I hate Jane Austen. There are very few things I hate in this world: spiders, the fact that waiters don’t seem to care when you say you can’t have dairy or gluten, and Jane Austen.
I read Pride and Prejudice two years ago and hated it. I also tried and failed to read Persuasion … I actually remember nothing from that book other than that I read it on the bus on my way to class, funnily enough, Persuasion was never on any of my syllabi, instead I stupidly picked it up myself. Pride and Prejudice was actually assigned for a class so I had no choice and had to finish the whole thing … yippie! (can you feel the sarcasm?)
Friends of mine really seem to enjoy Austen’s work and seem very infatuated with Mr. Darcy, though I don’t know why. I’ve tried to understand it … I mean, I read the book, was forced to sit through the movie, and was lectured on the work. Still, I don’t get it and I’ll always think that Mr. Darcy is simply put, an ass.
Here’s my problem with Austen’s work. She writes about women who need a man in their lives to somehow complete them and make sure they’re taken care of. Of course, during Austen’s time that was the case, now we’ve got strong female characters on every turn, and that’s exactly what I like to see. I know what you’re thinking and the answer is no, I’m not a feminist, nor do I yell “burn your bra!” from rooftops, although that would be fun.
To quote Ellen Degeneres, my point…and I do have one is that Austen writes about women as though they are incapable of doing anything for themselves and can only do things if a man is there by their side. I’ll confess that Elizabeth does have a bit of a mouth on her, but still, she gives in to Mr. Darcy who, if you think about it, really does treat her like trash for the majority of the novel.
I specifically chose this cover art of Pride and Prejudice just to illustrate my point further. Other covers of the novel include only Elizabeth sitting on her own, this one shows Elizabeth out on a walk with Mr. Darcy who seems to be leaning over her, while she appears to be hunched over. If you’ll notice Mr. Darcy’s clothes, they’re much brighter than Elizabeth’s, which automatically draws your eye to him, not her. Does this cover showcase power and assholeness or what? (Maybe it’s just me).
Another problem (and it’s the last one I’ll mention) about Austen’s work is that she completely ignores the fact that there’s a lower class which also consists of women and men, whether they’re supposedly in love or not. All her novels focus on the upper class and their silly problems, example: “Oh golly mother, whoever will I marry? I am already fifteen after all.”
I know I sound like a bitter old lady (I’m neither bitter, nor old, though I did find a white hair in my eyebrow yesterday), I just don’t enjoy Austen’s work. I find her stories degrading to women and people in general. I’m sure there are many people who will disagree and say that Austen is the best thing that ever happened to the literary world.