Being Well Dressed, by Katherine Reay

Being Well Dressed, by Katherine Reay

I admit… When I read Jane Austen I appropriate the characters. I may imagine myself as the brilliant sparkling Elizabeth Bennet (rarely) or the pragmatic Elinor Dashwood (too often) – but I’m someone. Somedays when I’m particulary surly I might even be a Mary – show me a “good” Mary in all of Austen – please. 🙂

But no matter who I am… I am well dressed. I move through the story in silk dresses, maybe a cool muslin, cravats, if I’m Darcy that day, and shoe-roses got by proxy.

I think one reason we can so easily cast ourselves into 200 year old stories is that Austen gets us. Human nature hasn’t changed even if fashions have. From Pride and Prejudice alone, Austen shows we will always get things wrong; carry prejudice, look out for our own interests, demonstrate beautiful loyalty, stand firm when pressed, and often rise above it all with the truest sacrificial instincts. We see in her fiction and in our lives, that sibling love is powerful and a gift, sibling rivalry undeniable, and families, good or bad, are for life. We meet these people daily – we are these people daily – and for a little while we dress like them and that’s a lovely escape.

Now back to my sweats my running shirt… 😉

Have a great day!




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4 Responses to Being Well Dressed, by Katherine Reay

  1. As I get older, I look back on my life and how I judged or evaluated [Mary] my behavior and actions [and others]. Something will spur a memory and I’ll think back on what I did… or didn’t do… and how I handled a situation [M/M Bennet]. One day it dawned on me… OMG!!! I had acted just like Lydia. I realized, to my horror, that I had truly behaved badly. In other situations I was Kitty and followed the group in hopes of being liked and accepted. I have let my stubbornness [Lizzy] get the better of me and judged people and situations incorrectly. That was a slap in the face. Austen really did know her characters and she knew human nature. We all can find ourselves in her writing and we can use them as a guide to avoid bad behavior or to emulate the good. I’ve been other characters too. I think we all have the capacity to exhibit Austen’s character traits. Thanks for this thought provoking post.

    • Thank you for dropping by… I agree, Austen pinned human nature as accurately as Roger Hamlin pinned his bugs to boards. (Wives and Daughters is a favorite of mine)… I can always find myself, whether I like what I find or not, within Austen. Have a great day!

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