23 July 2009

A Freakin' Minefield

"What you want frightens you to death, that is why you fail to comprehend yourself."
- Lost in Austen

This one sent me spinning when I heard it...

My irrational response to Jane Austen follows:
(...and yes I do talk to deceased authors in my head.)
Oh really Jane, you can cut this crap out right now! Quit getting into my head and KNOWING what I'm thinking. It's upsetting and rude. How dare you understand ME!?!

My more rational response:

It seems to resonate and yet I can't comprehend it fully. (Which of course, Jane said I wouldn't! Vile creature you are Jane. Vile.) But is it true? Do I know what I want? Am I frightened to death? Do I comprehend myself? Do I fail to comprehend myself?!?! Does ANYONE comprehend themselves?

I don't know.

To be honest, I started pondering this blog months ago. I had hoped I would be able to wrestle with the questions the quote provoked and compose an elegant response, or perhaps even two. Well plans change... and to be honest I failed. I am almost thirty years old and I might not know what I want. In the movie, in which I first heard this line, the heroine knows what she desires, she wants to marry Mr. Darcy, but she also knows that she can't have him, because he is destined for another, Miss Elizabeth Bennett. In the end, (plot spoiler alert!) she gets the man and lives happily ever after. Well real life isn't like that... or that's what I hear from people who seem to know things. In the "real" life that I live, the struggle that makes up the beginning of a Jane Austen plot is the majority of my life. The miscommunication and misjudgements seem to be what I experience, without any of the enlightening moments to clarify the misguided motivations of genuine love. Each of us imagines that we are the Elizabeth Bennett or the Emma of our life's plot, but what if I'm the Charlotte or Miss Bates. What if I am not the heroine of the love story?

"Reading Jane Austen is a freakin' minefield!"
- Jocelyn, The Jane Austen Book Club

to be continued...