I’ve written about Mansfield Park on the blog here. It was also the topic of my senior thesis for my undergrad English degree, in which I wrote about how Fanny was a model of femininity to be embraced, not ignored. One of these days I’ll upload it to the Internets and share it.
Outside my window:: Sunny but also cloudy, if that makes sense. I guess the weatherman would call this “partly sunny”? Or “partly cloudy”? (I never did understand the distinction.)
In the CD player:: 1776 soundtrack.
Wearing:: My PJs. I know. So unexciting. But all my pretty clothes are packed away for vacation!
Reading:: Reclaiming Catholic Social Teaching; The Whole World Over; Mansfield Park; Lisette’s List. I also have a bunch of books packed for vacation, including Middlemarch, The Forsythe Saga, The Girl On A Train; A Memory of Violets; Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore, and a few more.
Yes, I bring lots of books when I go on vacation. It’s often like this:
Crafting:: I”ve got some knitting packed for Edel, because there are going to be excellent knitters there, and I need someone to teach me to purl consistently! I’ve also got my scarf and washcloth still on the needles.
From the kitchen:: Not much, since we’re leaving soon! I’m looking forward to excellent Charleston food!
Keeping House:: Cleaning before I leave–making sure all the trash is out, and things are generally tidy, so when I come home it won’t be a disaster. And of course, packing.
Fitness: Today is a yoga day, and tomorrow is a gym day. I am packing gym clothes for vacation (the hotel has a gym), but I think the normal run of things might be enough! We’ll see, though. Better to be prepared, right?
Prayer:: Really trying to keep to my “horarium”, as I’m calling it. That means prayer in the morning (lauds) with some devotional reading; midday prayer (noon) if I don’t make it to Mass; Divine Mercy chaplet and Office of Readings at 3:00 (and rosary, if I have time); Vespers between 5 and 5:30 (with rosary after, if I didn’t get to it already), and compline between 7:45 and 8:45, depending on what’s going on. This is, actually, a copy of a few monastic schedules. It’s not every hour of the office, but it’s a majority of them (It’s four, and there’s seven hours of the office). As a Lay Dominican, lauds, vespers and rosary are required every day. But I really like the office of readings, and compline is special to Dominicans. And of course, Daily Mass when I can.
There will be an adoration chapel set up at Edel on Saturday, which makes me crazy happy.
This week:: Um, vacation? 🙂 Edel is Friday and Saturday. So excited for that. 10 Year Anniversary is on Saturday as well! Rejoice! 🙂
Some cuteness: Princess Charlotte and her family at her baptism yesterday. The baptism was held at St. Mary Magdalene church in Sandringham.
And people, there is ONLY ONE P&P movie. ONLY ONE.
(If you want some video, click the second link above).
There is no other version. The Keira Knightley version does not exist in my world. Jennifer Ehle is Elizabeth, and Colin Firth is Darcy, and that is all.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about the book!
- P&P is, without a doubt, the Jane novel I’ve re-read the most. I used Mansfield Park (which is next!) a lot, obviously, when I was writing my thesis, but P&P has been read, straight through, the most. It’s also, coincidentally, one of Jane’s shorter novels. It’s shorter than Sense and Sensibility, and it’s only 40 pages longer than Persuasion, so P&P is the second-shortest of her novels.
- The action gets started right away, which is another reason I think it’s shorter. It’s concentrated, in a way. Bingley is introduced on the very first page–the narrative and characters are set, and we’re off.
- It’s so hard to read the parts of this novel where Elizabeth believes Wickham (does anyone else feel this way?). After you’ve read it a few times you just want to yell, “RUN AWAY!” The first time you read it, of course, it’s a sucker punch when Darcy’s letter reveals him about halfway through the novel, and you cannot believe it.
- I love the scenes of Darcy and Elizabeth at Rosings. It’s just so obvious that they are more alike than they think.
- I wish we still wrote letters to people. Email is faster, no doubt, but the handwritten quality of letters is so delightful.
- Georgiana Darcy is fun, isn’t she? At least I think she’s fun. I would love to know more about her, and I wish Lizzie had gotten to spend more time with her. Since this novel is so streamlined, we don’t get the insight into the secondary characters that we do in some of the others.
- Whenever I read about Darcy’s library, I want to know what’s in it. What do you think Darcy would like to read?
- Jane told her family the fates of the other characters–both Kitty and Mary end up married, but I wonder what their husbands were like.
- And: Did Mr. Collins ever inherit Longbourn? Or did Mr. Bennet outlast him? (Probably not, but I can see how that would’ve mae Mrs. Bennet happy.)
Share your thoughts about P&P in the combox!
So I’m still working the same two projects, the scarf and the washcloth/dishcloth/dust rag (whatever you want to call it!). I’ve been knitting while I watch Outlander or Breaking Bad, and I can knit for about a half hour at a time during those. I did find another skein of yarn, called Chipmunk, that I think will be great for the next VA scarf project. It’s the same type of yarn as the one I’m currently working with, which you can read about here.
As for reading: I’m saving The Girl on the Train and A God In Ruins for the Charleston trip, which is fast approaching. I want to have new books to read in the car. 🙂 I just finished The Astronaut Wives Club, which was pretty good. There were a lot of wives to keep straight, eventually, but I think the writer did a good job giving us insight into their lives. The book I’m currently reading is Pride and Prejudice, for the Great Jane Re-Read.
Let’s talk yarn and book, shall we?
In the last Yarn Along, I was working on a lot: the scarf for the VA, and the last of the housekeeping gift of washcloths. I’m still working on both projects.
So the scarf is on the left and the newly started final washcloth is on the right. This yarn was sort of a bear to knit for the first few rows, and I don’t know why this yarn (Comfy worsted from Knit Picks) can be so back and forth when it comes to starting projects. It gets easier as I progress, but sometimes it’s really smooth right off the bat, and sometimes it’s not. This color is called blackberry, and it’s on the harmony rainbow needles.
For my reading, I’m working on Fr. Michael Gaitley’s The One Thing is Three, which is about the trinity and a lot of other theological things, namely the Summa Theologica (which I’m studying in a group at church right now, so yay!). I’ve previously read his Consoling the Heart of Jesus and I’m going to be reading his 33 Days to Morning Glory later this month.
Outside my window::
Sunny through thin white clouds. It’s not going to be very warm today–well, warm for June–so swimming is probably out, but that’s OK!
Jeans, a bright blue v-neck t-shirt, and flats.
Working on Northanger Abbey. I finished Prodigal Summer yesterday, and man, I wish Barbara Kingsolver would write a sequel. It’s that kind of novel where you want to stay with the characters for a long time, even after the book is finished. I’m reading The One Thing is Three for my spiritual reading. The rest of the fiction pile includes The Forsyte Saga and A God In Ruins, and then I’ve got What Matters In Jane Austen and Jane Austen’s England. So a variety of things on the reading pile!
In the CD player::
The Light in the Piazza, celebrating Kelli O’Hara’s Tony win.
This week I’m doing something different with LA–I’m going back to doing the link-ups/weekly features that I’ve sort of been neglecting amidst the new writing plan. So tomorrow is the Yarn Along, Thursday I’m talking about Sketchbook Skool, and then Friday we’ll have Quick Takes. I’m also going to get some things pre-written because I’ll be in Pittsburgh until Tuesday.
The Dominican section of the memoir continues apace. It’s sort of a complex section to write but the goal here is to get it down into a physical form on “paper” (or, in a Pages document). Then I can revise it. I’m hoping to have the section done by the end of the month so that in July, when I’m back from Charleston, I can start sending out queries and book proposals. (EEEEEK)
You’ll have to come back tomorrow and Thursday to read about that. 🙂 But really, it’s been really interesting in this area lately.
So yesterday was my Annual Clinic Day of Testing for Transplant Guys. 🙂 Basically, all the yearly tests we do, I did yesterday. That involved lots of blood-letting, full PFTs (Pulmonary Function Tests–“full” meaning more than just the basic test I do every visit. We checked gas diffusions in my lungs and some other fun things), a CT scan of my lungs, bone density scan, and an abdominal ultrasound, which looks at my spleen, liver, kidneys, all that sort of stuff.
I lost five pounds “officially” in clinic (I told the dietician that I had lost 10 lbs at one point, but the loss doesn’t want to stay there, sadly), and the PFTs went up four points. So win to that correlation. Everyone’s happy with that. I haven’t gotten the results back yet from the other tests. (Other than things like my regular chest X-ray, which looked fine and dandy–we saw that in clinic.)
Today I’m going to see my ENT so he can check out my sinuses. I see him about every six months, and about every two years, we do the sinus surgery. This is because even though my lungs don’t have CF, the rest of my body does, so we still have to keep the sinuses happy. They tend to fill with the CF-quality mucus and that can be a huge breeding ground for infection. Fortunately, I don’t have nearly as many sinus issues as some other CF folks I know.
I normally don’t talk to many–if any–other patients when I’m at Children’s. Part of that is because I don’t really talk in waiting rooms, at all, and partially because a lot of the time, I’m alone. In clinic, I’m in my own room, and in radiology, the transplant/cancer patients sit in the radiology hallway itself, not in the general waiting room, because of concerns about sick people.
I’m really familiar with the radiology hallway. It used to be main radiology for the entire hospital, so I’ve come here as an ER patient, as a CF outpatient, and in the days after transplant, at 6 AM, before the hospital was really “up”, so I the chances of me running into a sick person (or anyone else) were really slim. I know all the radiology techs really well, and know some of them by name.
There are three chairs set up outside the main waiting room door for transplant/oncology patients. Sometimes it’s me and other transplant patients who are being seen that day (we all have the same routine–blood work, x-rays, clinic), but mostly it’s just me.
Yesterday there was a small family: a boy, a girl, and the mother. The kids looked to be in high school. I knew the boy was a transplant patient because 1) he was wearing a Dash for Donation shirt (it’s the annual Lifeline of Ohio race), and 2) he had a mask on. Most of us wear masks in the hospital. I hate wearing them so I generally don’t. (yeah, I’m a rebel.)
But the boy looked so sick. I couldn’t tell if he was pre or post-transplant. He was so thin I could see the ligaments in his legs around his knees, the tendons popping out. His shirt hung on his, and he was in a wheelchair. He didn’t really look anywhere, other than vaguely at his lap. His sister was plugging away at Facebook on her phone, but he just sat there, vaguely thinking about something.
I knew that look. I’d been there. It’s the look of not really having the brain power to do anything else but tend to the function of your body. Breathe, sit up. Breathe.
He went back for X-rays, and I talked briefly to his sister–small things, about the waiting area, her sparkly phone cover. Her brother came back quickly and they were gone, heading up to clinic.
The radiology technician called me to a room. “He’s rejecting,” she told me.
“How far out is he?”
Ah, five years. Five is a magical number. About half make it to five years–it’s a little less than that, for girls. UNOS (United Network for Organ Sharing) doesn’t even have 10 year stats on their website, yet, for lung transplant patients. At hitting 10 years, I’m sort of a statistical anomaly. Five years is becoming more common, but 10 is still out there, and the people I know who are 15+ years have had two transplants.
I am extremely, extremely lucky. And it could all change, but right now, the fact that I’m this far out, and that I’ll be celebrating my 10 year mark in a month, is incredibly fortunate. I am incredibly fortunate.
Plans for the Week::
I have a Summa Theologica class at church on Wednesday–this just started last week–which means I have to read Question 2 of Part 1 today so I’m ready to talk about it tomorrow. 🙂 On Friday I have another doctor appointment and then I leave for Pittsburgh on Saturday!
(note: that lovely photo of bluebells? Elizabeth Foss took that. 🙂 I hope she doesn’t mind that I borrowed it from her website! It’s just so gorgeous.)
mmmm. Summer Friday. Those are beautiful words in the English language, no? 🙂
Since it’s summer, more people read. You can, of course, join the Jane Re-Read (Sense and Sensibility is what we’re talking right now). I’m still reading Prodigal Summer and Northanger Abbey. I just finished I Believe In Love, about St. Therese of Liseux and how she can lead us to a deeper spiritual life, and I really liked that one. There’s a lot to ponder and I’ll definitely be reading it again. (Who am I kidding. I read everything again….unless it’s Moby Dick or Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Shudder!)
I keep debating if I should read Girl on a Train. Yes? No? Thoughts?
My 10 year transplant testing appointment is on Monday. To put this in perspective: UNOS (the United Network for Organ Sharing, which “does” transplants in the U.S.) doesn’t even have 10 year survival rates on their chart. The last one they have is 5 years out, and for women, that rate is 46.1%. I read somewhere that 10 year survival is around 30%, but I forget where.
So, for ONCE, the odds have been playing nicely with me. I rejoice in this. The actual 10 year date is in July, but we do the testing in June, usually.
I’ve discovered that a lot of women don’t know basic maintenance things. This sort of scares me, ladies. You should know to put gas in the car (and what kind of gas), how to jump a car battery, how to use tools, how to unclog a toilet. Even if you’re married, your husband isn’t aways around to fix things! I’m amazed at how many women I know who can’t do any of these things and I want to be like, girls. Come on now!
My brother’s girlfriend sent me this photo of him at Disneyland, and I just love it:
As Br. H said, “How many Evil Empires can you fit in one picture?”
I’ve started swimming again–yay! But man, the muscles feel it when you swim hard for the first time in a season. They rebel the next day. But it’s so good to be in swim season again, I do not mind at all.
Almost time for Edel 2015 in Charleston! I’m so excited!! I’ve never been to South Carolina and I can’t wait to meet all the amazing women who will be there!
We’re doing this slightly out of order–I read S&S first this year, so we’re starting there.
Since this is the first post on the Jane Re-Read, let’s do some basic ground rules:
1) Yes, she’s Jane here. I can’t call her “Austen” like I would “Dickens.” Jane just seems like a friend to me. Hence, Jane.
2) Abbreviations: S&S–Sense and Sensibility; P&P–Pride and Prejudice; MP–Mansfield Park; E–Emma; P–Persuasion; NA–Northanger Abbey; JA–Juvenilia, (not her initials. 🙂 )
3) In each entry–which will come up every two weeks–we can talk about anything related to the book. I’ll post links to other things I’ve written about the particular book, and I’ll also post my favorite movie version of each book (there are multiple versions of every book except NA, I think.)
4) I won’t summarize the book. You can google it for that. I’m assuming you’re going to read (or have read) the book. So it’ll just be notes. So, if you haven’t–spoilers, y’all.
Ready, y’all? Let’s start with Jane’s “darling child,” S&S.
S&S was originally titled Elinor and Marianne, and Jane took time off between the first draft and the published version we know as S&S. She wrote the first draft when she was younger, but it wasn’t published until several years later. Her family relocation to Bath, the death of her father, and the fallout from that made for a peripatetic life. Finally, her brother Edward settled Jane, her mother, and her sister and best friend Cassandra , at Chawton Cottage in the village of Chawton. It was there that Jane revised S&S, P&P and NA, and wrote MP, E, and P.
Much of S&S deals with a topic Jane was intimately familiar with–what happens to the wife and daughters of a man when he dies. The Dashwood women do not fare nearly as well as the Austen women did. Jane’s brothers all pooled their resources to provide for Jane, Cassandra, and Mrs. Austen. (Cassandra was engaged, but her fiance died in a shipwreck.) Regency society was very hard for unmarried and widowed women, and that’s illustrated well in the novel. Without Sir John’s easy rent terms for Barton Cottage, the family would’ve been very hard pressed to find anything near their former situation. While the Dashwood women now live in a cottage instead of handsome Norland Park, they still have at least one maid and a manservant, and are able to live in an approximation of their former life (none of the women have to work, for example, to earn money). But their lives could’ve been much easier if John Dashwood had kept his promise to his dying father.
The closeness of the two sisters is also true to life for Jane. Jane endowed Marianne with several of her qualities: Marianne adores Cowper (Jane’s favorite poet), and shares some of Jane’s personality; also, Jane was the younger sister (and second youngest child in the Austen family). It is easy to imagine Cassandra as Elinor, especially since Elinor is an artist, as Cassandra was. The closeness of sisters is examined in many of Jane’s novels, but particularly here and in P&P (with Jane and Lizzie). In Persuasion, Anne Elliott isn’t close to either of her sisters; Fanny Price in MP is close to one of her younger sisters, and Emma’s older sister, Isabella, is a sort of non-entity since she is married and lives in London, not Highbury, with her husband and children.
It’s interesting that only MP deals with brothers–Fanny is very attached to her brother William, who serves in the Royal Navy (as did almost all of Jane’s brothers). Edmund Bertram treats Fanny like a sister for much of MP, but they’re cousins. There are no “true” brothers in any of the other novels: In S&S, he’s the girls half-brother, from their father’s first marriage; there are no Bennet boys, which is a major plot point, and both the Woodhouse and Elliott families have only girls. (This is also a major plot point in Persuasion, not so much in MP.)
I have a lot in common with Marianne. We both love music and romance and poetry, but I also have a bit of Elinor in me. I would never act like Marianne does in the ballroom scene in London, for example. The old-fashioned girl part of me waits for the man to approach and to do the asking. Like Elinor, I’m aware of social norms and what’s acceptable behavior, and 99% of the time, I follow it. (The other 1%…well, sometimes we all go nuts. :-)) But I also am fiercely loyal, like Marianne is, and don’t take fools lightly, although I generally use my Elinor side to refrain from saying whatever I think. (See, Marianne and the Middletons.)
Am I the only one who wanted Edward to buck up? You are not in love with Lucy anymore–break off the engagement! I totally support him keeping his word, but come on, Edward! You were willing to spend your life with a woman who drove you crazy because when you were young you made a mistake and got engaged?! Boo.
I think every girl has her Willoughby–that man she falls head-over-heels for, the one that seems so perfect. And then you find out he’s not. Maybe he’s not a scoundrel, a la Wickham, but he’s not perfect, and he’s not the man for you.
It’s a fine line between Marianne and Elinor. If you stay silent, like Elinor does, you could miss your chance. But if you’re overly eager, as Marianne is, it can cause you problems later on. I always wondered what Margaret would end up like–more Elinor, or Marianne? Or a good mixture of both?
Like all of Jane’s heroines, Marianne learns a lesson by the time she weds the Colonel (who, incidentally, is never given a first name in the books. He’s just Colonel Brandon.), but I think she’s happier for it. I think she and Elinor both have good, solid marriages, where both of them can love and esteem their husbands (as Mr. Bennet exhorts Lizzie to do in P&P).
What do you think of S&S? Are you more a Marianne or an Elinor?
What a weekend! I spent a lot of time with my needles and yarn!
Let me take you through it!
First, remember this guy? Yes. I have finished the long scarf/cowl thing, and as I was knitting it, I thought it would make a great birthday present for one of my always-cold friends. Her birthday is in September, and these are her favorite colors, so big win there! I love how it turned out.
Second–at the top you can see the finished “lilac” washcloth. On the right is the last skein of yarn for the Washcloth Housewarming Gift Project. This one is called blackberry.
The book part: I’m reading Barbara Kingsolver’s Prodigal Summer, which I’ve been wanting to read for awhile, but once Modern Mrs. Darcy suggested it, I was glad to find it for $4 at Half Price Books. 🙂 So that’s what I’m currently reading.
So I have to cast on the last washcloth. But I did start one new project:
People, this yarn. It’s called morning glory, and it has the slightest red tint to it. I love it. This is a scarf for a charity project. My Lay Dominican chapter collects hats and scarves to give to the patients at the local VA hospital, and this is my contribution. I’m knitting this up on 10 gauge Harmony Rainbow needles and it’s fantastic.
So, whew! That’s a lot for one yarn along! I’m loving knitting this scarf, and I’m so glad I have another skein of this color in the stash for another project. Possibly one for me. 😉
It’s almost Memorial Day weekend here in the States, which is the unofficial summer kick-off. Barbecues will fire up, pools will open, and school kids enter the homestretch of the school year, if they’re not already out.
In my house, Memorial Day means it’s time for the Great Jane Re-Read.
I first fell in love with Jane before I went to college. Like most women in the 90s, this is the image that led me to Jane:
Yes. I wasn’t drawn to Jane because I was naturally precocious–I was drawn to Jane because of Colin Firth.
There is nothing wrong with that!
During summer vacations, my best friends and I would spend a lot of time on hot summer days watching movies in one another’s houses. One day, Tiff whipped out her parents’ 6 volume VHS set of Pride and Prejudice. I’d been wanting to read the book, but I hadn’t–yet.
We spent an entire afternoon watching it. And it was glorious. So glorious, in fact, that I went to Barnes and Noble, got Jane, and preceded to read P&P in one big gulp. I used newly discovered Amazon to buy the rest of her books when I was in the hospital later that summer. I read them eagerly, voraciously, devotedly–I underlined passages and made notes in the margins. When I was in college, I chose English Lit as my specialization, and my senior thesis was on….yeah, that’s right….Jane. 🙂 Specifically, feminism in Mansfield Park, and no, that does not mean what you think it means. (In a nutshell, my argument was that we should all be nicer to Fanny Price, and that Jane liked that character, and we should too! I’m Team Fanny! And Hailey basically writes my thesis in blog format in that post. Sort of. Maybe one day I’ll share the thesis with y’all.)
So, every summer, I go back to Jane, starting Memorial Day weekend. This year I’ve started early. I’ve already re-read Sense and Sensibility (Hardcover Classics), and I’m reading The Annotated Northanger Abbey right now, so I’m also doing this out of order. 🙂 (The order is Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, Persuasion, and Northanger Abbey.) I got a new copy of NA for my birthday, so I wanted to read that after S&S. (Yes, I do have multiple copies of Jane, including the gorgeous Penguin ones that are illustrated here. Seriously, they’re divine)
Why do I re-read her every summer? For a lot of reasons. I get more familiar with the books; they seep more deeply into me. And there’s things I notice every time that hit me differently. I’m not the same person I was the last time I read these books. I find myself liking or disliking certain characters more. For example, I really disliked Emma the first few times I read her book. Now, she’s getting better (but is she “handsome enough to tempt me?”).
I intend, as I re-read these over the summer, to write about each book after I finish it–a bit of Jane notes, if you will. And of course I’ll direct you to my Jane series that I did last year.
Will you join me in the re-read? Which Jane protagonist is your favorite? Which is your least favorite?