If you’re wondering where I have been for the last month, I’ve been working, writing cover letters, and creating new career goals. I had jury duty, but did not get picked, and I’ve started reading my third classic Russian novel (Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev). I’m also studying for an exam that I’m taking in a few weeks. What I mean is, “Hello, I’m alive, and it’s nice to meet those of you who just discovered me.”
I haven’t finished my new short Russian novel, and I’m still reading Richard III and Henry VI Part 2. Obviously, I have a really bad problem with reading four books at a time, and never finishing any of them. Let’s talk about something more familiar instead!
You might have seen that meme Describe Yourself in 3 Characters meme this week. I saw it twice on Facebook before I decided to submerge myself in Tumblr gifs for an hour to find my best characterization. If we’re friends on Facebook, you may have seen that my characters were kind of awkward. A transitional phase of life leads to many awkward feelings, and I think that’s why certain characters speak to me.
Alice Rackham from Classic Alice
I loved Classic Alice because the project seemed like something I’d do. This perfectionist is told that she doesn’t measure up (she gets a B- on a paper, and her professor says she doesn’t understand the material), so she picks random books and characters to be life models. She makes mistakes, and she learns that real people deviate from their fictional counterparts (ie the Macbeth storyline). She’s awkward and intense; and while I think her project is a terrible idea because classic characters are known for their flaws and poor decisions, I’d be a liar if I said I never based a decision on something I read in a book.
Jane Hayes from Austenland
I saw and loved this movie. Then I read the book, and I cringed so much that I never wanted to read a “Girl enters Jane Austen’s world” book ever again. The third step was reading a post on Tumblr about Jane and realizing that I loved the movie and hated the book because Jane is my MBTI. In the book, Jane is a 30 year old woman who starts planning a wedding after going on one date with a guy. She’s intense, and not in a good way. I hope I’m not like her when I’m 30, but I’m okay with being the less intense movie Jane. Sure, she needs to throw out her creepy Darcy collectibles, but her apartment (sans Pemberley dollhouse) is cute. And she goes to a resort where she gets to step back in time and learn that she actually prefers the 21st to the 19th century.
Darcy!Jane from The Lizzie Bennet Diaries
Am I comparing myself to a costume theatre version of a male character famously played by Colin Firth? Yes, though Darcy was played by Daniel Vincent Gordh in The LBD. Everyone always wants to say that they’re Elizabeth Bennet because she’s so spunky and intelligent and beautiful, but I’m definitely more introverted than her. The LBD interpreted Darcy as someone who’s shy, hates large parties, and gets nervous around someone he finds attractive. He fake texts so he doesn’t have to word vomit in front of Lizzie. That interpretation focuses less on his pride and more on his awkwardness.
Maybe books, webseries, and movies always have awkward characters because that’s how the audiences feel about themselves. I love The New Adventures of Peter and Wendy because the characters are making mistakes as they figure out what they want to be when they grow up. I love Mansfield Park (and From Mansfield with Love) because Fanny is the calm protagonist in a sea of insanity. I love Northanger Abbey (and The Cate Morland Chronicles) because Catherine has an untrue sense of reality. These characters learn about themselves and their worlds through saying the wrong thing at the wrong time to the wrong person. They make mistakes so I don’t have to.
I can live vicariously through my favorite awkward characters, and I’m thankful for that.