Monday, November 16, 2009

Mannerisms & Subtle Signs

Hi friends! It’s Becky from Love Everyday Life. Our faithful blogger has been through a lot lately so I hope she is taking it easy and knows that our thoughts are with her (as are our virtual hugs).

Let me introduce myself. I’m a twenty-something outside of Washington, D.C. and I love my husband, books, OPI nail polish, and anything related to fall. But I have to confess. It’s almost halfway through November and I haven’t started the book we’re all reading yet.

I am really excited to read Pride and Prejudice – I’ve never read a book by Jane Austen before (don’t get me started on how I feel like my English degree doesn’t count because of that), and I honestly don’t know if Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth get together, but I’m sure it’ll be a heck of a journey to get to that point.

I found an article recently about Jane Austen – one of my bosses (a fellow English major) sent it to me, and it’s awesome. (Check it out here). Most of the article is about a new exhibit featuring Jane Austen, but the beginning is what caught my attention. It spoke of Jane Austen in a role we don’t necessarily see her in – that of a doting aunt. The exhibit showcases (among other things) a letter to her eight-year old niece Cassy, with everything spelled backwards. For instance, the beginning of the letter reads, “Ym raed Yssac,” and ends with, “Ruoy Etanoitceffa Tnua, Enaj Netsua.” (For those of you who haven’t had caffeine today that translates to “my dear Cassy” and “your affectionate aunt, Jane Austen.”)

The article described Austen as “precocious,” but mysterious enough where it’s hard to imagine what she was actually like. “You have to read her the way her most sentient characters read their companions, attending to subtle signs, mannerisms and language.”

Do you think it’s hard to separate an author from what he or she writes? Do you think they’re telling a story from their life at all (even if it’s a novel)? Sometimes I have problems separating celebrities from their roles in TV or a movie, but I don’t seem to have as much trouble with authors. Maybe because it’s easier to put down a book and go about my day as opposed to reading a recap of a TV episode online and seeing all the comments people made about it.

However, Jane Austen never married, and I don’t know much about her love life, but I don’t think she had very much of one. If that was the case, are you impressed with her ability to pick up on subtle signs and mannerisms between men and women, or do you think she used that as an excuse to sit back and watch? Have you noticed any subtle mannerisms in Pride and Prejudice? Do you wish you could write an entire letter backwards? Or are you like me and haven’t started the book yet?

(Thank you Becky for your very insightful blog post... NOW GET READING!!! ;) .. Thank you to all of you for your thoughts and prayers over some of the most difficult times I've had recently..)


The Many Thoughts of a Reader said...

I read a big junk last night and am near the 100 page mark. I really am enjoying it. I've only had to step back once and go to sparknotes for some help.. :) I got all confused during a debate between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy. I think Jane, like Elizabeth Bennet was an incredible people watcher. She picked up on peoples habits, facial expressions and their character. This defintely helped when writing. Mannerisms, I've noticed is that the "rich/high class" individuals pride themselves on their wonderful manners. Also interestingly, only the two oldest Bennet girls and their father seem to actually have manners in their family and the rest, including their mother have none. A ridiculous example of mannerisms would be Mr. Collins would OVER prides himself in his manners and his status. He spends so much time talking about his respectability that he looks like an idiot. I am really like the book. :)

The Many Thoughts of a Reader said...

And, again THANK YOU BECKY FOR guest blogging.. :) Let me know if you ever want to give it a go again.. :)

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Wow - wonderful guest blog!! There is a lot of subtlety in Austen's writing, so you kind of have to read it slower to catch everything. I usually burn through books at a rapid pace, but I am kind of taking this one slower so I can take it all in.

I agree w/ pinkflipflops, I thikn JA was a big people watcher and very insightful. As far as I know, she was only engaged once and it was for like 24 hours or something like that, but she obviously picked up on the dynamics between men & women.

And yah, Mr. Collins drives me bonkers. So annoying with how over-thankful he is. Just goes to show that when you say thank you or sorry too much, it loses it's meaning.