Talking About Jane

A train ride (with one connection) took me into downtown Manhattan today to join twenty other women with one purpose in mind:

To talk about Jane Austen.

I attended my first JASNA (New York Regional Chapter) luncheon today.

We discussed, among other things, Mr. Darcy, Catherine Morland, Mrs. Bennet, Captain Wentworth, and Fanny Price.

“I can’t stand Fanny Price,” one Janite observed.  “She’s such a goody-two-shoes.”

I have to admit that she’s correct and pointed out that the movie, Mansfield Park, portrays Fanny in a completely different light.  She actually has some pizzazz and boldly speaks up for herself at one point in the movie while giving Mrs. Norris a major slap down.

My Janite luncheon companion asserted that it made sense; that Fanny would most definitely have to be played differently as she is completely and altogether unlikable.

I agreed.  “She’s a wimp.”

“But,” exclaimed the more senior Janite (who is on the Welcoming Committee), “when Fanny’s uncle tells her that she must marry Tom Crawford, she shows much courage and total conviction by refusing him.”

Well, in all fairness, I must say, I had not thought of that.

I left the luncheon elated, having spent a couple of hours happily engaged in conversation full of  Jane Austen’s characters; in fact; a slight feeling as though they themselves (Austen’s characters) were amongst those inside the restaurant; and I left our meeting having made new friends and having a slightly less negative opinion and better impression of our unlikable heroine, Miss Fanny Price.

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