Saturday, February 06, 2010

The Almost Girl

So I finished Sense and Sensibility (oh, did I mention this is on my "52 Things To Do While I'm 21" list? Number 49 - Read all six of Jane Austen's novels) and it gave me a lot to ponder. I did enjoy it, don't get me wrong. But I can't stop thinking about the ending.


So Elinor ends up marrying Edward. This is all good and well. I liked Elinor's character immensely - she really was my kind of heroine. But it was Marianne's "happily ever after" with Colonel Brandon that left me so unsatisfied. Because she didn't want him. Not really. He was just a convenient, fortunately kind and rich alternative. She wanted Willoughby. Who was a jackass, yeah, yeah, but what difference does that make?

What happens to all those almost girls? The girls who came so close to securing a guy, only to just lose out. Or opt out. Is it regret that taints the rest of their years? Or relief? Can anyone ever truly compare to the one who got away? Or the one that you released? It's not right to keep someone who you don't really love, just for the sake of no one else having them. But love or no love, I can't bear to imagine what it's like when someone else does have them.

The more I learn about love, the more it terrifies me. And I am more and more certain that there is no force more merciless in the world.


cath_skinny said...

I remember you saying years ago that you had issues with Jane Austen because it seemed so nice and happy endings and everything worked out and life wasn't like that. I think I remember you saying that anyway, it could have been somebody else.

But the point is, she's writing about real life. Real life doesn't always work out the way you want it to. It's better for Marianne this way. She is only 16 and a little silly. She doesn't understand things the way she should yet because she has no experience of life.

Brandon loves her and will protect her and be good and kind to her always. Had she married Willoughby, she wouldn't have secured him. He would have hurt her and had strings of affairs and she would have spent the rest of her life knowing she never could be happy. In Pride and Prejudice we know that that is exactly how Lydia is going to spend the rest of her life. What may seem exciting isn't necessarily what will make you happy, and passion can disappear as quickly as it arrives when reality sets in.

Austen never married. She knew that life didn't bring a happily ever after for everyone and I hold that it would have been far more cruel to deceive young girls by writing that it did.

Apologies for the essay. I just love literature.

Love you lots xxx

silverpistola said...

I may well have said that, it sounds like me!

And Marianne was 19 when she married the Colonel ;) And I understand and agree with what you're saying. I know it wouldn't have been better for her to end up with Willoughby (though I don't know if he'd have cheated on her, that seems a little harsh). And Austen says that Marianne's regard for the Colonel eventually surpasses what it was for Willoughby too, so it's kind of a happy ending.

I wasn't dissatisfied with the ending. Marianne got what she deserved. It just left me with an awful lot to think about.


cath_skinny said...

I'm sure she was only 16 when she fell for Willoughby though. And I think he would have cheated on her. He couldn't marry her because of another woman yet he still chased after her. Never mind. It did concern me slightly when we did the book in English in my first year. It came across as if she was settling but maybe she just changed her priorites.

I saw Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters for sale. Apparently they had turned Brandon into a sea monster. This makes me sad because he was a good, decent guy, Marianne just didn't fancy him.

Jess said you should come and stay again soon because she likes you. Just thought you should know.

Love and miss you lots xxx

silverpistola said...

Heh heh, your love for Austen amuses me.

Aw, I liked Jess too! I was so tired that day I really thought I came across as a bit ornery. No matter, we shall soon be organising this Avenue Q excursion so I'll definitely get to hang out with you guys eventually.

By the way, this band called Delphic are playing Sugarmill on the 7th of March. They are definitely worth seeing if you've got a bit of an itch for a gig.

Oh and tell Jess that Frank tweeted that there's less than 200 tickets left for his Manchester show hint hint!