So, I took the Which Jane Austen Character Are You? quiz online.
Though I tried as hard as I could to not choose quotes/ideas directly from Pride and Prejudice, I failed and ended up being Elizabeth Bennet anyway. Really, it shouldn’t surprise me – one of the reasons I love her is that we possess similar qualities. Wait, I’m proud and prejudiced?? No way! Seriously. I’m not. Maybe a little. I mean, after all, I believe people should only read good books (see my “Fifty Shades of Shame” post for more on that…). So I suppose that makes me a little proud. But she’s smart, quick-witted, stubborn, opinionated, outspoken, and she loves to read. In all of those things, I can absolutely relate to her.
At any rate, I suppose that’s how all of us book nerds are about the characters we most love – and those we hate the most (I’m looking at YOU, Caroline Bingley!). We love them or hate them the most because they exemplify parts of who we are, even if we hate to admit that they do. One of the best things about reading and teaching literature is encountering characters that help me understand myself – and others – more. Reading helps to create that empathic connection, that chance to have someone, albeit fictional, say to a reader, “Hey, I know what you’re going through, I did it too, or I’m about to, and this is how it ended up for me.” Sometimes, lessons learned by characters we read help keep us from having to experience certain things for ourselves. For example, now that I’ve [SNARK] read Fifty Shades of Grey, I know better than to get involved with billionaires who have a penchant for BDSM. But more on that book review later.
No really…we learn so many things from reading, whether it’s how to love or hate a character, to be like one, or to not make mistakes we’ve seen characters make. The ability to build empathy, to relate to others, is one of the most important things we can learn. Hopefully, people never forget that, and the world keeps on learning to understand each other just a little bit better.
Until next time…