Tag Archives: Elizabeth Bennett

What fictional character would you like most to be stuck in an elevator with?

I don’t even have to think about this one. As soon as I saw the question, Elizabeth Bennett’s name popped into my head faster than you could say…well…anyone else!

So here’s the set up. I’m on the elevator and by some time warp bend, Elizabeth Bennett gets on with me. I’m me, she’s…her. Because she was written over 200 years before I came on the scene, we’re a little differently dressed. I’m in jeans and an old Dartmouth hoodie, she’s in the typical garb of her day, parasol and reticule in hand. She nods and smiles pleasantly at me, then turns to face the elevator door forgetting I exist.

No way, Liz.

First and foremost, we need to have a little discussion about Wickham. For someone drawn as the “smart” one in the family, how come you were so blind to his narcissism? I read Pride and Prejudice for the first time at age 12 and even then I could tell he was a loser. You were a whole lot older than me when you first met him. You should have been able to see through his pretty-boy looks and brown-nosing ways. Think of all the heartache you could have saved your family if you’d told them all what a creep he really was.

Second, why oh why didn’t you tell Charlotte Lucas what a humongous mistake she was making by marrying Mr. Collins? You told the world she was your best friend, a compadre for life, and yet you let her lower herself by hooking up with one of the most unlikable, stupid –and by stupid I mean REALLY not smart – characters ever penned. Yes, I understand she felt he was the best she could do in life given her “advanced age and inadequate social status.” But Lizzy, a REAL friend would have told her to stand fast and never settle. Ever. Was it really so horrible she remain unmarried for the rest of her life? I know she didn’t want to be a burden to her parents, but really, Liz, you should have tried hard to convince her to reject his proposal.

Third. Okay, here we’re going to go a little deep. I have always wondered since the first time I read the book, did you fall in love with Darcy because you saw him for the man he really was, or because you wanted Pemberley? I know that’s a mean question because it puts into doubt your feelings for the man, but I really have been in a quandary about your motives. Seeing Pemberely for the first time, and Lydia’s defection, happened pretty much simultaneously. Can you separate the two occurrences? Did you ultimately fall for the man because he truly was the kind of man you wanted? Ask yourself, if Pemberely had been falling into ruin, would you still have wanted Darcy? If you had never seen Pemberely, would you still have wanted Darcy? If Pemberely were say, half the size, would you still have wanted Darcy? If Darcy had been the village cobbler, would you have wanted him? I know these questions are harsh, but I seriously have always doubted you truly loved him for just him and not all that he possessed.

Last, but surely not least. Your mother. Really? Did it never occur to any of you Bennetts to simply slap the s**t out her when she got into one of her ( daily) tizzies? I know medication was sparse back then, but I’d have been slipping laudanum into her morning tea every day and then in a toddy at night. How your poor father didn’t go insane with this woman is beyond me. Divorce was never an option back in your day, I get that. But seriously, she could have been sent away to Bath or anywhere where she could be hidden from public view.

Those are my questions to Lizzy.

What do you think she’d say?

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Filed under Author, Characters, Family Saga, First Impressions, Friends, Literary characters, love, Romance, RWA, Strong Women

The Power of Friends… in Literature

Where would Nancy Drew be without George Fayne? Where would Huck Finn have wound up without Tom Sawyer? Scarlett may have derided her, but Melanie Wilkes was her best friend hook, line,  sinker and soul. What about Elizabeth Bennett and Charlotte Lucas? Without Charlotte, Lizzy may just have wound up married to the horrible Mr Collins. Charlotte did her a solid by marrying the little worm. Harry Potter,  Ron Weasley and even Hermione,  were the best of ‘mates. And dear God, could we have had Sherlock Holmes without John Watson?

In my last post I talked about my friends and what having them in my life means to me. Literature is  chock-full of besties and we are all better for having shared in their friendships, albeit second  hand.

Friends in literature serve so many purposes aside from simply being  “a friend.” They are foils for one another’s characters; sounding boards for ideas, problems, and resolutions; cheerleaders and soul soothers, and best of all, the true  friend will always steer you in the right direction when you are going the wrong way, tell you if you have spinach in your teeth, and hold your hair back when you need to vomit. This last one is literally and theoretically!

My two favorite books of all time are Gone with The Wind and The Wizard of Oz. Both are rife with the beauty and detail of friendship. In both, the main characters of Dorothy and Scarlett need to find their way: home and in life. The TinMan, Cowardly Lion and the Scarecrow all help Dorothy face trials, tests,  and tribulations in order to find her way back  to Kansas, to Auntie Em’s loving care, and to discover her heart’s desire. Scarlett is Melanie’s opposite in every way, except in their love for Ashley, and in  this opposition of character details, each woman brings out the best in the other. Despite what many historians have postulated, I really do think Scarlett’s road to redemption begins when she brings Melanie back to Tara after the birth of Beau. She risks her life to make sure they all get home safe and sound. Whether you believe it is for a selfish reason, such as ensuring Ashley knows Scarlett helped his wife, or  – like me – because deep down Scarlett was truly a good and loyal person, their relationship ( Scarlett and Melanie’s) is the strongest and most enduring in the novel.

When a writer creates friends, he/she needs to know what each friend brings to the relationship table. It’s simply not enough to have the main character have friends. They serve purposes, both positive and negative, and these purposes enrich the novel and the character’s quest. They play off one another, spark ideas between them, and – such as in the case of Holmes and Watson – better the lives of the people surrounding them. Ron and Hermione show Harry Potter that people do care about him -not because he is a wizard – but because he is a person with feelings and desires, just like they are. Sharing triumphs, failures, tears, and joy are just some of the emotions friends go through together.

Think about your favorites books. What are the friend relationships like? Is the book made better because of them?  What does each friend bring to the relationship table for the main character? When you write, think about these facets. Your book will be richer for it, and sound more true-to-life.

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