So earlier in the week I went to visit friends in the city and forgot my trusty classic book at home.
Temptation was everywhere. At every petrol station. Every newsagent. Every book store. Fifty Shades of Grey was calling my name, so were many others. But I stayed strong.
I figured a couple of days off wouldn’t do me any harm. But it turns out there is no escape from the classics. Even when your head isn’t burrowed in the pages and immersed in the dramas of another time, another era, another place, it can still get you.
I didn’t realise I wasn’t being stalked until the morning of my departure. I was in blissful ignorance after staying the night at a friend’s house who had just moved in with her boyfriend.
It was only after spending a night with them out to dinner and in front of the tv did I realise, while we might be in a different era, I was looking at a couple of characters straight out of the classics.
One of my all time Jane Austen favourites in fact. How I never saw it before I still don’t know. But now looking back at descriptions of the characters from the book itself, it’s impossible not to draw similarities between them.
Who did I stay with that night? Well none other than Jane Bennet and Mr Charles Bingley.
Anyone who knows who I am talking about, will know just how much this description of Jane (aka Kate) fits her in every way – Austen describes her “as the eldest and most beautifully natured of the Bennets. She is an amiable, naïve, and extremely optimistic young lady whom sees no evil or illness in others.”
Jane is extraordinarily kind-hearted, loves and is loved by young children and thinks no harm of anyone in the world. In Elizabeth’s words, Jane is the kind of person who “likes people in general and people who equally like and love back”
“You never see a fault in any body. All the world are good and agreeable in your eyes. I never heard you speak ill of a human being in my life,” cried Elizabeth, when her elder sister was praising Mr. Bingley’s amiable and good-humored personality, even though she has just met him once. However, Jane’s excessive optimism blinds her from seeing those obvious illnesses in people: “Jane united with great strength of feeling, a composure of temper and a uniform cheerfulness of manner, which would guard her from the suspicions of the impertinent.” This overly positive attitude towards general human beings made Jane innocent, but at the same time a bit naïve.
In Charles Bingley, Jane finds an equally matched partner who prides himself on being light, carefree and good-humoured in every situation that life throws at him. He is sunny and friendly to all and rarely meets someone who ruffles his feathers. Unlike Darcy who takes an instant dislike to most. Bingley is his polar opposite, genuinely social by nature and most happiest when those around him are happy and smiling. And the best part, the most ironic part? Both Charles and Jane meet on the dance floor.
If this doesn’t sum up Kate and her beau then I will eat the very pages from the book I’m currently reading. Sorry for outing the pair of you, but the similarities were just too noticeable to ignore!
This has now left me wondering what other classic characters are here right under my nose.
So as I sip my coffee and read The Wings of the Dove, I’ll make sure to keep my eyes up and open for any another characters who happen to walk through the door…