Fair warning: sappiness and spoilers ahead…
I saw “Becoming Jane” for the first time this weekend, and it has me tripping down memory lane while simultaneously peering into the future a bit. It is common knowledge among Jane-ites that despite her sappy romantic novels, Jane Austen never married. I always have found this fascinating, considering all of her novels end with at least one character marrying.
One of my undergrad classes was a Jane Austen seminar, and we read her entire body of work in one semester. The very first night of class, the professor said, “If you have any aversion to marriage or discussions of love, you might want to drop this class.” I was in relationship bliss when the class began, 100% positive that I was going to marry the boy I was then dating. I just knew that I would. I had been in deep smit before, but this one, well, I loved him.
So it rocked my world when, two months into the Jane Austen seminar, I was on a flight returning to Omaha from Utah (he had moved there one month into the semester), an emotional wreck from the hours of relationship talk that ended our relationship. The thought of reading yet another novel where the lovesick heroine finds her true love and marries him filled me with nausea. (No joke. I develop borderline eating disorders during and after major relationships.)
But good grades trumped emotional stability, and I kept reading, albeit a tad embittered. Until, in early April, it came time for Persuasion. Something about the novel comforted me–perhaps it was Anne Elliott (the 27 year-old protagonist), her refusal to settle, and the desperately romantic letter written to Anne toward the end of the novel. It gave me hope.
I’ve felt little glimmers of hope in the years since that Austen seminar, just like I did while I was watching “Becoming Jane.” But then the credits roll, or the last page of the book is read, and the hope wanes a little. Don’t get me wrong, my life is really good, just like Austen’s was. I just wonder if, in 15 more years, I’m still going to feel the pangs of loss, just like Austen did at the end of the film.
But in happy news, look at what I made today:
I made crayon cookies for my nephew in Florida…I just hope they travel okay.