I have been on a Jane Austen kick lately. First Pride and Prejudice, then Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, then Sense and Sensibility, and now Mansfield Park. While Pride and Prejudice will always be my favorite – thanks to Elizabeth. You go girl! – I see why so many years after she wrote the books they’re still considered classics – and actually read, something a lot of classics never aspire to.
It’s weird, in a way, because there’s not much in those books we can still relate to. Most of us work for a living, can’t play the harp to save our life, expect to be able to choose our own husbands or wives – excuse me, expect to date before marriage and actually love the person – can’t ride, hunt, or shoot, and don’t go to town for the winter. We work, play, study, watch tv, and our lives do not revolve around balls. Plus we get to wear comfortable clothes (although I think every girl has lamented the lack of pretty dresses in her life once or twice), and not to mention, pants. Morals are different, what is considered acceptable behavior is certainly different, and there’s a lot more freedom for both men and women.
Yet even though our lives are so different from the Austen heroines, we still devour her books. I couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen to Fanny in Mansfield Park; it was more exciting than a thriller! Maybe it’s the romance element that is still topical, or maybe it’s just because Austen is so good at making characters come alive. Maybe it’s both, I don’t know.
Unfortunately, I have now exhausted my supply of Austen books, so I will have to move on to reading other things…one of my classes for upcoming semester is Contemporary American Fiction, which seems to give me enough interesting books to read for the next four months. At the very least, they look very promising on my shelf and will make a nice change from all the theology books soon to share the space.