Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Miss Austen Regrets

Last night I watched "Miss Austen Regrets", which is a movie made by the BBC about Jane Austen. It was based off of her letters. The interesting thing about the movie is that it wasn't made as a documentary, but rather in the same form as the movie adaptions of her novels.

I really enjoyed it. It was an interesting look at who Jane was.

She was known to refer to her novels as her dear children, and I think that makes a lot of sense when the circumstances in which she lived are considered. At that time women did not stand to inherit and therefore were reliant on either marriage or the generosity of their brothers and/or married sisters for their security. Jane never married, and neither did her sister Cassandra. To further complicate things her family was never very wealthy. Once her father died, Jane along with her mother and sister then had to look to her brothers for support and the sale of of her novels. Although the money made from her novels was not near enough to support them.

Anyway, moving back to her statement regarding her novels being her dear children... In each of her novels her heroine's were given the option that she never was. They were able to marry for love without the pressure of money, because in every case either they had the money or the man they fell in love with did.

The movie gave the impression that Jane never married, because she knew that to do so would take away her freedom. She seemed to fear that she would no longer be able to write because she would then be too busy raising children and caring for a house. This probably wasn't too far off the mark, in which case it makes sense for her not to have married. How could she unless she had truly been in love? Freedom is too dear a thing to relinquish.

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