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Saturday, 25 January 2014

Lessons from the Classics

We thoroughly enjoy reading the classics such as Austen, Dickens, the Bronte sisters, Trollope. Just lately we have been watching a few of the dramatisations. Jane Eyre, Our Mutual Friend, and Pride and Predjudice. These are ones you can watch again, and again in my opinion. I will never forget the first time I read Jane Eyre, it was in my sick bed and I was very sick with chickenpox, and also 5 months pregnant with our first child. I was captivated, and have since read loads more. I think all the super analysing in school had put me off. For A level English we had to read Emma, by Jane Austen, and it is tedious to say the least when you are trying to analyse, and read things into the book that probably are not there intentionally, and most certainly do NOT have a hidden meaning.
Anyway, what I like about them is the characters that are developed in the story. Dickens, and Austen especially have a remarkable knack for pulling out various traits, and with Dickens the result can be at sometimes somewhat dark, but oh so true to life.
Take Our Mutual Friend; the schoolmaster is shown to have an obsessive jealousy. In the bible we read that jealousy is as cruel as the grave. In this case it leads to almost murder. The heroes are always the ones with the good character traits, and in John Harmon, and Mr and Mrs Boffin we see how they do not set their hearts upon money, and are shown to have humility. It really is a tale of how jealousy can corrupt, and in different ways.
Pride and Predjudice, is exactly as it says; a story of how our prejudices can get in the way of what we think about people, and how indeed things really are. How silly choices, and following youthful lusts can lead to ill consequences.
They make an excellent talking point to discuss with our children. Discussions about marrying the right person, making the right choices, and how the character's actions tie in with the Bible, and what the Bible outlines as moral, and good. I wonder if people do not wear their hearts on their sleeves these days so much, but maybe hide behind social media, for example. Again, we need to teach our children not to always assume people are who, or what they say they are.

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