only Jane Austen book that doesn’t open about a woman or a family, but instead focuses on a man. Very different.  And we see that he has three daughters, Elizabeth, Anne, and Mary. So that begs the question which girl is this book going to focus on? Or will it be about all three?

Hmm

Hmm

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You’ll just have to read them to find out the end

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After all:

answerabook

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For more on Sense and Sensibility, go to A Bit Pottery About Jane Austen

For more on Pride and Prejudice, go to First Impressions

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

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

For more on Northanger Abbey, go to Part VIII: The Little Movie Line List

For more on Persuasion, go to Part VI: It Was Said One Night

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For more on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, go to You Can’t Have Just One

For more on Downton Abbey, go to That’s What You Get

For more on Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century, go to Friday Night Fun

For more of my favorite quotes, go to A Little Bit of Love

For more book loving posts, go to You’re Doing It Wrong

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It is a Truth Universally Acknowledged…

Face it when you hear those words “it is a truth universally acknowledged…” your mind goes immediately to Pride & Prejudice imagining Mrs. Bennet attempting to marry off all her girls.

Jane Austen was such an amazing writer. She creates an opening hook that has you deeply invested in the story within two seconds. This hook is one that has continued to be entertaining for ages. I mean that saying never gets old, but constantly draws you in no matter how many times you have read it.

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in posession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”

Unfortunately in today’s time, that no longer seems to be true. Most guys who are well off are more interested in sampling honey pots than buying the actual beehive (like my metaphor? I thought it was a nice change from the milk and cow analogy).

If Mrs. Bennet lived today this would be her immediate reaction:

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She’d be like, “go after that man and use every ounce of your feminine wiles to capture him. He’s rich and a big ticket don’t let him go.”

Keeper

It’s interesting  how marriage is such an important thing for a women in Regency times, especially since her role was to be mother and helpmate, but it is a theme that is a major factor only for our P&P heroines. In Sense & Sensibility, the mother and daughters are not even concerned about marriage, but are focused on their grief for their dead husband and father or occupied on trying to manage their lives in a poorer state of affairs. In Mansfield Park, no one thinks about who Fanny will marry until the rascal Henry Crawford starts paying attention to her. Emma is determined to remain a spinster and her father is thoroughly pleased with that. In Northanger Abbey, Catherine’s family never brings up the question of who and when they should marry their daughter. By the time Persuasion starts, Anne has already turned down two proposals but her extremely vain father is not worried over her lack of a martial state but that she isn’t up to his standards of beauty. Only in P&P do we see a mother so determined to marry off her children. Of course unlike Emma, NA, or Persusaion the Bennets have to worry about an entailed estate and having no male children.

What also is intresting is that even though “a single man in posession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife”; there are many male characters in her novels who have money and do not wish to marry. There is Willoughby, Tom Bertram, Henry Crawford, Captain Tilney, and Mr Elliot (the younger). Willoughby and Mr. Elliot enjoy being single and sampling as many flowers as they can, only marrying to protect their fortune. In Willoughby’s case making sure he is not disinherited (or if he is that he is covered) and in Elliot’s case making sure that his uncle does not remarry and have a male heir; therfore taking his inheritence away. For Captain Tilney and Tom they never marry; Tilney continues his wicked ways while after Tom’s close encounter with death causes him to rethink his life. Henry Crawford is a little different being a Sebastian Valmont-esque character who tries to win the good girl’s affections, but ends up creating a huge scandal with her cousin  and never marrying.

Of course her books are also filled with men who want to get married, after all if they weren’t would we love them as much as we do?

One of the most intriguing things about this phrase is the statement in “want of a wife”. Want’s two most used definitions are “have a desire to possess” or “a lack or deficiency”. Therfore this statement applys to both Binglely (as one who desires a wife) and Darcy (has a lack of one) along with all the other Austen men.

Just like any other mother, Mrs. Bennet can’t help hoping that her daughters will catch the eye and heart of a single man in posession of a good fortune.

If you are interested in buying a shirt  like Lizzie Bennet Zazzle is offering them

Cafepress also sells them and many other Jane Austen inspired products

For a previous Pride & Prejudice post go to Happy Birthday Pride & Prejudice