Saturday, July 30, 2011

Characters Who Are Caricatures: Sir Walter Elliot

Vanity was the beginning and the end of Sir Walter Elliot's character; vanity of person and of situation. He had been remarkably handsome in his youth; and, at fifty-four, was still a very fine man. Few women could think more of their personal appearance than he did, nor could the valet of any new made lord be more delighted with the place he held in society. He considered the blessing of beauty as inferior only to the blessing of a baronetcy; and the Sir Walter Elliot, who united these gifts, was the constant object of his warmest respect and devotion.
                                                                     Persuasion chapter 1
Sir Walter is a good example of what a baronet and father - and any man - should not be.  He is very extravagant; when he finds he has to economise, he moves away because he cannot bear to have less  servants, etc. in his house.  When he puts his old home up to rent, he will only give it to someone 'as a great favour' and talks of not allowing the renters into his gardens.  

His favourite child is his eldest daughter Elizabeth, because she is most like him.  He cares very little for Anne and Mary, but Mary had gained 'a little artificial importance' in his eyes by getting married.  When Anne returns to Sir Walter and Elizabeth, he is not glad to see her again, the only 'advantage' is that there will be 'a fourth' at dinner.   
Jane Austen described Sir Walter and Elizabeth as having 'heartless elegance.'  When Anne was nineteen, he was one of the ones who kept her from marrying Captain Wentworth.  That meant many years unhappiness for both of them, but an advantage to us, because if Anne and Frederick had married right away, there would have been no Persuasion


Thursday, July 28, 2011


Here are a few quotes that I wanted to post.  Not all of them are nice. ;)

"I would challenge you to a battle of wits but I see you are unarmed." - William Shakespeare

"Mr. Elton, your sermon on Daniel in the Lions Den - so powerful, so inspiring.....It left us speechless and we have not stopped talking of it since." Miss Bates, Emma  

"I do not want people to be very agreeable, as it saves me the trouble of liking them a great deal." - Jane Austen

"The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." - Henry Tilney, Northanger Abbey

"What would become of us had it pleased Providence to make the weather unchangeable?  Think of the state of destitution of the morning callers." - Sydney Smith

I have to remember this quote when I'm writing!
"........this is a very nice day, and we are taking a very nice walk, and you are two very nice young ladies. Oh! It is a very nice word indeed! It does for everything. Originally perhaps it was applied only to express neatness, propriety, delicacy, or refinement — people were nice in their dress, in their sentiments, or their choice. But now every commendation on every subject is comprised in that one word.” - Henry Tilney, Northanger Abbey

"It's better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt." - Mark Twain


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

1995 and 2005 Pride and Prejudice comparisons, Part 1

So, I'm going to put this right at the start. I LOVE BOTH THESE MOVIES.  I will be talking quite a bit about what I don't like in them, but I'm just saying what keeps them from being just about perfect adaptions. 

Part one will be comparisons about the major characters, later posts will concentrate on minor characters, scenery, costumes, hairstyles, soundtrack, and faithfulness to the book.

Elizabeth Bennet

2005: I have a soft spot in my heart for Kiera Knightley's Lizzy.  She is very pretty, with a delightful mixture of 'archness and sweetness.'  To me, though, she doesn't quite seem to get Elizabeth's character right.  Sometimes it's the fault of the scriptwriter; I have a hard time imagining Elizabeth storming; "For once in your life leave me alone!" and I don't think she would actually yell at Mr. Darcy.

1995: Absolutely amazing!  The only problem is that her figure is hardly, 'light and pleasing.'  It's pretty, certainly, and even pleasing, but not very light.  That belongs to slender Kiera Knightley's Elizabeth.  Jennifer Ehle has a way of delivering her lines with a subtle humour which is particularly delightful.  She is very lovely, but her beauty is unique enough to still leave to Jane the title of 'beauty of the family.'  I love, Love, LOVE this Elizabeth.  She captures Elizabeth perfectly.

Fitzwilliam Darcy

2005: Matthew Macfayden's Mr. Darcy is shy, sensitive, and not totally comfortable with his position.  It is easy to pity him, and even to respect him for trying to overcome his social awkwardness.  But that's not Mr. Darcy!  The Darcy of the book is not shy, just reserved.  He is not remarkably sensitive either.  And not comfortable with his position!  I read someone on the internet describe him this way and it just about drove me crazy!  Why would he not be?  He is twenty-eight, he has known all his life that he will be Mr. Darcy, owner of Pemberley, with ten thousand a year and he is smart too.  He's proud of his position.  That's one of the big problem's I have with this version.  Darcy doesn't have any pride.  Therefore, he doesn't change either.  And, (if I recall correctly) Elizabeth admits that he's very handsome.  Where are her eyes?  

1995: Ahh, that's better!  Colin Firth is P.E.R.F.E.C.T. as Mr. Darcy.  He captures both looks and character, and follows the book to a T, which is very important.  

Jane Bennet

Rosamund Pike plays a lovely Jane.  She is beautiful - which is very important - and shy.  One glance at her and the sweet, ladylike charm of her personality really comes through.  She doesn't emphasise Jane's total kindness and the way she always considers people as better than they actually are, but I think that's because she doesn't have enough screen time.   

1995: Susannah Harker has Jane's character perfectly.  I'm not sure about the looks, though.  Jane is supposed to be the beauty of the family, and this Jane is much less prettier than the Elizabeth in the same version.  I still haven't decided whether I like her or Rosamund Pike better.  Maybe a mix of the two. :)

Charles Bingley


2005: I've heard people on the internet describe Simon Wood's Bingley as a 'doofus' and a 'complete and utter buffoon' but I don't think I quite agree with them.  Still, he does come across as rather dumb.  Bingley himself is not very smart, but not that dumb.  Everything else was very good.


1995: Crispin Bonham-Carter's Bingley is pretty much the same.  Maybe a little bit smarter, but not much.  And his eyes, are waaaaaaay too blue and piercing.  Someone like Bingley should have milder eyes.  Both his and Simon Wood's Bingley come across as slightly acted.  It makes me think; is the real Bingley's total good-humour and leadable-ness sort of put-on too?  I can't figure him out.  Either he's a weak, guillable character, or he's extremely well-made and complex.  It confuses me, but the Bingley people normally think about doesn't seem to make sense................ Comments on this appreciated :D


Character interview: from an as yet unnamed novel

I had so much fun reading Rachel's character interview that I thought I'd do one with the characters of my current novel.  Character devolopement is something that I really need to work on, so I'm hoping it will be helpful.

The way this works is you choose some characters from a novel or story that you've written and make them answer some questions. You get to learn some interesting things about your characters that you never knew before.

The novel this is from is Austen fanfic/imitation.  My writing isn't very good, so if I imitate a genius it should be better, right?

Catherine --------- (19)
Georgiana --------- (18)
Cassandra Westmore (working name) (29)
Frances Grantley (23)
James -------- (mid-twenties)
Albert Westmore (26)
Richard Grenville (28)

Do you want a hug?
Catherine: Depends on who you are 
Georgiana: I wouldn't dream of offering you a hug, but I'll take them.
Frances: Hug? Of course, my dear Miss ----. 
Richard: Certainly, if it's from Miss Grantley. Even from Catherine -
(Catherine glares at him)
Me: ahem, continue.
James: No hugs, please

Do you have any kids?
Catherine: Of course not!
Cassandra:  I gave up all hope of marrying and having a family when George died.
Frances: Not yet, but when I become Lady Somebody, (which should happen by Christmas) I should get some nice little lords and ladies.
Richard: Why are you asking me this?
Albert: No.

Have you killed anyone?
Georgiana:  Killed someone!
Frances: I hardly think so.
Richard:  I think maybe someone else should answer this question.
James:  It is a clergyman's duty to build up, not kill.
Albert: As an officer in the navy, I have been in some sea battles.....

Love anyone?
Catherine: I thought I did........ once.
Georgiana: Please don't ask me.
Cassandra: Dear dead George.
Frances: Ask Mrs. Browne.  She'll say I'm the friendliest person around!
Richard: Just about every woman on the face of the earth.
James:  I like many people.
Albert: ditto

What is your job?
Cassandra: Sister, daughter, niece, friend
Frances: Um,
Catherine (in an undertone): She's an out an out flirt!
Richard: Naval officer.
James: Clergyman.
Albert: Naval officer.

What are you going to do when this tag is over?
Catherine: Go for a run in a spot where nobody can see me 
Georgiana: Play the pianoforte
Cassandra: Write a letter to my mother
Frances: I'm not sure.  To be quite candid, my dear blogger, I'm bored.
Richard: Hang around the heiress that just arrived in the neighborhood.
James:  Go visit some of the poor in the parish.
Albert: Go hunting.

What is your greatest fear?
Catherine: I'd rather not say.
Georgiana: That everyone I love will die
Cassandra: I don't fear much anymore.
Frances:  Why should I be scared?  I'm not a child.
Richard:  That the sky will fall on my head, of course, fair questioner. 
Me (aside): Actually, it's that his - ahem! - ungentlemanlike past will be found out.
James: That I'll be treated like a lady treated me before.
Albert: That I'll fail in my duty.

What do you think of your parents?
Catherine: They're far from perfect, but I love them.
Georgiana:  They died so long ago; I'd give a lot to have them back again.
Cassandra: They're wonderful
Frances: Parents? Who's talking about parents.
Richard:  My mother's a darling woman, with some, unfortunately, narrow ideas.
James: They both love me and I love them.
Albert: As my sister said, they're wonderful.

Any siblings?
Catherine: Many sisters
Georgiana: Only my brother
Cassandra: My author hasn't decided that yet.
Me: Yes, she's had so much trouble with you!
Frances:  Thankfully not.
Richard:  One brother, older than me, which is most unfair!
James: Lots.

Eye color?
Catherine: I'm honestly not sure.
Me: You mean your author's not sure?
Catherine: Yes, that's exactly what I mean.
Georgiana: Blue, I think.
Cassandra: dark brown
Frances: The most fashionable color.
Me: What's that?
Frances: Whatever color my eyes are, of course.
Richard: almost black
James: greenish blueish
Albert:  grey

Are you good or bad?
Catherine: I hope I'm good.
Georgiana: I wish I was good.
Cassandra: I try to be good.
Frances:  Why should I be bad?
Richard: I haven't poisoned anyone......
James: Goodness requires more than not poisoning someone, sir. 
Richard (with a charming laugh): Oh yes, I haven't beaten anyone to death either.
Albert:  As I said, I try to do my duty.
Favourite season?
Catherine: Fall
Georgiana: Spring
Cassandra: Winter
Frances (laughs affectedly): I never really thought about it!
Richard: Of course, dear Frances.
Miss Grantley and Catherine together: Excuse me?
Richard: Pardon me; Miss Grantley.
James: All seasons are nice.

Who's your best friend?
Catherine: Georgiana, or my sister
Georgiana: Catherine, Cassandra, and my sister-in-law
Cassandra: I try to love everyone
Frances: I don't have any
Richard: Of course, dear - Miss Grantley
James: one of my brothers
Albert: Richard

Georgiana: Playing the pianoforte
Frances: Talking
Richard: Making myself agreeable
James: I like a range of activities
Albert:  Doing my duty as much as possible

What's your species?

Catherine: Girl
James (to himself): She's a very pretty young woman.
Georgiana: I suppose I'm a girl too.
Catherine: Continuous piano player!
Cassandra: Human
Frances: I'm human to, but if you want to be more specific I'm beauty leader.
Richard: Of course, Miss Grantley.
James: Human, I hope.
Albert: I would certainly agree with Cassandra.

Hope you liked reading this!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Characters Who Are Caricatures: Mr Collins

Note: I came back last Friday night and found that the scheduled posts I had planned for my holidays didn't post.  Don't ask me why. :( Anyways, this is one of the posts that you should have gotten while ago.
David Bamber (P&P 1995)
Elizabeth: "There is something very pompous in his style. - And what can he mean by apologizing for being next in the entail? - We cannot suppose he would help it, if he could. - Can he be a sensible man, sir?" 
Mr Bennet: "No, my dear, I think not.  I have great hopes of finding him quite the reverse.  There is a mixture of servility and self-importance in his letter, which promise well.  I am impatient to see him."
                                              from Pride and Prejudice, chapter 12
Tom Hollander (P&P 2005)
Mr Bennet is spot on.  Mr Collins is certainly not a sensible man, but he is a mixture of servility and self importance. (Just read whatever he says to Lady Catherine.)  He rightly considers whether certain activities are compatible with his profession as a minister, but he considers it not a minister whose responsibility it is to preach the gospel, but rather a minister of whom Lady Catherine de Bourgh has condescended to become the patroness of!

David Bamber (P&P 1995) 

Still, Mr. Collins has some tragedies in his life.  He was brought up by 'an illiterate and miserly father' and his humility of manner comes from 'the subjection in which his father had brought him up', but was now 'counteracted by the self-conceit of a weak head.'  Do you think we should feel sorry for him?

David Bamber and Lucy Scott (P&P 1995)

No, I'd rather feel sorry for Charlotte.


P.S. Poor Charlotte!