I read Jane Austen once. I even watched the movie version of Mansfield Park.
As such a dedicated fan, then, I feel content in wondering: “Why didn’t this woman’s husband feed her to sharks two centuries ago?”
Possibly, it would have been bad for the shark’s digestion, in which case the man truly was a humanitarian. Either that or because she never married.
In any case, someone’s failure to take decisive, manly action in the early 19th century has led to centuries of dramatic non-action in Austen’s many literary works, most of which take 200 pages to get to the action, which is usually only something peripherally exciting, like receiving a letter talking about an affair that someone else committed. The novel then concludes with 100 pages of feelings about the letter.
Pshaw, I say. More feedings, less feelings.
If nothing has been eaten by wild animals in the first two or three pages of a book, can it really even be considered literature?
In Carl Hiaasen’s Double Whammy, there is a murder on the second page, which is described: “Clarisse Clinch asked the sheriff if the big red thing in the water happened to have blond hair, and the sheriff said not anymore, since a flock of mallard ducks had been pecking at it all night.” Admittedly, Hiaasen takes several pages to get to the first murder in Native Tongue, but there is a rat shooting on the third page and then the villain gets screwed to death by a dolphin, which has never happened in a Jane Austen novel.
Take Pride and Prejudice, which goes several hundred pages without a single murder, bass fishing accident or deranged dolphin. So why does this university persist in corrupting the mind of its youth with Jane Austen classes? Something to ask yourself, particularly if you have a Mansfield Park proposal due on Wednesday.