Pat counted at least 30 courtships in Austen's 6 novels, with at least 1 failed courtship in each! The group had time to discuss courtships in Northanger Abbey, Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, and Emma. The most spirited discussions revolved around Pride and Prejudice, and how characters changed after those critical proposal scenes. It was a treat to hear volunteers read aloud the failed proposal scenes in Pride and Prejudice (Lizzy's rejections of both Mr. Collins and Mr. Darcy; also see the YouTube video above), and Emma (the carriage scene between Mr. Elton and Emma). Did Jane Austen's inclusions of so many failed proposals serve as cautionary tales for young women (and potential suitors)? Can lessons still be learned in this day and age? ;)
Pat also passed out a helpful list of questions to consider during a proposal, reproduced here for all to ponder:
- Compatibility potential -- similarities and differences of personality, values, and interest
- Relationship skills -- communication, conflict management, and openness
- Patterns from other relationships -- both romantic and non-romantic
- Family patterns and background -- parents, siblings, social class
- Character and conscience traits -- temperament, maturity, and integrity
What is your favorite courtship scene in Austen's novels? Please leave a comment and let us know!