Jane Austen: 6 Novels, Looking Back

This is it–the final post, which looks back on the past 6 months and 6 books, giving overall thoughts and evaluations. Honestly, being analytic in this class was so difficult. I often found myself reading for my own pleasure than to pick at the text. Therefore, this last post will be in honor of that and not very analytic. Enjoy.

I am so glad I did this class. I have always wanted to read all of these books. Now I have done it. It was also wonderful to be accompanied by 5 very capable and intelligent women. It was interesting to see their perspectives and ideas when we met.

I really do enjoy Jane Austen, but I do not quite understand the cult following. I think they are wonderful stories, but I am not that dedicated of a fan. However, I do appreciate her and her ability to comment on society through her works. I even appreciate her, albeit sometimes rushed and semi-crazy, tied together happy endings. To me, it was nice while simultaneously being in a class that, excluding 7 of approximate 45 relationships, ended in an upsetting way. It also showed me how hard and rare a happy ending story is.

Jane Austen really did write about life, good and bad. She wrote what she knew and was around. All of this made me wonder if writing was how she dealt with life. I wish there was more we could know about her and the reasons behind some of her decisions. For instance, why did every story end well? Is it she gave them the ending she and her sister never had? Is it she wanted well for the characters? Why did every marriage have love as a foundation when so often that wasn’t how marriage worked in her society? In some respects, I think I am leaving with more questions than answers, but that’s okay.

One day, I hope I read them all again. In the meantime, I will take pleasure in knowing there are so many ways to take in Austen as well. I know one of the other people in this group has suggested Austenland and the Lizzie Bennet Diaries. I may have to check them out and re-watch The Jane Austen Book Club. I also want to see the movies of these books and how they compare because of our classes discussion on some of these portrayals.

So, here is my overall ranking of these books as of today:

1. Emma: I really love Emma and Mr. Knightley. They are why I love this book.

2. Pride and Prejudice: To me, this book works well. The characters are funny. It is engaging. It’s popular for a reason.

3. Persuasion: Anne Elliot is such a beautiful character. She is so refreshingly different from any of the other protagonists.

4. Northanger Abbey: This really book made me laugh. I enjoyed the dramatics.

4. Sense and Sensibility: I like the sister dynamic in this book.

5. Mansfield Park: This is still not my favorite.

This is it. The end. Hope you enjoyed the books and the journey. If not, pick up a new one with a different author and start another adventure.