Hello readers! You are about to witness the virtual Jane Austen Oscars awards ceremony. The winners have been selected by a well-qualified committee, which consists of the owner of this blog and her friend Molly. The committee does not have the funds to support the cash prizes, so they are forcing the losers to pay […]Jane Austen Oscars
Tag: Sense and Sensibility
Flashback Friday: Sunshine Cleaning (2008)
When life hands us lemons, the only thing we can do is make lemonade.
In the 2008 film, Sunshine Cleaning, single mother Rose (Amy Adams) is in a bind. She wants to send her son to an expensive private school to ensure that he gets a good education. But it is not within her financial means to do so. She starts a biohazard removal/crime scene clean-up service with her sister Norah (Emily Blunt).
Norah is to Marianne Dashwood as Rose is to her elder sister Elinor. Rose is determined to succeed. But she knows that it will not be easy. Especially when she is working with Norah and their father, Joe (Alan Arkin).
This movie is charming and adorable. It speaks to the ingenuity that kicks in when all seems lost. It also has two female lead characters in which romance takes a back seat to getting by on their own two feet.
Do I recommend it? Absolutely.
Sanditon Character Review: Alison Heywood
The schedule for the Character Review posts will be changing to Friday (or Saturday at the latest from now on).
I apologize for not posting last week. There is only so much writing that can be done in a day.
*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the book and the television show Sanditon. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the show. There is something to be said about a well-written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.
Life is an adventure. So is being young. In Sanditon, Alison Heywood (Rosie Graham) is the younger sister of Charlotte Heywood (Rose Williams). Compared to her older sister, Alison is young, slightly naive, and excited about the unknown. Upon arriving in Sanditon, there are nothing but possibilities, especially in the area of romance.
It is love at first sight with Captain William Carter (Maxim Ays). He is charming, handsome, romantic, and looks good in uniform. She expects to walk into the sunset with him. While she is head over heels for Captain Carter, Alison strikes up an immediate dislike for Captain Declan Frasier (Frank Blake). He seems to disapprove of everything she says and does. He also turns up when she least wants him to.
When it appears that everything is going right, it all goes wrong. Alison nearly drowns when the boat she is in with Captain Carter turns over. Unable to swim, she is brought to safety by Captain Frasier. With her eyes open, she pushes Captain Carter away. It is only then (like Marianne Dashwood), that she realizes that the man she has been looking for has been there along: Captain Frasier.
When we last them, they are newly married and looking forward to a bright future.
To sum it up: You never know where life will take you. Sometimes all you need is an open heart and the willingness to learn from your mistakes. Though she is young and starry-eyed, she is smart enough to know when to change course.
Which is why she is a memorable character.
Republican Fuckery XI: MTG on a National Divorce, You Know Who Visits East Palestine, TN Anti-Drag Queen Bill, and the Rising Use of Migrant Underage Children as Labor
In the Jane Austen novel, Sense and Sensibility, Marianne Dashwood says the following:
“The more I see of the world, the more am I dissatisfied with it; and everyday confirms my belief of the inconsistencies of all human characters, and of the little dependence that can be placed on the appearance of merit or sense.”
I could say the same about the Republican party.
A couple of weeks ago, Marjorie Taylor Greene decreed that it is time for a national divorce. It’s happened before. It’s called the Civil War. Though it ended almost 160 years ago, some of the scars are still bloodied and raw.
At about the same time, you know who visited East Palestine. Though he talked a good game (as he usually does), he ignored the obvious (again, as he usually does). The safety regulations that he gutted while in office led to the accident. In an effort to look good to those around him, he gave out his own brand of water and McDonalds. Let’s put aside the fact that this fast food giant is not everyone’s cup of tea.
What is more important is how nothing has changed with the man. His response was akin to when he visited Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria and threw out paper towels as if they were t-shirts at a sporting event. The only thing that I have to begrudgingly admit is that I agree with him that someone from the current administration should have been there sooner.
In Tennessee, a new piece of legislation that restricts drag shows has been signed into law. In an ironic twist, an image of Governor Bill Lee dressed in drag as a young man has made its way to the press. Though this question may sound obvious, don’t they have more pressing issues to deal with? I can think of a very long list that does not include anyone who dresses in drag.
Courtesy of the Other 98%
And finally, the right is constantly railing against “illegal immigrants” and the problems they cause. And yet, they look the other way when thousands of underage migrants cross the border without an adult and are employed in inhumane conditions by major corporations. I guess child labor laws mean nothing when one’s skin is brown and you come to this country looking for a better life.
Somehow, someway, we have to get these people out of office before they destroy this nation.
Reason and Romance: A Contemporary Retelling of Sense and Sensibility Book Review
On the surface, it seems that logic and emotion are at odds with one another. But, when coupled together, they are a powerful force that cannot be ignored.
Reason and Romance: A Contemporary Retelling of Sense and Sensibility (published in 2004), is the second book in The Jane Austen Series by Debra White Smith. Sisters Elaina and Anna Woods are as different as night and day. At 27, Elaina is a newly minted Ph.D. and a college Professor. A mini-me of her late father, her life is ruled by rationality. Her younger sister Anna is 22, a dreamer, and still trying to find herself.
Both reckon with an unexpected romance. Elaina is attracted to Ted, who seems perfect for her. But as soon as their relationship gets off the ground, it falls apart. Anna instantly falls in love with Willis. She is already dreaming of what their future will look like. Then he disappears, leaving a series of unanswered questions behind.
Will these sisters find the love they deserve? Or will their dreams of romance remain just that?
The author does a good job of giving equal weight to the modern world and Austen’s original text. My only qualm is that with all of her books, she is a little too heavy-handed on the religious faith of the characters.
Do I recommend it? Yes.
Happy Birthday, Jane Austen
Anyone who knows me (or has read this blog regularly), knows that I am Janeite. In layman’s terms, I am a Jane Austen fangirl. Her books are a huge part of my world.
Today is Austen’s birthday. One of the many things I admire her for is her writing. She had the unique ability to blend satire, romance, and societal criticism in such a way that it takes multiple reads to recognize how perfectly these elements are intertwined.
The focus of yesterday’s episode of The Thing About Austen podcast (which I highly recommend) is Robert Ferrars, the younger brother of Edward Ferrars (Sense and Sensibility). I won’t give the conversation away (which is why I recommend that you listen to it). But what I will say is that her ability to give the reader just enough detail about the character without under or overexplaining is a skill that many writers are unable to accomplish.
Wherever you are Jane, thank you for everything. Our world would not be the same without you.
Mansfield Park Character Review: Thomas Bertram
*The schedule for the Character Review posts will be changing to Friday (or Saturday at the latest from now on).
*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the novel Mansfield Park. Read at your own risk if you have not read the book or watched any of the adaptations. There is something to be said about a well-written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.
In a world in which primogeniture is king, being the eldest son is not what it seems to be. The upside is the potential inheritance of the estate, the title, the family fortune, etc. The downside is the pressure that comes with this status. In Mansfield Park, Thomas Bertram is the eldest son and heir of Sir Thomas and Lady Bertram. With three younger siblings, he has certain responsibilities that his younger brother and sisters do not have. That does mean, however, that he is doing what he is supposed to be doing.
Instead of being the son his parents want him to be, Thomas initially prefers to drink, waste money, and schmooze with his friends. His inability to understand how his actions affect everyone around him would push anyone to the breaking point. He gets so far into debt that Sir Thomas is forced to sell the living or the benefice, putting his younger brother Edmund‘s future in doubt.
Taken by his father on a year-long business trip to Antigua, the hope is that this time away will set Thomas on the right path. Though it appears that he has changed, it is just that. His real transformation is represented by both a literal and figurative fall. Left at death’s door by his friends, Thomas returns home in a vegetative state. While he lies in a coma, Mary Crawford is already planning for her future as Lady Bertram with Edmund as the heir. It is a statement that does not go over well.
Like Marianne Dashwood, he only learns his lesson after hitting rock bottom. We are told by Austen that he is no longer the drunken wastrel that he was. He is the son that his parents need him to be.
To sum it up: Sometimes, the only way to understand where we have gone wrong is to go to depths that we never expected to go. Though the climb back up can be painful in multiple ways, it is the only way to understand where we went wrong. It is not easy, by any stretch of the imagination. But it is necessary if we want to grow beyond our past mistakes.
Which is why Thomas Bertram is a memorable character.
The Sense and Sensibility Screenplay and Diaries: Bringing Jane Austen’s Novel to Film Book Review
Though it appears that a film or television appears as a finished product as if out of thin air, the reality is that it takes a lot of people working together to bring the magic that feels seamless.
The 1995 book, The Sense and Sensibility Screenplay and Diaries: Bringing Jane Austen’s Novel to Film, takes the reader into the process of making the 1995 adaptation of the Jane Austen novel, Sense and Sensibility. Written by the movie’s screenwriter and star Emma Thompson (who played the lead role of Elinor Dashwood), the book contains the complete screenplay and Thompson’s diaries of the making of the film.
This book is so much fun to read. Seeing the screenplay in black and white was a treat. Thompson’s journal from the period is bawdy, funny, honest, and full of delicious minutiae of movie making that only adds to the joy of this beloved classic.
Do I recommend it? Yes.
Celebrating Jane Austen on the 204 Anniversary of her Passing
Today is the 204 anniversary of the passing of Jane Austen. To say that she was extraordinary in her time and ours is and will always be an understatement. Though her physical remains are long gone, her name and her work will last forever.
Happy Birthday, Jane Austen!
Nathaniel Hawthorne once said the following:
“Easy reading is damn hard writing.”
Reading Jane Austen is deliciously easy. Her books are full of characters that seem as real as you or I.
As any writer will tell you, writing is not as easy as it seems. The work and effort that is required feels nearly impossible to accomplish sometimes.
Jane came from an era in which women pursuing any career was frowned on. Her primary responsibility was that of a wife and mother. Initially publishing her books under the pseudonym of “A Lady”, public recognition of her as an author came later on.
One of the things I have learned as a writer is that sometimes you sometimes need to put your work away for a while. Recently, I have been going back to pieces that have been sitting on my hard drive. Delving back into those particular pieces (with the help of a handful of keen eyed fellow writers), I have been working on them with a level of excitement and energy I have not felt in a long time.
Her first three completed novels, Northanger Abbey, Sense and Sensibility, and Pride and Prejudice were initially written when Austen was still a young woman. Like any budding author, she eagerly sent out her manuscripts to publishers, hoping for an eventual publication. The response was a decided no.
The next few years were an emotional roller coaster for Austen. After her father’s retirement and subsequent passing, Jane, her sister, and her mother moved frequently. It was only after finding a permanent home in Chawton House did she had the space and comfort that she needed to write again.
Rewriting the books of her youth and writing three new ones (Emma, Mansfield Park, and Persuasion), she finally became the writer she had always wanted to be.
She didn’t know it, but she is one of the writers who paved the way for so many of us. As both the mother of the modern novel and a female novelist, she continues to delight readers and inspire fellow writers who want to follow in her giant footsteps.
Happy Birthday Jane, wherever you are.
You must be logged in to post a comment.