Sense and Sensibility, by Jane Austen

by Derwood Hunsdale-Talbot on August 12, 2008

When I was first introduced to Jane Austen, I was excited. Finally I get to see what all the fuss was about. Why Emma Thompson is obsessed with making films of her novels and why Saturday Night Live took such glee is parodying them.

Unfortunately Adam Sandler’s The Wedding Singer song summed it up best “Somebody Kill Me Please.” I won’t sing it, but it captured my feelings towards wading through Sense and Sensibility or as I called it “Sense and Senseless.” (I did not fare much better with Pride and Prejudice either.) Barely able to finish them, I checked the then video cassette out from the library and fast forwarded as needed to get the gist of the story and major plot points. I then pretended interested in class and promptly wrote my final paper on the novel read before that.

Clearly my inability to revel in Austen is a personality issue, but if I had to dissect the reasons why it boils down to this: The story annoys me. The characters annoy me. Well that would pretty much spoil any novel for anyone. Specifically the characters were bothersome in what appeared to be a complete lack of common sense and an undertone of helplessness, at least with the female characters. While I know in the movies the male characters tend to be dashing and handsome, the female characters are portrayed as so feminine, it’s almost sickening.

Yes, I realize it was written in 1811 and it was a very different time, so much so, that this could have been considered the Chick Lit of the 19th century. In fact, that’s what I’m going to classify it as: Chick Lit. Minus the naughty bits.

Don’t even get me started on Emma.

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