Showing posts from August, 2010

Jane and me

It was Mrs. Berkeley’s English class, sophomore year in high school. Our first full-scale research paper lay ahead. We were to pick an author, read three of his or her books and write a term paper on recurrent themes in the work.
The list was filled with authors of the Classics, ninety percent of whom were men. I glanced further down the page and came upon a name I had never seen before -- Jane Austen. One novel’s synopsis started out something like, “Elizabeth Bennet meets Fitzwilliam Darcy at a dance. Neither is too pleased with the other.” I was hooked. I quickly ran up to our teacher, securing this Jane Austen before anyone else, for fear of being stuck analyzing Homer.
Pride and Prejudice changed my life. I had never identified with a fictional character before. Most were fighting mythical monsters, wars or governments, or having larger than life adventures that to me, at age 15, were not plausible. Elizabeth Bennet was witty and sassy, and her cat-and-mouse game with Mr. Darcy cap…