Tag Archive | Jane Austen

(Another) Goodbye to Freshman Year

ggHello again! I hope that everyone has had or is having an amazing end of their spring semester or school year, beginning of their summer, etc! I have officially finished my freshman year of college, which is crazy! I packed up and said goodbye to freshman dorm, roommate, dining halls…some parts of which were much more bittersweet than others.

Processed with VSCO with c1 presetI’ll miss a lot of things about being a college freshman, of course. It’s like being any kind of freshman. People look out for you and want to help you succeed. There are those who look down on you for being the babies, obviously; but there are still more people who consider you adorable and take you under their wings for the same reason. And then there are all of the other perks, like “free” food and coffee, like everyday. I forgot that Starbucks was a business and that normal people pay for it for awhile. And I’m not sure what not going to grab freebies from tabling events as often will be like. (Just kidding I’ll probably still nab stuff who are we kidding.)IMG_8150

I’ll also miss living right in the center of campus. I was definitely spoiled with the prime location of my dorm (Hopkins). I could just climb the hill to get to class or go get food. I could walk anywhere in about five to ten minutes, honestly. I’ll also miss the fact that most of my friends and I all lived in the same two blocks, and that to “go out” we literally just walked downstairs.

But there are of course things that I won’t miss, too (the shared bathroom situation, the inevitably messy tiny shoebox where we slept, etc.). More importantly, though, there are even more things that I am looking forward to about when everyone is back on campus in the fall.

IMG_6214I’ll get to see my friends, go to more Arts Ambassador meetings, and take new classes. I have a job and a project lined up and ready to go, and I’m so completely excited about both. I may join a sorority, and though Rush is terrifying, the idea of having a house and another group of friendly faces on campus would be so sweet and invaluable. I’m going to live in a North Ave. apartment with my friends, and though it is a little farther away from campus, we can still walk everywhere. We have our own rooms, share two bathrooms, and there’s a KITCHEN! I’m going to learn how to cook in between reading for my Medieval Lit class and studying Personality Theory. I’ll also get to decorate four walls instead of just one, and it’s going to be beautiful.desk before

 

I even can’t wait to help the next round of freshmen. I have learned so much over the past year, the past three semesters, that I am more than happy and willing to share anything that I know and have learned with someone who needs it. I’ve already given some tips out to people who I can’t wait to take under the now experienced non-freshman wing of my own.

I’ll miss that being me, but I know that my own wings have not gone away. I still have my older friends, past professors, and the resources that I had and needed as a freshman. I don’t,desk after by any means, know everything; I know I’ll still need help along the way too. But I have built my own little community here, and for that I am so very grateful. That’s what being a freshman, or just being young, I think, is at least partially about. It grows as you do, and it never goes away.

So for you incoming freshman, reach out and get to know others. Join clubs, do things that you’re interested in, try new things. Some things you try may suck, but guess what: you

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can quit them, or try again later. Take advantage of your benefits (like free coffee, I’m bitter can you tell) and don’t forget about them. Be grateful and kind and optimistic. Do your best, but take care of yourselves and give yourself a break, too. The fall is just right around the corner.

~Until then, I’m going to catch up on posts from the past couple of months. Also, I have exciting summer announcements, sO LOL IF YOU THOUGHT I WAS DONE OR SOMETHING, gg2CHECK OUT MY NEXT BLOG POST BECAUSE IT’S GONNA BE MORE EXCITING THAN ANY OF THIS.

Oh yeah, and XOXO GOSSIP GIRL~

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Movie Review

But…what the heck did I just watch?

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies promoted itself as a horror movie, as a kick*ss, female empowerment film loosely based on Jane Austen’s classic. What I found instead was a shell of a story, the lines and tension and character development replaced with dramatic, frequent, and pointless zombie battles.

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I didn’t not like this movie because I’m a Jane Austen purist. I love her books, but I’m not some fan who would be rap your knuckles for misquoting her, or be aghast at a movie director making alterations from page to screen. I love Clueless, love Joe Wright’s 2005 Pride and Prejudice. I’m not a zombie person either, but I don’t even think that was my main issue. 

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies just wasn’t right. It was shallow. The actors delivered their lines flatly. They weren’t characters; they were unmemorable people, reading from Jane Austen’s book because they had to. They spit out Austen’s glorious words, quickly, so as to add another zombie attack or battle in the upcoming scenes.

Everything was focused on the zombies, and even that issue wasn’t very realistic or well-developed. There was no story, no characterization, no chemistry. It felt as though they assumed that the audience would know everything already, which you can’t do if you’re directing a movie. You can’t forsake the fundamentals of storytelling for the sake of entertainment. (I mean, Hollywood does this all the time. But they shouldn’t.)

You also can’t just throw a bunch of actors into the shoes of Elizabeth and Darcy and Bingley and Jane. There need to be genuine interactions and tensions between them, especially if you are going to attempt to put this story forward as a love story at all. Darcy and Lizzy didn’t even get to dance at the Netherfield ball! And she never wandered around or awkwardly ran into him at Pemberley? (Wait did Darcy even have a Pemberley in this movie?) These are two of my favorite scenes in the entire story, so I was very disappointed. Their absence made me realize how crucial they are to the development of Darcy and Lizzy’s relationship.

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The major problems really were the lack of depth, development, and characterization. However, this movie is perhaps not so horrible if approached much less seriously. Pretend it’s a comedy. (It’s so over the top that this is easily done.)

Matt Smith (cough Sherlock cough), for starters, was HYSTERICAL as Mr. Collins. His irrational little quips were different, but just as uncomfortable, just as ridiculous, just as true to form.

“Before we know it [the zombies] will be running for parliament”

His dance with Elizabeth was perfect and horrid at once—he reminded me of Weselton from Frozen, dancing like a chicken.

Another comedic saving grace was Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister) herself. She was some famous kick*ss zombie hunter, apparently? (Not sure why SHE wasn’t out fighting zombies too, then…) Her eyepatch cracked me up. She snorted and rolled her eyes at everyone and everything and I related to her very strongly each time. I wish that she had actually fought Elizabeth, but I thought that they did that confrontation scene very well. I especially like that she approved of Lizzy afterwards, for fighting, for holding her own and being so brave.

“I do not know which I admire more, your skill as a warrior, or your resolve as a woman.”

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There were a couple of other lines, not necessarily comedic, that I particularly liked as well:

Elizabeth: “I shall never relinquish my sword for a ring.”

Charlotte: “For the right man you would.”

Elizabeth: “The right man wouldn’t ask me to.”

There should have been more of this!

“What’s right to be done cannot be done too soon.”

(This, I have just learned, is actually a quote from Jane Austen’s Emma. Cool!)

“If adventures will not befall a young lady in her own village she must seek them abroad.”

(OH MY GOD AND THIS ONE IS FROM NORTHANGER ABBEY??)

Bravo, scriptwriters. Very clever.

There were a few other things that I have to nod at as well. They so smoothly turned war and soldiers into zombie battles and fighters; it oddly fit into Jane Austen’s story, in other words. The actual hand to hand combat was impressive too. I’m sure endless training went into making these duels so sharp, quick, effortless-looking. Some were more obviously rehearsed, but Lily and the guy who plays Darcy in particular did a convincing job of masking this. And, okay, so maybe I did like the proposal scene a little too. It was a nod to the book, but was turned up a few notches into a full out brawl when Elizabeth started swinging at Darcy.

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The desire for the Bennet daughters to find husbands definitely took a back burner to trying to survive the half-thought out zombie apocalypse. And as odd and over the top and simultaneously dull as this movie was, it was, for the most part, entertaining. Only, don’t make my mistake. Prepare yourself for comedy, for something truly ridiculous. And then, I daresay, you will find Pride and Prejudice and Zombies fairly tolerable.

Rating: 5/10

Finally Finding Fanny (And The Voice of Women Throughout History)

(I wrote this essay for an independent novels assignment in my AP Literature class. We had to choose a literary criticism and use it to analyze any book we wished. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen and feminism? DUH. I’m the poster fan child for both. Anyway, this was really fun to write, and it won the Young Georgia Authors writing contest for 12th grade at my school! I’m so genuinely happy that my uber feminist argument and analysis could be shared on this scale!)

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Throughout history, women have always struggled to be heard. They’ve fought for the right to vote, the right to own and inherit property, the right to speak out for both themselves and others. They have been treated as inferior to men with horrid frequency. They have been simplified and subjugated as housewives, child-bearers, and accessories.

During the eighteen hundreds, this problem was largely ignored – even by women. Many women felt as though, by fulfilling this inferior societal position, they were simply doing their duty. They were content in the “noble” aims with which their gender roles provided them.

Many feminist novel writers, however, were not satisfied with their lots in life. It was difficult to speak out without being silenced, difficult to tell their stories and be heard. So they wrote them down instead. They created characters ensnared in similar settings as they. They spoke through them to reveal the truths about the realities they faced. At least, this is what Jane Austen did.

In Mansfield Park, Austen explores the doubly confining role that her heroine, Fanny Price, plays as a lower class woman; Austen exposes and combats the treatment that both she and Fanny experienced in the hopes that these injustices would finally be understood, their voices finally be heard.

In the very beginning of the novel, a young Fanny is thrust into a world apart from that to which she was born and accustomed. Her mother marries a poor man, despite the wishes and rank of her family. It is from this choice that stems much of Fanny’s fate. For when her mother “marries down,” she takes the social status of her husband. This was always the case for women during this time period. They were completely reliant upon their husbands for both income and social status.

Unlike many, however, Fanny’s mother is eventually pitied by her relatives. They decide to do something that they deem charitable for her: relieve her of one of her children. Children were a heavy burden. They could not yet contribute to society and were another mouth to feed. Therefore, Fanny Price, the oldest daughter, is easily spared. She is sent away to Mansfield Park, where she is to live with her wealthy, arrogant, and oftentimes neglectful relatives, the Bertrams.

The Bertrams are “neglectful” in that they oftentimes overlook Fanny – everyone except Edmund, anyway. They view her as a charity case, a pet project. Fanny is of the lower class, and though they take her in and raise her, their goal is never to erase and reshape her identity. They never attempt to teach her the skills of a refined lady; she does not learn to paint or speak French like her cousins had years before. Her social class and gender define her, establish expectations for her. And this is made painfully obvious through Fanny’s immersion into her relative’s household.

As Fanny grows up, her position in the world is continuously reinforced by those around her. During this time period, women were expected to “come out” – that is, formally be introduced into society, to become an eligible wife. Until a woman had come out, she was expected to be quiet, demure. Afterwards, she should be the life of the party, a flirt, friendly to all, until she was married. Women were expected to change and act differently in order to “catch” a respectable husband. There was no such initiation for men. And while both of Fanny’s cousins partook in this ceremonious rebirth, Fanny herself did not, simply because she was poor. Mary Crawford struggled and failed to understand this, could not imagine how Fanny was so different and inexplicably herself. Once again, Fanny was subject to not only her femininity, but her socioeconomic status as well.

Another instance within this novel that the disparities between the genders is revealed is when Mary discusses men writing letters. This is an activity that all real men avoid, she says; they view it as a task and only share the most crucial and occasional news through their correspondence. Women on the other hand, were encouraged, taught, and expected to write lengthy letters, letters of frivolity and passion and gossip. Men could not be trifled with such matters – they had more important things to tend to. They were responsible for business, be it in the city, the park, or abroad. Women were to take care of domestic matters, and those that were wealthy had servants to oversee their homes, meals, and children for them. In fact, for an upper class woman such as Fanny’s aunt, it was perfectly normal for her to sit at home, lounging about, and doing absolutely nothing. And because Fanny is seen as her relatives’ subordinate, it often falls to her to look after her aunt. She travels less, does not have her own horse, and never speaks up. This last quality, in fact, is why Fanny Price is so misjudged, so irritating, and so admirable throughout the novel.

Fanny is completely silent. She is such a passive character for much of the book that oftentimes the reader will find him or herself completely infuriated by her lack of confidence, involvement, and voice. The reader is shown more of the supporting characters and their actions than Fanny’s own. The novel instead follows her observations of them. She lends her opinion and thoughts to much, but says very little. Therefore, she seems very shallow, very weak. But she isn’t.

In reality, Fanny is headstrong and opinionated. She knows right from wrong, which is evidenced when she refuses to participate in the play that her cousins wish to perform. She knows where she stands and, because she is so observant, she knows where others stand too. Moreover, she knows who she is, what she loves – whether or not she will admit it to herself.

Fanny is a feminist icon, and yet she does not voice these qualities to the outside world. She does not agree with her station, but neither does she oppose it. She longs for fairer treatment from her relatives, but she does not seek or expect it. This is because, once again, Fanny knows her place. Or at least, what society has decided is her place based on both her gender and social status. There is nothing she feels that she can do about it. And what could she truly do, when her cousins have done so much for her? Supposedly, anyway.

Austen uses Fanny’s silence to emphasize the many injustices that she as a character and woman faces. Had Fanny opposed them, combatted her treatment and oppressors in some way, she would appear stronger, certainly. However, this is and was not done. This was not how women of this time and position would have faced them. Fanny’s behavior reveals just how real discrimination based on gender and class were during the eighteen hundreds.

It is hard to believe that a family would treat their cousin like the Bertrams treated Fanny, but they did, for it was customary, proper. Not only have classes come so much farther, but women have also overcome so many obstacles stacked against them since this time period. Women are still discriminated against, still treated differently than men, but hopefully in the future they will fully gain their independence and equality. Hopefully every woman will have the opportunity to overcome the confines of her small attic bedroom, to find true love, happiness, and a chance to finally, after years upon years of remaining quiet for the sake of propriety, speak her mind, just as Fanny Price did in Jane Austen’s infamous Mansfield Park.