General education

At the beginning of the term I was looking forward to Northanger Abbey/Shawn of the Dead, even though I’ve tried to read Jane Austen in the past (including this book) and I’ve always found her books difficult to get through. I just figured that maybe I stood a chance this time, and I managed to make it through without it being too bad. (I was actually pretty surprised when I finished reading the first page and realized it made perfect sense to me. Unfortunate true story.)

I’ve heard/read that this book is satirical, and every now and then I would come across a bit that I’d mark with just that, like:

“…what young lady of common gentility will reach the age of sixteen without altering her name as far as she can?” (9)

“A woman…if she have the misfortune of knowing any thing, should conceal it as well as she can.” (81)

“‘…I cannot speak well enough to be unintelligible.’ / ‘Bravo! – an excellent satire on modern language.’” (96)

in addition, of course, to the whole bit where Catherine tracks down the cabinet and discovers that it’s full of bills.

I also really appreciate the part where Catherine finds out Isabella’s brother might be in love with her and Isabella says this:

“‘I do not think any thing would justify me in wishing you to sacrifice all your happiness merely to oblige my brother…who perhaps…might be just as happy without you, for people seldom know what they would be at….But, above all things, my dear Catherine, do not be in a hurry. Take my word for it, that if you are in too great a hurry, you will certainly live to repent it. Tilney says, there is nothing people are so often deceived in, as the state of their own affections, and I believe he is very right.’” (106)

Just because Isabella manages somehow to use the words of the person Catherine actually likes to try and persuade her into considering marrying Isabella’s brother instead. Unless I’ve read it incorrectly.

I’m pretty sure this has taken me more than half an hour, but one more thought: I’m not sure how this reading for me was different from the other times I’ve tried and failed. I’ve said this before, but there’s something about having to read a book for class that makes reading it unenjoyable (for me), and that hasn’t been the case yet with any of the Arts One books. Miranda also mentioned in one of her posts that “It is probably inevitable that, sometimes, you will fail to read something”. What I got out of that post was that “readerly failures” change with, well, the person. So I have to wonder what’s changed.

Thanks for reading, everyone. (Also, we should play that never-have-I-ever-been-able-to-read game that Miranda talks about.)