Friday, January 14, 2011

My opinion of Jane Austen

I'm willing to give every author two chances. For example, I read Of Mice and Men in middle school, with an awful teacher and thus, was left with disdain for Mr. Steinbeck. However, in high school, I gave him another chance with East of Eden and I'm insanely glad of it. I was completely taken with East of Eden found a new love for John Steinbeck. Everyone deserves a second chance, right?

Well, it's a nice sentiment, anyway.
Barf my brains out.

Wrong. As an English major, I should probably worship Jane Austen. I mean, her name is basically synonymous with classic novels. I started with Emma, excited to begin my foray into Jane Austen. I wanted to like it. I tried to like it. But I just couldn't. And for the next year, I steered clear of Austen's works, unwilling to submit myself to her trite and overworked ideas again. But like I said, everyone deserves a second chance, no? So I tried (and just today finished) Sense and Sensibility. It was painful. I've come to the conclusion that I just can't stand Austen's writing style. Here are a few things that I just can't stand about Austen's style:

1. SO.WORDY: Seriously. Each page seems as if a thesaurus threw up on it just before it was published. Austen is a master of exceeding the word limit and repeating one thought a thousand ways. If any modern day editor got a hold of one of her manuscripts, the story would be cut in half before it ever reached the publishing house.

2. Syrupy, sappy vocabulary: Not everything in the world is "pleasant," "lovely," "amiable," or "agreeable." I don't think that I could put together a more empty list of words if I tried. If someone described me with any of these adjectives, I would consider myself dull, dull, and dull.

3. Everyone talks around their thoughts: In the eternal quest to be non-confrontational and politically correct, characters talk around their real emotions. But don't worry; scenes are always pleasant and agreeable. Everything is so...polite. ARG.

4. Disgustingly happy endings: Everyone ends up marrying exactly who they should, broken hearts are mended, and you're left with a sickeningly sweet aftertaste left in your mouth. NOT real life.

Well, this was a mistake

The worst part is, I did this to myself. I read Sense and Sensibility of my own volition. I know that I'll be faced with Pride and Prejudice sometime before I'm allowed to accept my English degree and I'm already dreading it. I don't want to read it, I don't want to analyze it, and I don't want to write a paper on it. But I suppose that's getting ahead of myself. For now, I'll relish the time that I'm spared from her works.

Please, god NO.

Call me a bad English major. I can take it.

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