Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Best Jane Austen Heroine? The Clear Choice is. . . Elizabeth Bennett of Course

Ah, to be a Jane Austen heroine. . .  The hairstyles, the regency gowns, the suitors in breeches. But, who would I most want to be if I could change places with one of our fair ladies?

  1. Elizabeth Bennett. Come on. As if there was any other possible answer. I know that it is fashionable for educated women to pick Anne Elliot. And Anne is awesome no doubt, but no one can touch the perfectly developed character of Elizabeth Bennett. Lively, witty, fun, charming, grounded, and self-confident, Elizabeth, like Anne Elliot and Fanny Price, is aware of the better things in life she lacks but not jealous of these things. She is simply content and complete. But unlike like Anne and Fanny, Elizabeth is a brilliantly sparkling person with great vivacity and wit.
  2. Marianne Dashwood. I like both of the Sense and Sensibility sisters - who are two halves of one whole, but if I had to pick the half that more closely resembles how I want to live it would be the passionate half. Maybe Marianne is doomed to suffer sometimes for feeling things too deeply, but her deeply held sensibilities are what allow her to experience a life fully lived. Her passionate and powerful personality feel like a force of nature. She has a more modern style than most Austen heroines and she will live with great happiness, plowing through life with lust and kindness in equal measure and willing to make a fool of herself over her strong feelings. Passionate, musical, elegant, beautiful, Marianne is a wonderful heroine.
  3. Anne Elliot. Anne is elegant, lovely, gentle, and caring. She knows just how to act and is comfortable no matter where she goes or what she does. She is the quiet leader -- taking charge in subtle ways by simply setting an example of how to live right, redirecting others (gently) through literature suggestions, by simply listening and withholding judgment and by refusing to be taken in by flash and circumstance. A classy person through and through.
  4. Emma Woodhouse. Lively, young, caring and surprisingly classy, Emma may go bumbling about the countryside making mistakes, but she is in charge of her little domain, devoted to her friends and family and basically happy.
  5. Fanny Price. Fanny lives a complete life, reliant on herself and her own sense. It would be wonderful to trust oneself so deeply that it can guide all your decisions and offer utter solace no matter what life tosses at you. Fanny is a bit dull, I suppose, but excitement and beauty are all around her. She is so stable and grounded that she is rescued from a life of little consequence by her own absolute conviction that she is living the right life for herself.


  1. Great post, but I disagree a bit. I certainly like Elizabeth Bennett, but Emma Woodhouse is my favourite character because I can relate to her somehow (especially her "repentance" or what you would call it at the end) and love her development.

    However the heroine I admire the most is definitely Elinor. To possess such self-command would truly be great, and is hard to achieve I think.

  2. Thanks for your comment! I love Elinor too. I think I had her on and off my list a lot and settled her at #6. . . She is admirable and a better person than her sister, truly. She takes the high road through life. I am personally more drawn to the passionate, living-life-to-the-fullest, nature of Marianne, but really appreciate your sticking up for Elinor! And for Emma! These are indeed tough choices :)