It is a truth universally acknowledged that I am obsessed with Jane Austen. I guarantee you that many, if not most, of the conversations I have with friends, family, and strangers will include a Jane reference at some point. I mean, who doesn’t love having both confident and clever male and female heroes and heroines in a novel at once? Jane has taught me that everyone, even those with allowances of 10,000 pounds per year, has flaws. Eventually, however, the positive qualities will outweigh the negative ones.
But wait, there’s more to my obsession for Jane. I love Jane because she is authentic. She incorporates parts of her life and events of her time in subtle ways throughout her novels. Her mission is not to persuade the reader to support or oppose an opinion; instead, she tries to explain issues eloquently.
And of course, let’s not forget love. Although I have yet to encounter my own Mr. Darcy, Jane reassures me that he is out there somewhere, perhaps closer than I expect. Sometimes true love takes time to realize. Just ask Emma and Mr. Knightley.
Most importantly, Jane is a modern woman in a not-so-modern time. She fights for her rights as a female novelist in an era dominated by men and male publishers. Her courage and tenacity inspire me to make my own decisions and be proud of my choices. I know that each day, I am closer and closer to becoming the “obstinate, headstrong girl” I have always longed to be.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.