Monday, January 26, 2009

A bit of Miss Austen

The Jane Austen class I'm taking starts next week, so I am plowing through the last of the author's Big Six, Mansfield Park. It's a funny idea that I first read Pride and Prejudice at the end of my freshman year, and now in my senior year I will have read them all. I have absolutely no ability to decide which is my favourite. I like Persuasion for its story, Northanger Abbey for its whimsy (and Mr. Tilney), Emma for the character development, and P&P for rather sentimental reasons (I think I need to read this one again). So far, I like Mansfield Park simply because it is Jane Austen and she's such a good writer, but also because I think I could have been very like Fanny Price had I grown up in a different situation.

It always takes me a while to get into a Jane Austen novel. At some point, usually about halfway through, it grabs me completely and I galumph through the rest. Mansfield Park has really just grabbed me today, but as there's no school I am at my leisure to read as much of it as I like. I find all the characters very pleasingly well-rounded (with the possible exceptions of Fanny's aunts), and am especially surprised by Mr. Crawford, who I had expected to be a complete cad. He's not really, I think he's mostly kind of young and stupid, and I was sufficiently surprised by his being more than a black and white cad that I find him very pleasing.

As the second three day weekend in a row, this one vastly trumps the last one. I was sick last weekend with some combination of a fever and the general blahs, and didn't go anywhere, but this weekend I have had a birthday party with some old friends, a march and rally to protest school closures (we marched down the middle of Union, and 23rd Ave, and I was on the news!), and today a pleasantly productive but still quite relaxing day in my pajamas. It's been the perfect combination of things. And now it's sunny! Though I have not been out in it.

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