Thursday, February 19, 2015

Jane and Me.

I am pretty shocked that we have not had school all this week. You know the weather is terrible when that happens. I teach at a Catholic school so we don't have to worry about buses making it through back roads and things like that, but we have got a TON of snow, and it is COLD outside. COLD.

It's been a pretty relaxing week, although I am starting to go a bit stir crazy. I make myself do actual work in the mornings. I've done all my laundry, washed dishes, swept, dusted, cleaned the bathroom, cleaned Snicks's litter box, and done a ton of studying and schoolwork for my grad classes, which is nice that I'm so ahead of the game now.

But the afternoons. Oh the afternoons. And the evenings. Those are for nothing time, and that's so nice. A couple of evenings ago (and I honestly can't remember which one because they are all running together now) I decided that I was going to spend my next couple of days in the world of Jane Austen. I love, love, love Jane Austen. Jane Austen wrote for the single girl. Especially the "old" single girl who may have lost/been losing all hope. We are totally soul sisters. Jane Austen wrote what I consider the greatest love stories of all time. So my mornings have been the necessary evil to getting to go back to Austenland, where, I'm okay with admitting, I would spend the rest of my life.


Now, I know I teach English, and I spend a good part of every week saying one of two things: READ A BOOK! or The book is always better than the movie. Correct on both counts. And, with the except of Northanger Abbey, I have read all these books. The truth is, though, some of these Austen books are in my classroom library (can't get there -- see above) and also a lot of these movie/miniseries adaptations are really quite good. A few years back my parents got me several of the BBC Austen miniseries DVDs for my birthday. And I LOVE them. So I collected everything I had and scoured Netflix and YouTube for what I didn't. And I settled in with Jane.


The thing is, I get SO swept up in Jane Austen's stories. She wrote the very best female characters: Elizabeth Bennet, Anne Elliot, Fanny Price, Emma Woodhouse, Elinor Dashwood, Catherine Moreland. And the Austen men? Oh, the dashing Austen men: Mr. Darcy, Captain Wentworth, Edmund Bertram, Mr. Knightley, Edward Ferrars, Henry Tilney. I tell you NO ONE wrote a love story like Jane Austen. No one. You can keep your Fifty Shades of whatever because there is absolutely nothing in this world more romantic than a Jane Austen love story. I am telling you my heart almost cannot take it when the leading characters finally get together. It's a sweet, innocent, deep, and lifelong love. It always is. I tell you THIS is the kind of movie we should be watching all the time. Because this is how life really should be.


Here's what I've been watching:

Mansfield Park -- Fanny Price and Edmund Bertram meet, have some complications, then fall in love forever. 

Both this version and this version. I prefer the second version, but both are good. Knowing that Fanny loves Edmund but he thinks he loves someone else? Ugh. My heart.

Quotes to stop your heart:

"I love you. I was blind. Forgive me."

"How is it a poet describes a wife, Sir Thomas?"
"She's heaven's last, best gift."

____

Persuasion -- Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth meet, have some complications, then fall in love forever. 

This version. You want to cry your eyes out along with Anne. They were separated for eight years. EIGHT YEARS! And what can she say? I don't know how she got out of bed every day. I don't.

Quotes to stop your heart:

"I would never suppose that true constancy is known only by women. But the one claim I will make for my own sex is that we love longest, when all hope is gone."

"She's perfection itself. I've never loved any but her."

____

Sense and Sensibility -- Elinor Dashwood and Edward Ferrars meet, have some complications, then fall in love forever.

Both this version and this version. (I think I prefer the first, but both are good!) The quiet love Elinor has for Edmund just kills you throughout this movie, especially when you learn he's engaged to someone else. But when he comes back? Oh man.

Quotes to stop your heart:

"Every day since I first saw you my love for you has grown. I know I have no right to hope, but I must ask -- can you forgive me? Can you love me? Will you marry me?"

____

Northanger Abbey -- Catherine Moreland and Henry Tilney meet, have some complications, then fall in love forever. 

This version. Probably my least favorite of the stories, but when you think Catherine might decide on John over Henry? Ughhhhhh. I died.

Quotes to stop your heart:

"I told him I felt myself bound to you by honor, by affection, and by a love so strong."

____

Emma -- Emma Woodhouse and Mr. Knightley meet, have some complications, then fall in love forever.

This version and this version (Although I first saw the first one, I am OBSESSED with the miniseries. OBSESSED.) You totally know that Mr. Knightley loves Emma WAY before she knows it, and you just can't contain yourself.

Quotes to stop your heart:

"I cannot make speeches, for if I loved you less, I may be able to talk about it more."

"I examined my own heart, and there you were. Never, I fear, to be removed."

"I do not wish to call you my friend because I hope to call you something infinitely more dear."

"Marry me? Marry me my wonderful, darling friend."

____

Pride and Prejudice -- Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy meet, have some complica -- I think you get it.

This version and this version.

So I know what I'm about to say will shock and upset many people, but -- I know the BBC version is widely considered the best adaptation, and I do very much like it. (Except for that girl who plays Jane. Really?) But I have to say -- I think I like the Keira Knightley movie better. I KNOW! Don't hate. I think it's because the romance is just kicked up a notch!

Quotes to stop your heart:

"I didn't always love him, but I love him now dearly. He is truly the best man I've ever known."

"I will have to tell you that you have bewitched me, body and soul, and I love, I love, I love you."

____

If you haven't seen these movies (or, God forbid, haven't read the books) then you must do so immediately. No, you can't borrow mine. I'm sorry, but I just can't.

I am telling you I just do not have words to describe what my heart goes through while watching these movies. So thank you, Jane Austen. I don't know if you knew what you were doing, but I suspect that you really did. Thank you for giving us hope. It's a wonderful thing.

And now, as it is afternoon, I am off to float back into Austenland.  Be sure to stay tuned for future blog posts about which Austen leading lady I am and which Austen leading man is for me. Oh, and in case you are wondering? The answer is, it is.


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