Wednesday, May 29, 2013

I'm Sorry, But I Do Have An Excuse!

I haven't posted for three days.  I'm very sorry.  HOWEVER I will try to make it up.
First, let me thank Laura Ingalls for being the first to answer the quiz!
I'm sorry, but my family doesn't allow media on Sundays and I won't be posting on holidays.  I probably should have said that before.  But I'm here now! Right?
Now, my post:
There are three required posts for any classic literature blog: one on Mr. Darcy, one on favorite literary heroes, and one on favorite literary heroines.  I am starting with literary heroines.  So without further ado...[insert applause here]
Let me present my top ten favorite literary heroines!
#1. The first one is always the most important, so I have been deliberating on this for quite some time.  But...I think...I'm ALMOST entirely sure that...Yes!
My favorite literary heroine (so far!  I haven't read that many classics yet) is:
Elinor Dashwood.                             
I'm sorry about the picture.  I'm not sure what happened there.

Those of you who have been reading this blog know that I like Joanna David's portrayal of Elinor. A. Lot.  Hence the picture.
Elinor is the heroine I most admire.  She can keep her cool when Lucy tells her that she and Edward Ferrars are engaged, she can still be civil and even wish for Edward's happiness with Lucy, and she just tries to get on with her life.  Coming from the sister of Marianne, this is a big accomplishment. ;)
Even when everyone around her is wishing for her happiness with Edward, when Marianne falls apart and Elinor has to help and cheer Marianne on top of everything else, she can still love and forgive her family and friends.  (And enemies!)
That is why she's my favorite Austen heroine.  My favorite portrayal of her...I already told you.  ;)

#2. Jane Bennet
Considering my pen name is Miss Jane Bennet, I had to put her somewhere. ;)
Jane is sweet, loving, and kind and she always tries to find the best in everyone.  She always tries to be a peacemaker, and she loves her family despite their flaws.  Any hurts that she might have, she tries to keep hidden from her family and she always tries to protect and comfort everyone around her.  Even when Miss Bingley is being very rude, Jane doesn't let that stop her from forgiving and attempting to be friendly to her.
I like Susannah Harker's portrayal better.  I think she really captured Jane's sweetness and serenity and by the standard of the times (read this post- it's interesting!) she really is prettier than Elizabeth.

#3. Marguerite Blakeney
This one was hard!  She almost got Jane's spot, but I like Jane just a teensy bit better than I like Marguerite.
Marguerite is a strong, loyal woman who, I think, is a bit naive, but she is passionate about life.  She loves her brother and husband and tries her best to support Sir Percy as he does all these dangerous missions.  Even though she makes a lot of Percy's adventures a lot more dangerous than they have to be, she doesn't do it intentionally- she's trying to help, or she just wants to be near her husband.  (If she didn't exist, a lot of the TSP plots would be eradicated.)  She, like Jane, wants to think the best of everybody and she forgives and loves many people who don't deserve it.  She's proud, but in a good way- her dignity and honor are important to her.  She trusts people and feels mercy and compassion for those in need, and she tries her best to help them, as well.  Marguerite is definitely worthy of being on this list.
I haven't seen any of the movie versions of TSP yet...this Friday I will...but I've heard Jane Seymour is really good, so I'll go with her.
#4. Anne Elliot
Anne Elliot is not my favorite heroine, and Persuasion is not my favorite Austen book, but both come pretty close.
Anne is gentle and quiet, but she has principles and she sticks to them.  She loves her family and obeys them, even though they're pretty terrible to her.  She also keeps on loving Captain Wentworth even when he's flirting with another girl just to get revenge on her for breaking up the engagement.  She's very useful and tries to help whenever possible, and the people around her who appreciate more than beauty recognize her true worth.  She has good sense, but she doesn't try to force it on anyone.  Sometimes it seems like the whole world is against her, but, in her own quiet way, she struggles as bravely as any warrior could do.
I haven't seen any movie version of Persuasion yet, so I'll go with Amanda Root.
#5. Catherine Morland
Catherine is in the middle of this list, but to get on the list at all is pretty good, and I like her a lot.
Catherine is a sweet, naive girl.  I like her for a different reason than I like the other heroines.  The others I respect and admire as well as love.  Catherine is different.  I like her because she's such a typical teenaged girl.  She reads "horrid novels" and has a wild imagination that only needs the slightest encouragement to go rambling off somewhere.  She longs for adventure and when she doesn't get it, she makes it up.  She's a lot like me- I'm definitely guilty of imagining strange things about closets and secret rooms, and I've been searching for secret passages in our house for at least a year.  Without success, of course.  Sigh...
Like her, I often get over-excited about visiting old buildings that turn out to be modernized and boring.  Like her, I found out the hard way that it's possible to creep yourself out too much and that, really, there aren't that many bloody skeletons lying around.  Catherine is perhaps the heroine I enjoy reading about most, because she's the simplest.  A 17-year-old who's traveling for the first time and is "almost pretty" is about as funny and simple as you can get.
I haven't seen any movie versions of NA, and I hear that none of them are very good, so I won't pick a Catherine.
#6. Elizabeth Bennet
Of course Lizzy Bennet is on here.  She's the most popular Austen heroine.                                                  
Lizzy is funny and brave in her own way.  She's a bold tomboy who cares more about character than social status.  She's flawed- like all good heroines- but she can laugh at herself and she'll take a little criticism.  She loves her family, although she's ashamed of some of them, and she'll go to great lengths to ensure their happiness.  She's caring and will go out of her way to help people.  She can laugh her way out of any predicament, but she can be serious or wise when the occasion arises.  She's usually a good judge of character.  She can be polite on the surface while still being unafraid of anyone, and some of her sly remarks had me giggling like crazy.  :D
I can't decide between the two Elizabeth portrayals.  Don't kill me!  I'm a member of the P&P95Forever Club, so out of loyalty I'll pick Jennifer Ehle.  HOWEVER I think that while Ehle captured the witty, graceful part of Lizzy better (and she had fine eyes!), Knightly was actually 20 years old and she had the light figure.  In some of her better moments, she did a great job capturing Lizzy's more serious side.
#7. Fanny Price
Fanny is not detested.  She's not even detested, because she's too boring to be worth it.  Right?
Fanny Price is almost universally thought of as a doormat.  She just gives in to her bullying family's wishes and lets her cousin do her fighting for her.  BUT isn't that a kind of strength?
Fanny gives in to everybody and doesn't want to cause any trouble.  She thinks she isn't worth anything and that she doesn't deserve anything.  However, she still holds fast to her principles and integrity, even when faced by the disapproval of her entire family.  She can find strength when she needs it and she loves her adoptive family.  She has a very forgiving, loving heart and she enjoys doing things for people around her.  Even when her love Edmund confides in her that he loves someone else and is thinking of proposing, she is nice to that woman- more than nice.  She goes out of her way to help Mary Crawford and is always very kind and obliging to her.  She has no thoughts of resentment.  She may be a doormat, but she's a strong doormat.  :D
I haven't seen any of the movie versions of MP, and to be honest, I don't want to.  None of them stay with the story or portray the characters as they're supposed to be.  However, I pick the one with Frances O'Connor because even though it completely changes the plot and characters, it sounds like it has a good storyline.  Even if it's not Jane Austen's.
#8. Emma Woodhouse
That picture is just so totally Emma,  isn't it? ;)
Those of you who know that Emma is my favorite Austen novel might be surprised to find Emma so far down on the list.  I beg you to remember that all the characters on the list are definite favorites, and that these aren't really placed in a super-particular order.
Emma this post to find my full opinion on her.  For now, let's just say that at the beginning I thought she was a spoiled brat, but by the end she had improved, not only in character but also in my regard.  I really respected and liked her by the end.
Romola Garai is Emma.  No question.  I like the 2009 version the best, but take that with a grain of salt, because I haven't watched any other version.
#9. Jane Eyre
Another Jane on this list!  I have departed from Austen for my ninth heroine.
For me, Jane Eyre was a little difficult to understand.  For one thing, why did she fall in love with Rochester????
But aside from that...Jane Eyre is probably the most honorable and upright person on this list.  She loves Rochester, but when she finds out that he already has a wife- whatever the circumstances surrounding that wife may be- she immediately leaves the house because she doesn't want to be tempted.  She loves Rochester even though he has behaved terribly toward her, and when she finds out he's a cripple at the end of the book, she still loves him and marries him.  She clings to that love, but she's willing to step away from it and get on with her life if she can.  She doesn't try to wallow in her own sorrow or behave like an afflicted heroine; instead, she does the sensible thing.  When life offers her a chance to better her life, she takes it, and when misfortune strikes, she makes the best of it and struggles on, trying to live a good life for God.  She's a devout Christian, and when she finds that her love for Rochester is overshadowing her love for God, she steps back from it and eventually finds a healthy balance.
I think there was only one movie of Jane Eyre, so I'll pick that one.  I haven't seen it, though.
#10. Caddie Woodlawn
I'm not sure if Caddie Woodlawn is a classic or not, but I really liked that book- even better than the Little House books- so I pick Caddie Woodlawn as my last heroine.
I wasn't able to find a good picture- there was a movie made about it, but I don't know anything about that movie, so I'm keeping away from that.
Caddie Woodlawn is a tomboy growing up in the West.  The story is based on Carol Ryrie Brink (the author)'s grandmother's life.  The grandmother's name was actually Caddie- a nickname for Caroline- Woodhouse!  Of all the coincidences!
Caddie is brave and honorable and true, and though she might carry her jokes and tomboyishness a little too far, she is fiercely loyal to her family and friends and loves the land she grew up in.  She hates being ladylike, but at the end of the book, she grows up and realizes that she can be a good woman without being a silly, simpering fine lady.
As I said before, I don't know anything about the movie, so no comment. ;)

Notes: I'm working on a long Emma (the book) review, which will probably be up by the end of this week or next week.  This Friday, I'm watching TSP from 1982.  I'm EXCITED and I will probably write a review of it.  Please let me know in the comments what other topics you'd like!
-Miss Jane Bennet

No comments: