Should We Pity Miss Bates or Strive to Be Her?

Oh Miss. Bates. Often we see her in Emma  films or when we encounter her in the story we ignore her:

Find her annoying:

Or pity her:

But then something stood out to me this time I read it that made me wonder…

Hmm…

Maybe WE have always approached this character the wrong way and we should actually strive to BE her.

So let’s start at the beginning.

Miss Bates was the daughter of a vicar, he having passed on and left the family in an improvised state.

She isn’t known to be intelligent, witty, or wise.

She wasn’t considered beautiful when she was young and isn’t seen as such now,

She never was courted, engaged, or married.

Her youth passed by with no distinction.

She now is middle-aged and spends all her time taking care of her elderly mother.

 And she spends most of her time trying to stretch her dollars as far as they can go.

Yes, life seems to be pretty grim.

So why should we want to be like her?

Because, despite ALL this, despite her life and circumstances, this is how she is:

“And yet she was a happy woman, and a woman whom no one named without good-will[sic].”

And where does this happiness come from? How does she have such pleasant emotion in such a bleak situation?

“It was her own universal good-will[sic] and contented temper which worked such wonders.”

Yes, her happiness isn’t derived from objects, money, people, beauty, etc. She is happy because she wants to be happy…

And because she can find pleasure in everything.

“She loved everybody, was interested in everyone’s happiness, quicksighted[sic] to every body’s merits: thought herself a most fortunate creature, and surrounded with blessings in such an excellent mother, and so many good neighbors and friends, and a home that wanted for nothing.”

Yes, most of us would be complaining, grumbling, whining, or disgusted to have her life…

But that isn’t how Miss Bates react. Instead she is joyful in everything and thankful for all she has in her life, even though most would view it as nothing. She reminds me of the green onion girl from Veggietales. Always joyful in everything.

And because of her joyful spirit she finds herself enjoying “a most uncommon degree of popularity.”

And that’s why I believe we should strive to be like her. How much nicer would life be if we learn to love what we have? If we tried to be kind and compassionate to all? If we looked at the good in others and our life instead of focusing on the negative?

For more on Miss Bates, go to A Bit Pottery About Jane Austen

For more Emma, go to When You Shockingly Relate to Mr. Woodhouse

For more Cristina Garcia quotes, go to Optimum Image

For more Charles Dickens quotes, go to Trek the Halls with Bones and Scotty

For more L.M. Montgomery quotes, go to I’m the Happiest Girl on Prince Edward Island: Anne of Green Gables

For more bible verses, go to Each Illustration is a Little Story. If You Watch Them, In a Few Minutes They Tell You a Tale: The Illustrated Man

For more Steve Maraboli quotes, go to The Final Chapter

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200 Years of Glorious Emma

So as I mentioned in an earlier post, I decided instead of reading through each Jane Austen novel one by one, I will instead read four chapters of one and then move on to another, then another, etc; that way each book would get posted on. I decided to do this mainly because Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey, and Persuasion are really forgotten in the Austen fan world. Also because it is more fun this way. I started with Pride and Prejudice as it turned 200 in 2013. Then I moved on to Sense and Sensibility as it was the first book published. I should do Mansfield Park next, but decided to wait as this year is a special year. Yes 2015 marks the 30th anniversary of 1985, of which I have written a post celebrating The Breakfast Club, will be posting one on Back to the Future, and one honoring the rest of the awesome stuff that came out that year. BUT, 2015 marks another anniversary, this Christmas marks the 200th Birthday of Emma.

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Emma is a very unique character unlike any of the other Austen heroines. Many people don’t like this book because they don’t like Emma. I know my friends who love Austen tend to like her least of all the Austen heroines as they think she is too shallow or silly. In fact Jane Austen herself said that in writing Emma:

“I am going to take a heroine whom no one but myself will much like.”

Well I love Emma. Most likely because she and I have a lot of similarities.

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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, has meddled in friends’ love lives…need I go on?

I am who I am

I am who I am

There are probably many of you out there who have had similar experiences.

But Emma is more than just fluff and comedic moments. Through this novel Jane Austen was able to share her own ideas of spinsterhood and how being a spinster who could care for one’s self (like Jane was able to) was nothing to look down on or pity.

Yep, just like her modern counterpart, Cher from Clueless, there is something about that girl that is just lovable.

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Not to mention Emma has the amazing Mr. Knightly.

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Like with the other two books, I will also will be reviewing books and films that are either another version/interpretation of the story or based on the book with a twist. Hope you all enjoy!

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Books:

Emma: A BabyLit Emotions Primer by Jennifer Adams

A Visit to Highbury: Another View of Emma by Joan Austen-Leigh & Jane Austen

Dangerous to Know, Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues: MODERATE edited by Christina Boyd

Victoria and the Rogue (An Avon True Romance #12) by Meg Cabot

Mr. Knightley’s Diary (Jane Austen Heros #2) by Amanda Grange

Pride, Prejudice, and Personal Statements by Mary Pagones

Amanda by Debra White Smith

Daring Chloe (Getaway Girls #1) by Laura Jensen Walker

Jane Fairfax by Joan Aiken

The Importance of Being Emma (Darcy & Friends #1)  by Juliet Archer

Emma & Knightley: The Sequel to Jane Austen’s Emma by Rachel Billington

Charity Envieth Not (George Knightley, Esquire #1) by Barbara Cornthwaite

Only With You (The Jane Austen Academy Series #5) by Cecilia Gray

Emmalee (The Jane Austen Diaries #4) by Jenni James

Emma and the Werewolves: Jane Austen’s Classic Novel with Blood-Curdling Lycanthropy by Adam Rann & Jane Austen

Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reave

Film:

Emma (1948)

Emma (1945)

Emma (1957)

Emma (1960)

Emma (1972)

Clueless (1995)

Emma (1996) AKA Gwyneth Paltrow

Emma (1996) AKA Kate Beckinsale

Emma (2009)

Aisha (2010)

Emma Approved (2013)

We Are Family: Austentatious, Episode 1 (2015)

Big Girls Don’t Cry: Austentatious, Episode 2 (2015)

Hit Me With Your Best Shot: Austentatious, Episode 3 (2015)

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For more on Emma, go to Opening With…

For more quizzes, go to Lookin’ Over a Four-Leaf Clover

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.

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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!

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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

Readmoreimportant

After all:

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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

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.

Emma_Buggin

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.

classy Lady

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