Lit Crit was More Than You Ever Wanted To Know Was re Answers From Diana See The Wrtings On The Walls etc

Ven ven at
Fri Jun 1 21:36:36 EDT 2001

replying to the writing,s on the wall thread I said

> >I wanted to add my two pennorth but had gotten behind on my
> >replies. So I'll just say that I only got seven of the quotes, including
> >all but one  Connie Willis and I just cannot believe Jane Austen
> >ever wrote anything so interesting.

and Hallie replied> 
 :)  *Which* book of JA's did you read, Ven???  Or is this bringing 
> back to the stupid teacher thread(s)?

Well I decided to answer this under the Lit Crit (or stupid teacher 
thread, lol) as it fitted in with some other stuff I wanted to say. The  
way discussions are diverging only to converge again at the 
moment is making it very hard to label posts. I'm starting to think 
we may as well label them either "Summat to do with Diana 
Wynne Jones , Literature, and/or the Meaning of Life" or "Food 
Again". All of which is delaying having to write about the dreaded 
JA! -- feels like homework.

Actually I was lucky enough not to have had stupid teachers (not in 
English anyway), but I don't think I ever quite understood what they 
wanted.  It wasn't until years later that I understood  my problem 
with comprehension  questions was that I didn't know what sort of 
data base I was being tested agasinst. For example it never 
ocurred to me that asked a question like "what does the author 
mean by   a verdant portal?" I was supposed to say "a green door" -
- I thought that was too obvious to be the answer, and would 
attempt to the intention in the choice of  phrase! I can remember 
one of the teachers saying I seemed to go around the point, but I 
just didn't get it.                        

OK I'll get on with it.......... I studied Northanger Abbey for O level 
and Persuasion for A level. At the time I found Northanger Abbeyto 
be interesting in concept but pretty dull in execution (all the 
Janeites are gonna crucify me). Still, expecting 15 - 16 year old 
girls to appreciate a novel which, essentially, takes the piss out of 
young girls is expecting a bit much in my opinion. I remember 
getting to the laundry list and wishing it would turn out to be 
something exciting to liven up the thing -- although I could tell it 
wasn't going to be. Oh, and I got the Castle of Otranto out of the 
library because it sounded a lot more fun, but it wasn't.  For me 
and my friends the best bit in NA was when Catherine says "Oh 
these odious gigs!" .............. "Why tis James!""
because we knew a guy in a band called James ....................
Anyhow thats why I was surpprised where that quote was from.

Persuasion is the novel that really made me dislike JA. Based on 
this novel I think she was spiteful, narrow minded, parochial and 
quite lacking in empathy. I've always had a soft spot for Mary you 
see................ Part of the way we were taught Persuasion was to 
divide the characters up into sympathetic,  Anne Elliot, Captain 
Wentworth, the old naval couple and some woman friend of Anne's, 
and unsympathetic, everyone else but especially Sir Walter, 
Elizabeth and Mary (and that silly bint who falls off a wall or 
someething). Wre were also told that tyhe characters were partly 
based on JA herself and some of her family. Well, frankly poor old 
put upon Anne gets up my nose, its having it both ways to 
represent oneself as uncomplaining in a book which does nothing 
but complain about the rest of one's family. And I think only an 
unempathetic, narrow minded and spiteful spinster would have 
diagnosed her sister's problems as a mixture of hypochondria and 
deceit. For heavens sake the poor woman had had three children at 
the turn of the nineteenth century, not very surprising her health 
was ruined.  

All in my extremely biased opinion of course.

I hope this is enough to be getting on with. I'm going to start 
dodging now.



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