Tag: Senseand Sensibility

Pride and Prejudice

5 Literary Heroines Who Were Feminists Before Feminism Even Existed

Our understanding of feminism has evolved over the course of the many years since the term was first coined in 1848. After the first Women’s Conference was held in Seneca Falls, we were introduced to this very important social movement. Originally used as a platform to work towards greater social changes such as abolition of slavery and the Temperance movement, feminism has in and of itself become something even greater than that. While we’re on the topic of feminism, let’s take a look at some strong female literary characters whose existence came about before the advent of this movement. 

 

1. Jane Eyre, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

 

Jane Eyre

Image Via IMDB

 

Published in 1847, only a year before the movement was christened, is the novel Jane EyreThe novel’s title character, Jane, is quite literally a “plain Jane” whose life is lived very simply and modestly. Jane is a woman who has been thrown curveballs at every turn, yet she remains strong-willed and pleasant throughout. She is quiet and reserved, yet her ability to gracefully maneuver around difficult circumstances shows immense courage and emotional intelligence. She believes in moral fortitude, and falls in love with a man she cannot be with because of an unfortunate bout of legal luck. When he suggests they run off together so that their love can continue despite the legality of the situation, she runs off alone. She values her convictions, beliefs, and morals far more than her emotions and this passionate love, and that makes her a true force to be reckoned with.

 

2. Elinor and Marianne Dashwood, Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

 

sense and sensibility

Image Via The Young Folks

 

Sense and Sensibility was published in 1811 and tells the story of the two Dashwood sisters: Elinor and Marianne (“Sense” and “Sensibility,” respectively). All Jane Austen novels feature strong, female protagonists so it was difficult to choose a single title, but I think this one exemplifies the tenants of what makes a person strong. Elinor is a woman who demonstrates responsibility and a strong love for her family. She continuously sacrifices her own desires and wants for the well-being of those to whom she is tied by blood. Her sister becomes romantically involved with a man who treats her poorly because he is selfish and greedy, and she falls into a deep state of depression. Elinor is eventually able to help her sister recover from this heartbreak, and in turn Marianne learns a valuable lesson on the subject of good sense. 

 

3. Elizabeth Bennett, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

 

pride and prejudice

Image Via Pinterest

 

Okay, okay. I went back on my word and chose a second Jane Austen novel, because how can one compile a list of early feminist literature and not include Pride and Prejudice? Published in 1813, it tells the story of a girl named Elizabeth Bennet whose close relationship with her father echoes the values she holds true to her heart. She is stubborn and stands up for what she believes in, and this tends to get her into trouble. Her mother wishes her to marry a man she does not love to help save their home, but she cannot agree to such a decision because every logical cell in her brain stands against the union. She meets a man named Mr. Darcy, whose cold and seemingly harsh nature strikes a flame of hatred for him in her. Of course, the two characters eventually work their way through the pride and prejudice embedded in their hearts, and hate gives way to love. 

 

4. “The Wife of Bath’s Tale” ft. in The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

 

wife of bath

Image Via Harvard’s Geoffrey Chaucer Website

 

While technically not a novel itself, “The Wife of Bath’s Tale” takes place within the collection of The Canterbury Tales  penned by Geoffrey Chaucer in Middle English somewhere between 1387 and 1400. Chaucer’s tales feature a group of people on a pilgrimage to visit the shrine of the martyr, Thomas Becket. Along the way to Canterbury, the group of people elect to tell stories, and this is how the reader encounters the Wife of Bath. Because of how old the text itself is, it’s difficult to fully determine what Chaucer’s intention was behind this character, but she essentially believes herself to be the foremost authority on marriage because of the statistical evidence she provides: her five separate marriages! She explains that she used sex as a tool to get what she wanted from her husbands including money and possessions; that she would tease her men with the promise of sex until she was given what she wanted. While her position as a feminist can be argued in either direction, it is at least quite clear that the Wife of Bath is a woman with a strong and fiery personality and stance. 

 

5. Declaration of Sentiments by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, principally 

 

women

Image Via AwesomeStories

 

As a way to close a list on proto-feminist characters in literature, I’m diverting from the initial path to include this important document signed in 1848, and the cast of characters is all women across time and space. This is the document that was signed all of those years ago at the convention held in Seneca Falls, and A Declaration of Sentiments is an important and worthwhile read for anyone who wishes to understand the very early history of the feminist movement. The primary author of the document was Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and she modeled its language and style after the Declaration of Independence. It provides a detailed list of sentiments that the 68 women and 32 men who signed the document believed important for progress to continue. The document itself certainly caused much controversy, but helped push forward the human mindset so that the suffrage movement could eventually take place. 

 

Our world has changed greatly since 1848, and feminism has changed with it. But at the end of the day, what remains true and valid is that we the people have found friends and like-minded allies in our favorite literary heroines. There are a vast number of feminist figures who did not make it to this list, but these are the ones that had the chance to exist before Elizabeth Cady Stanton helped to give them a voice and a cause to fight for.

 

Feature Image Via Focus Features

Jane Austen

10 Ardent Jane Austen Quotes to Admire and Love

She’s the author and woman we all love; she’s a legend and lady of literature. I’ve read her books and I’m sure you have too. Jane Austen is the writer whose work has embossed its mark in literary history. If I haven’t mentioned it in previous articles, I am a huge Pride and Prejudice fan. Readers of Austen can almost feel her words being spoken to them personally. She’s just that good. What’s not to love?

 

So when you can’t get enough of her novels and you need to be a little Austen-tatious, what do you do? You keep reading. This is a list of ten quotes from Jane Austen, to those who need a little lit-spiration.

 

1. “The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.”
― Northanger Abbey

 

2. “There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.”
Northanger Abbey

 

3. “A lady’s imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment.”
Pride and Prejudice

 

4. “I cannot fix on the hour, or the spot, or the look or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun.”
Pride and Prejudice

 

5. “Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us.”
Pride and Prejudice

 

6. “My idea of good company…is the company of clever, well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation; that is what I call good company.’
‘You are mistaken,’ said he gently, ‘that is not good company, that is the best.”
Persuasion

 

7. “It is only a novel… or, in short, only some work in which the greatest powers of the mind are displayed, in which the most thorough knowledge of human nature, the happiest delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusions of wit and humour, are conveyed to the world in the best-chosen language”
Northanger Abbey

 

8. “He is a gentleman, and I am a gentleman’s daughter. So far we are equal.”
Pride and Prejudice 
 
9. “Seldom, very seldom, does complete truth belong to any human disclosure; seldom can it happen that something is not a little disguised or a little mistaken.”
Emma

 

10. “I wish, as well as everybody else, to be perfectly happy; but, like everybody else, it must be in my own way.”
Sense and Sensibility
 
 
Feature Image Via The Telegraph
jo and laurie

9 Couples That Were Meant To Be But Never Were

Missed connection: you were two characters in the same novel. You had every opportunity to fall in love and make my dreams come true, but you didn’t! You were perfect for each other, and I don’t know why others can’t see that.

 

It’s so frustrating when two characters who are meant to live happily ever after end up taking different paths without one another. We’re here to talk about a few couples who we felt had potential, and we’re still sad they’re not an item.

 

1) Heathcliff and Catherine from Wuthering Heights

 

heathcliff and catherine

Via Giphy

 

You can’t deny it: There’s a certain charm in returning to your home town to get “the one that got away.” It’s a cliché that we love. Even though Catherine died before Heathcliff had a chance, it’s said at the end that sometimes you can see their souls walking along the moors. At least she’s not with Edgar anymore.

 

2) Harry and Hermione from Harry Potter

 

I liked the idea of Harry ending up with Hermione at the end of Rowling’s series. I’m sure many fans will disagree, but I thought that they had a really great bond and I would have liked to see more. Oh well, the Weasleys deserve love too right? 

 

3) Clarissa and Sally from Mrs. Dalloway

 

Slowly learning about Clarissa and Sally’s love that could never be broke my heart while reading Virginia Woolf’s classic. Instead, Clarissa married Mr. Dalloway, who let’s be honest, is a total snooze. 

 

4) Jo and Laurie from Little Women

 

little women

Via Giphy

It’s possible for men and women to just be friends, but I think many of us wanted Jo and Laurie to just kiss already! Honestly, marrying the professor seems way less exciting, but more true to who Jo is.

 

5) Katniss and Gale from The Hunger Games

 

That’s right, I’m #TeamGale. He knows her better than anyone, he’s always been there for her, and he wanted to run away with her; what more do you need? Peeta would be fine without Katniss, he has one of the most reliable friends — bread. 

 

6) Cecilia and Robbie from Atonement

 

Spoiler alert: just when you thought this romantic plot line was going to work out really well, it turns out to be a complete work of fiction by Cecilia’s sister. I’m still mad.

 

7) Frodo and Sam from The Lord of the Rings

 

lotr

Via Giphy

I know there’s tons of fan art and fiction about this duo, but can we talk about how it would actually be really sweet? Sam is always talking about how he’d do anything for Frodo, and it’s clear that Frodo felt a lifetime bond with Samwise.  

 

8) Marianne Dashwood and Willoughby from Sense and Sensibility

 

It was going perfectly until Willoughby had to be a complete jerk and leave Marianne for a wealthy woman. I would have loved to have seen their happily ever after, but at least Marianne ended up marrying a good guy. 

 

9) Jack Twist and Ennis Del Mar from Brokeback Mountain

 

brokeback

Via Giphy

Um, obviously. There’s a reason this story became widely successful, and that’s because no one was expecting that awful ending. I made up my own much happier ending instead!

 

Feature Image Via Columbia Pictures

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10 Classic Books That Almost Had Different Titles

Book titles are important: along with the cover, they’re one of the first things we notice when we pick up a novel. We’ve grown so used to some famous book titles that we barely think about them anymore. Of course The Great Gatsby is called The Great Gatsby; why wouldn’t it be?

But the truth is, it almost wasn’t. And F. Scott Fitzgerald isn’t the only literary figure who switched up a famous title at the last minute. Here are 10 incredible examples of famous book titles that were almost completely different.

 

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

Which number followed the “Catch-” in Catch-22 was debated by Heller and his publisher for a while. Heller considered 11 and 18 first, but they were discarded to avoid confusion with the film Ocean’s Eleven (the original 1960 version) and Leon Uris’ Mila 18, respectively. 22 was eventually picked simply because it was 11 (Heller’s original choice) doubled.

 

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

We gave this one away in the introduction, but how crazy is it that Fitzgerald’s greatest work was almost called something else? In fact, Fitzgerald was considering several different titles, including Among Ash-Heaps and Millionaires; Gold-Hatted Gatsby; On the Road to West Egg; Trimalchio in West Egg; Under the Red, White, and Blue; and our personal favorite, The High-Bouncing Lover.

 

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

Rowling’s debut already had a title in the United Kingdom, of course, where it was known as Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. But her publisher, convinced that an American audience wouldn’t know what the Philosopher’s Stone was, wanted to change the title to something more accessible. According to Philip W. Errington’s book on Rowling’s work, the publisher wanted Harry Potter and the School of Magic. That was lame, and Rowling knew it: she insisted on something more specific, and the “Sorcerer’s Stone” was born.

 

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Harper Lee made a lot of changes as she worked on her famous novel (the recently published Go Set a Watchman is essentially a very early permutation of the work.) At some point, her working title was Atticus. It changed to To Kill a Mockingbird as Lee expanded the novel and made it less about Atticus Finch.

 

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

John Steinbeck wasn’t originally going to call his brief classic Of Mice and Men. Instead, he was going to go with Something That Happened. Maybe he thought the original title gave away too much of the plot?

 

1984 by George Orwell

Orwell’s original title was The Last Man in Europe, but his publisher thought 1984 was catchier. Orwell was a serial title changer: he also dropped the subtitle from his classic Animal Farm, which was originally going to be Animal Farm: A Fairy Story. He also considered A Satire and A Contemporary Satire as titles for Animal Farm, both of which seem rather obvious.

 

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Jane Austen’s original title for Pride and Prejudice was First Impressions. Not bad, but it doesn’t quite have the melodic ring that the famous chosen title has. Plus, it doesn’t pair nearly as neatly with Sense and Sensibility.

 

The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner

Have you read Twilight? No, not that Twilight. We’re talking about William Faulkner’s greatest novel, The Sound and the Fury, which was originally supposed to be called Twilight. Really!

 

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

Hemingway’s original title for The Sun Also Rises was Fiesta. That would certainly have given the cover a bit of a different tone! We can see why Fiesta would have been appropriate, but we think everyone’s glad that Hemingway stepped it up a bit in the title department.

 

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

Tolstoy’s magnum opus is a powerful volume, but we don’t think it would have been quite as powerful if Tolstoy had gone with the original idea for the title. Tolstoy’s original title translated to “All’s Well That Ends Well,” which doesn’t quite do justice to his epic novel. The chosen title, War and Peace, was a real upgrade.