SparkNotes Blog

Everything Jane Austen Lied to Me About

I grew up believing my life would be like a Jane Austen novel, owing almost entirely to my own lack of critical thinking skills. Imagine my surprise when I discovered this was not the case! It was a devastating blow to realize that I would not, in all likelihood, get swept off my feet by a handsome millionaire at the county ball, thus saving my family from deep financial ruin. (Now I have to resort to Plan B, which involves a heist, a getaway man, and an entirely new identity. Will keep you updated.)

Here are some of the things I believed in my Jane Austen-loving heart:

1. That when a tall, rich man is rude to me, it means we’re going to get married some day.

2. That the entire neighborhood would be extremely involved in the day-to-day minutiae of my love life.

3. That an attractive man would one day admire me from afar while I begrudgingly played the piano.

4. That I could just show up at people’s houses and demand a tour without getting 1) yelled at to immediately vacate the property, or 2) arrested.

5. That I would injure my ankle and be carried gallantly home by a love interest.

6. That men would just be constantly proposing to me with no warning.

7. That older, matronly sorts would absolutely despise my spirited demeanor and lack of deference to social customs.

8. That charming womanizers would find my quiet disapproval absolutely irresistible.

9. That my father would either be a hypochondriac or extremely bad with money.

10. That when a boy ignores me, it means he secretly still likes me but has been warned against pursuing me by an arrogant third-party observer who scoffs at everything.

11. That much of my time would be spent taking chaperoned promenades through the garden.

12. That two equally attractive men would vie for my affections until one of them revealed himself to be a scoundrel.

13. That I would spend a lot of time in or around Bath.

14. That catching a cold could be deadly. That my having contracted such a terrible, high-stakes malady would force men to declare their undying love for me before it’s too late.

15. That I would attend many social functions, all of which would of course be exciting and filled with drama rather than simply sweaty as well as, somehow, both boring and frantic. (If you’ve ever been to a school dance where “Cotton-Eyed Joe” is playing, you know exactly what I’m talking about.)