Thank you, Maria Grazia, for allowing me to be a guest today on your lovely blog. In honor of April Fool’s or All Fool’s Day, I’ve been looking at Jane Austen’s inclusion of foolish people in her works. I’m sure we can agree that our esteemed author has a penchant for creating some delightfully silly characters.
I love Emma’s father, Mr. Woodhouse! His eccentricities define him. I thought I was a worry-wart of a mother, but Mr. Woodhouse puts me in the shade. Emma has been confined to Highbury since childhood because of her father’s fear of traveling. He refuses to serve cake because of its ill effects. And let’s not get started on the danger of drafts! We laugh at him, but we find him loveable anyway.
Anne Elliot’s father, Sir Walter, is a foolish snob if there ever was one. His preoccupation with his looks and social status is downright comical. When not contemplating his family history in the Baronetage, he finds fault with the appearance of everyone except himself. All the while, he neglects the economy of his family until he is forced to rent out his estate. I can’t laugh at Sir Walter’s foolishness. He seems to be too much of a poster child for poor parenting.
And then, there is Mr. Collins, whose bumbling attempts at flattery, social climbing, and overall clumsiness make him the king of fools. He is, in my opinion, one of Jane Austen’s best characters. She has captured his lunacy in all its glory, and he makes me laugh while I shake my head in dismay!
Jane, however, doesn’t limit foolishness to her secondary characters. At times, even her beloved heroes and heroines do some very foolish things.
Mr. Darcy says Elizabeth Bennet is not handsome enough to tempt him, and then we soon see that the poor man’s so tempted he blurts out a marriage proposal. Elizabeth declares he’s the last man in the world whom she could ever marry, but a short while later she can’t wait for him to renew his affections. First impressions are dangerous when you speak before you think.
Emma spends her time running around Highbury making ill-chosen matches and finding Frank Churchill fascinating, oblivious to the fact that the love of her life, Mr. Knightly, has been right under her nose ever since she was born. This proves once again that the best matches often begin with friendship.
In Sense and Sensibility, Marianne thoughtlessly dismisses Colonel Brandon’s outstanding qualities for the sweet nothings that cad Willoughby whispers in her ear until he dumps her in a most ungentlemanly manner. Ouch! Why do we always find bad boys so charming at first?
Like many men, Edmund Bertram falls for Mary Crawford’s arts and allurements in Mansfield Park while overlooking the steadfast love of faithful Fanny Price. As Lady Cat says, beware of those arts and allurements. If my sons had read this book before they began dating, what heartbreak they could have avoided!
And poor Anne Elliot foolishly allows the persuasion of others to make her reject handsome Captain Wentworth. Talk about blunders―by the time he returns years later, he’s earned a fortune whereas she’s lost her bloom! Take it from me―when you’ve lost your bloom, it’s almost impossible to find.
Even though I’ve poked fun at Jane’s characters in this post, I truly cannot blame them, for when in love (as the song says), don’t we all sometimes play the fool? Or as Puck says, what fools we mortals be!
Have I overlooked some of your favorite foolish characters? Tell me who I missed.
About the Book
Will a mysterious note from the past doom the love of Jane Austen’s most beloved couple?
A Peculiar Connection begins near the close of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Bent on preventing the engagement of her nephew to Elizabeth Bennet, Lady Catherine de Bourgh declares that any union between Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth would be “a sin against Heaven itself!” Her shocking revelation, along with a cryptic message written over twenty years earlier, thrusts the couple into a whirlwind of heartbreak and disbelief.
Could a deserted mansion in Derbyshire or a small church hidden in the wood hold the key to solving the puzzle? And why is Elizabeth inexplicably drawn to the portrait of three young boys in Pemberley’s gallery?
Determined to confirm or refute Lady Catherine’s accusation, Darcy and Elizabeth are forced to embark upon a twisted trail into bygone days and family secrets. All the while, they must endure the exquisite torture of denying the indisputable desire that still hovers between them.
Jan Hahn is fascinated by Jane Austen, 19th Century England, and true love. A storyteller since childhood, she's written skits and plays for local organizations and owned a business recording, writing and publishing oral histories. Jan is a member of JASNA and began writing novels based on Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice in 2002.
Jan's first novel, An Arranged Marriage, won the award for Best Indie book of 2011 from Austen Prose. The Journey, published in 2012, was selected by Austenprose as one of the Top Five Austen Inspired Historical Novels of 2012, and it won the Favorite Pride and Prejudice Variation/Alternate Path of 2012 award from Austenesque. Her latest book, The Secret Betrothal, was published in 2014. Jan is currently working on Stolen Past.
Jan has five children, seven grandchildren, and is a native Texan. In her dream world, she lives in England in a place called Pemberley.
Blog Tour Dates
3/30: Review at Savvy Verse and Wit
3/31: Excerpt at Songs and Stories
4/1: Guest Post & Giveaway at My Jane Austen Book Club
4:2: Review at Babblings of a Bookworm
4/3: Author Interview at The Little Munchkin Reader
4/4: Review at Margie's Must Reads
4/5: Guest Post & Giveaway at My Love for Jane Austen
4/6: Review at My Kids Led Me Back to Pride and Prejudice
4/7: Guest Post & Giveaway at More Agreeably Engaged
4/8: Excerpt at Laughing with Lizzie
4/9: Excerpt & Giveaway at So Little Time…
4/10: Review at Diary of an Eccentric
4/12: Review at The Delighted Reader
4/13: Excerpt & Giveaway at Austenesque Reviews
4/14: Guest Post & Giveaway at Babblings of a Bookworm
4/15: Review at Warmisunqu's Austen