I’m No Elizabeth Bennet

If you ask anyone which of Jane Austen’s characters they relate to the most, people will invariably say “Elizabeth Bennet” for two reasons:

  1. Pride and Prejudice is Austen’s best known work and thus her most widely read and so Elizabeth is her most well-known creation. When in doubt, always pick the only name you can remember.
  2. Everyone, but EVERYONE, knows that Elizabeth Bennet is the coolest of all Austen’s heroines. And everyone wants to be as cool as Elizabeth Bennet. So we’re all looking for points of comparison and finding them against all odds, because we WANT to find them. Made a witty comment once? Has anyone ever told you your eyes are your best feature? You might be Elizabeth Bennet if…..

And this is how you get monstrosities like Bridget Jones’ Diary, broadly defined as a “modern day Elizabeth Bennet.” Bridget Jones is in reality, a woman in a modern day setting who wants to have a Mr. Darcy and Wickham fighting over her. By no means does that make Bridget Jones Lizzie Bennet.

Interesting to note, too, is that no one ever admits to being one of the other Bennet sisters. In fact, if you even suggest to someone that they remind you of one of the other siblings there can be a great deal of protestation and/or friendships ending.

But, I’m taking a stand for all the Lydias and Kittys and Marys and even Janes of the world. Because I am a Mary.

That’s right. I said it. I’m no Elizabeth Bennet. I’m a Mary Bennet. I’m not ashamed to admit it either.

Here’s my proof:

  • Intellectual and off-putting snob: Noticeable from either my vocabulary or tendency to “trump” with obscure facts no one cares about that I could have made up because everyone stopped listening anyway.
  • Socially awkward: Evidenced in my ability to make any conversation uncomfortable by over-sharing and tactlessness.
  • Introvert: Because during said conversations, in my head I’m only imagining how to leave here.
  • Condescending Teacher: Have you read my blog? But just ask my opinion on something and I can give you a “wise” answer.
  • Single: Fairly obvious, this, but my disinterest in the institution of marriage seems to neatly match Mary’s.
  • Drama-free: While I personally love hearing about drama, I’ll admit to preferring to be a wallflower while it plays out in front of me.
  • Moral Judger: Mostly because there is no drama in my life I feel free to judge the drama in others.

So there you have it. There’s my Mary connection. It’s not all bad, but that’s what I like about Mary. She’s got some poor qualities, sure, but she’s not a bad egg at the end of the day.

So how about it, ladies? Which Bennet sister are you…if you were honest?

Jane Austen Action figure

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2 thoughts on “I’m No Elizabeth Bennet

  1. Thanks for another interesting and authentic post.

    In my experience, it seems like people identify with Lizzie because she was the one who wasn’t perfect but who tried hard. It seems like we all know Janes, people who seem to live out some difficult to attain moral standard, and we all know people who we judge to be less moral like Lydia – in my opinion, there’s a moral progression from oldest to youngest, from pure-hearted right living to dissipation and destructive foolishness. Mary is an interesting part of that degression because she has many of the right ideas/ platitudes, but her heart doesn’t seem to be really connected in ways that allow her to have genuine warmth or feeling, or integration of self.

    After reading some of your posts, I daresay you have a lot of heart – to me, it seems you may have some things in common with Catherine Morland, in a good way. Though while there was not a lot of hope for the Mary of P&P, it seems to me there is a lot of joy and hope available for the Marys of the world today, for two reasons. 1) we live in an age where peoples hearts can be awakened by so much available human stimulus (even as non-human stimulus can act as anesthetic), and 2) we are beginning to believe that women can be more than the in-the-box, “you must desire these particular things,” wish fulfillment tools of men and society.

    Best wishes on your quest. And though I am not a woman, I will answer this question and say that I am metamorphosing out of being like Kitty.

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    1. I appreciate your perspective on Elizabeth. It’s certainly much more in line with the novel and less the perspective of an online quiz!
      I also appreciate the compliment. I would agree that what’s missing with Mary is heart and am delighted you believe we’re in a better age for heart-living today. I do wonder if Mary had more options she would be less rigid in her life application.
      And as to metamorphosing from being a Kitty, don’t change too much! Kitty has several wonderful qualities, her love of life, effervescence, and strong will. But here’s hoping you have all those qualities pointed in a positive direction 🙂

      Like

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