This is Part 2 of my answers to the questions posted by Miss Elizabeth Bennet for her Jane Austen Week at Elegance of Fashion.
You can read Part 1 here, and Part 3 will be up soon.
3. Who are your top three favorite Jane Austen Heroines and why?
Anne Elliot of Persuasion - Well, I'm sure this isn't a surprise after I spent all of Tuesday celebrating her birthday! Anne is just so sweet, patient, kind and sensible. She loves her family even though they frequently neglect her. Her one fault is having not believed in her own good sense and worth enough to marry Captain Wentworth when he first asked. She is a faithful friend, a caring aunt, a good listener and acts upon what she knows to be right. I love Anne so much and really appreciate Amanda Root's portrayal of her in Persuasion (1995)!
Catherine Morland of Northanger Abbey - As the heroine of my favorite Austen novel Catherine has a lot of charm for me. She is young, a home school graduate, a minister's daughter, loves her family very much, has a bit of a curious and adventurous spirit. She was a bit of a tomboy growing up but is finally growing up into a lovely young woman with a taste for feminine things. She had a great love of books and enjoys their mystery and romance. Her faults are few but one of them is an overactive imagination (fueled by the novels she reads) that gets her into trouble sometimes. One great thing about her is that she is so pure of heart and makes decisions based on her good heart and a desire to do what is right. I have identified with Catherine many times, sometimes my love of mystery and romance tales makes my imagination run away with me. Also not too long ago I realized I'd blundered into a wrong view point that thankfully didn't hurt too many people for too long but it did make me look a fool. Thinking of Northanger Abbey made me laugh at myself a bit, I couldn't believe I was acting like Catherine! Although I didn't like everything about Northanger Abbey (2007) I did adore Felicity Jones as Catherine Morland, she was so light and youthful in her portrayal - delightful!
Fanny Price of Mansfield Park - Before I started reading Mansfield Park I knew I liked Fanny from watching the older BBC miniseries, but reading Jane Austen's original creations I felt we were becoming fast friends! Jane Austen writes her in such a way that the reader sympathizes with her and admired her at the same time! I absolutely loved the description of Fanny's little white attic in Chapter 16 or MP, it really shows her world and her mind. I always thought Fanny was just painfully shy, but she's not really, she does choose her words carefully thought. Fanny is so sweet and kind, she loves being of use to people. She was a good big sister to her many siblings and when she's transplanted it takes a little bit for her to start growing out of her shell but Mansfield Park really does become her true home. She has a good heart and a good head and always tries to make right decisions. The more I read the more it's evident to me that there's an abiding faith in God behind her actions, even though it's not mentioned in the book. I really think that we need a better, longer more complete film adaptation of Mansfield Park, but I do really enjoy the 1987 adaptation and think that Sylvestra Le Touzel did a wonderful job in the role.
4. Who are your top three favorite Jane Austen Heroes and why?
Mr. Knightley of Emma - No matter what I say about Mr. Knightley it has to start with the word "gentleman"! He is first and foremost a gentleman and that's something I truly admire. He is kind, generous, fair in his business dealing, well respected as magistrate. As a landlord he is more than fair and generous, he looks after his tenants and doesn't mind them coming to him for advice. He is a hardworking man who would rather be down working in the dirt than hobnobbing with the rich. He uses his money wisely, investing it for the good of everyone in Highbury. He takes his responsibilities very seriously and looks after the widow and daughter of his deceased clergyman, helping to keep them not only comfortable in wealth but also comfortable in the society of those they have been used to. He is a very good judge of character of farmer and socialite alike. Yet he is patient and chooses his words carefully. It's funny that although Emma thinks herself the mover and director of Highbury Mr. Knightley actually is. He is devoted to his family, a loving uncle, brother and later son-in-law and husband. Mr. Knightley is the true hero very deserving of his heroine, we almost wonder how Emma could deserve him, but because he loves her and gives her a second (or third, or fourth) chance we can too. I have admired Mr. Knightley for a while but it was Johnny Lee Miller's down-to-earth portrayal of the character that really made his so much more accessible. I fell in love with Mr. Knightley all over again!
Captain Frederick Wentworth of Persuasion - He's been one of my favorites for a long time. As the Captain of his ship, Wentworth is brave, courageous, wise, just, willing his men to better themselves and reach their full potential. As a friend Captain Wentworth is fiercely devoted, you can see this in his taking on the responsibility of delivering the news of Fanny Harville's death to Captain Benwick. He's also gentlemanly, a man to be trusted with taking "Mrs. Harville, her sister, her cousin, and the three children, round from Portsmouth to Plymouth" for his friend. He is a devoted brother, we get a sense that he confides in and is confidant to his sister and brother and their spouses; they are always sorry when he has to leave them. He is a hardy man, fond of sport, but equally fond of ladies' company and dancing. He is a great story teller and has a great sense of humor. His one faults were not forgiving Anne when she first rejected him, but that is only natural when you know how passionately in love with her he was and how he knew her heart to feel the same. Also his flirtations with Louisa and Henrietta weren't meant to hurt them, he was so blinded by Anne being so nearby that he didn't realize how far Louisa had jumped both physically and emotionally! His heart was always constant to his true love and a man who is able to ask forgiveness for his mistakes and write such a romantic letter must be forgiven! I really love Ciaran Hinds' portrayal of Captain Wentworth in Persuasion (1995) and can't imagine anyone better!
5. Any honorable mentions for 3 and 4? (Keep it under five all together)
Elinor Dashwood of Sense and Sensibility - I've always loved Elinor and every time I take a Which Jane Austen Heroine Are You? quiz she always come up as my result. I am very much like Elinor, perhaps that is why I don't admire her quite as much as I do admire the heroines above. She's a loving sister and daughter who has great sense and loves without hope of return.
Emma Woodhouse of Emma - Even though Emma can seem a bit annoying at times she does have a truly good and kind heart. She wants to help her friends and family but much of the time she doesn't judge very wisely. But when she sees the error of her ways she soon makes amends.
Edmund Bertram of Mansfield Park - While reading Mansfield Park I not only saw Fanny in a new light but Edmund as well. He really kind of ties with Captain Wentworth for third place. Edmund is studious, a scholar who is very dedicated to his faith and his profession. Even when he begins to take wrong turns he never looses sight of his calling as a minister. His desire is to be of use to the people that will be in his parish, to enlighten their minds with the Word of God and help better their physical circumstances. If we love Fanny Price we must love Edmund because he has been her chief teacher and friend from the very beginning. He has an excellent heart and tries to always do what he thinks is right. He is a good brother, devoted son and kind friend. He is not concerned with what society at large thinks and selfishness has no part of his character. Yet he is a gentleman who steps up as head of the family when others fail their duty. A true hero!
Edward Ferrars of Sense and Sensibility - At the beginning of the story Edward is a bit of a lost boy, his mother and sister don't understand him and what higher things for him than he wants for himself. He is a down-to-earth guy who would rather be tending animals and preaching sermons than driving a barouche and making waves in parliament. He is a bit quiet and shy which makes him a little awkward in public but if you spend any time with him you can clearly see he has a good and kind heart. He honors his promises, almost to the ruin of his own happiness and betrayal of his heart. He is very honorable and always acts rightly. So many times he tries to tell Elinor of his secret engagement and when it comes out his apologies are sincere. He will be Elinor's confidant and best friend. And In her and his quiet country life he will be completely content!
Check out Part 1 of my answers or take a look at Part 3!
Very Truly Your's,