Unpopular Jane Austen Opinions

After spotting the question on someone’s Twitter stream, I posed it to my Facebook friends. “What is your unpopular opinion about Jane Austen’s books?”

Here are some of mine:

* Fanny Price is upright, admirable, and praiseworthy. She is also BORING, and a bit of a killjoy. It is Mary Crawford and her rake of a brother who breathe life into the novel. I’m afraid virtue alone does not make one interesting. (Mansfield Park)

* Mr. Collins is a catch. Yes, he’s an obsequious, tiresome, mockable little fellow, but considering the possible outcomes of marriage for women in that time period, Charlotte actually got pretty lucky. (Pride & Prejudice)

* Mr. Bennet isn’t a very good father. He loves his family, but he is by turns neglectful, dismissive, and sarcastic. His active participation as a responsible parent could have prevented some of his family’s worst turns. (Pride & Prejudice)

* Despite the rogue’s gallery of Jane Austen villains (Wickham, Willoughby, Henry Crawford), the most contemptable man in Austen’s universe is John Dashwood, who allows his selfish, shrewish wife to manipulate him into breaking his promise to his father and shirking his duty to care for his sisters and step-mother. There is no excuse for him. (Sense & Sensibility)

* Lydia Bennet doesn’t deserve her fate. There are worse crimes than being young and silly and spoiled at age 15. She’ll be paying for her thoughtlessness for the rest of her life. (Pride & Prejudice)


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