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Monday, January 23, 2017

An Ode to Jane Bennet

This week, in order to celebrate the anniversary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice, I decided to do some Jane Austen themed content. Jane Austen is absolutely my favorite of the classic authors and I feel like so much of my growth as a teenage girl (and even now) was based on her characters. I've gotten to know her characters through books, movies, and Pemberley Digital YouTube series. This month, I've been rereading Pride and Prejudice and it never fails to impress me how her stories and especially the people she created have withstood the test of time.

As a young girl, I idolized Elizabeth Bennet as most young girls do. I may write an entire post at some point about how I transitioned from admiring and trying to emulate characters like Elizabeth Bennet and Jo March to recognizing that it's okay to be a Jane Bennet or a Meg March. Because as time went on, I realized that I'm not the Elizabeth Bennet and nor do I want to be.


I'm not saying that I don't like Elizabeth Bennet because I do. In fact, I find myself drawn to friends who remind me of her (hi Jenna, MaryClaire, Lucy!). But in my later high school years, I realized that I'm more of a combination of Jane Bennet and Emma Woodhouse from Emma. I'm always dismayed at the reaction I get when I tell people that Jane Bennet is one of my favorite female characters of all time.

I'd like to make an argument for why Jane Bennet is an incredibly lovely person that young women should want to emulate.

She is so kind.
One of Jane's main characteristics is that she is kind in a very live-action Cinderella way. She thinks of others' feelings, is sympathetic to her younger sisters, always listens to Lizzy's troubles, and endures her mother better than any of the rest of the Bennet girls. She is arguably the only character in all of Pride and Prejudice who never hurts someone else. Shouldn't we all aspire to that?

She is nice without losing her ability to stand up for herself.
Jane isn't without a sense of humor or a backbone. While she sees the best in everyone, she also is willing to admit that Caroline Bingley is a snake by the end of the book. One of my favorite lines in all of Pride and Prejudice is in Chapter XVII when Jane tells Elizabeth, "Laugh as much as you choose, but you will not laugh me out of his opinion." (And, for the record, she's right that Mr. Darcy isn't as terrible as Wickham says he is.)


She is so much more than beautiful. 
I admire how Jane deals with her beauty for she doesn't let it define her, but she also doesn't contradict it. I think that many girls we see in the media aren't allowed to accept a compliment to their looks, which is a terrible thing to teach young women. Jane never contradicts her mother's comments about her looks, but she also focuses on being kind.

She has great taste in guys (trust me). 
In my opinion, Mr. Bingley is a much better choice than Mr. Darcy. Shocking? I know. But, let's be honest, the Darcys of the world are actually just brooding guys who think they're too cool to call you back. I appreciate Bingley's open admiration, honesty, and good naturedness more than Darcy's temperament regardless of how nice Pemberley is.

Do any of you love Jane Bennet as much as I do? Who is your favorite Jane Austen character? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter! x

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