Sunday, December 27, 2009

Relations

I'm diverted from my writing by the information that my youngest sister and her boyfriend are spending quality time in the living room at parents' house. This would be something that the oldest sister and boyfriend did for two years before he popped the question and they shortly after married.



That is to say - things seem to be calmed down with the family and our way of handling the interloper.

He is still not exactly what the parents want in a son-in-law. But he has been going to church with her for the last year, given up dating everyone else (including his strange Scrubs-like relationship with another guy), and he spent Christmas with my family instead of his own.

Her car is a victim of the weather (dead battery, frozen gasline, or bad starter/fuse) - which means she is stuck at home and had no way of driving over to his apartment to see him. So he came out to see her the last two days.

Good on him.

I'm humored at the moment, because I sat down with the lovely and thick Jane Austen collection book that mom gave me for Christmas. I opened to page 187 and immediately saw the following paragraph:

"Because honour, decorum, prudence, nay interest, forbid it. Yes, Miss Bennet, interest; for do not expect to be noticed by his family or friends, if you wilfully act against the inclinations of all. You will be censured, slighted, and despised, by everyone connected with him. Your alliance will be a disgrace; your name will never ever be mentioned by any of us."

This was the speech which Lady Catherine gave Elizabeth upon falsely hearing from Mr. Collins that E and D were involved and about to declare marital intentions and relations to the world.

I read that parag and laughed, because it reminded me of all of our correspondance with Elizabeth (baby sister) when she and boyfriend began their courtship on the wrong foot according to our family. There was a difference of culture and values between his family and ours. Liz got caught in the middle and chose his side. She fled with him to Chicago and afterwards moved into his apartment with him and two other guys. Our parents meanwhile were stuck with all of her growing debts and dealing with debt collectors (they'd call up to 20 times a day looking for her) and were panicked and worried sick over her moral and physical welfare.

My sisters and I understood Liz' conflicted emotions, but stood by our parents. There were many emails from us to her, begging her to moderate her behavior and not burn all of her bridges.

Let me just say my remaining sisters and I watch Pride and Prejudice and read it with a different perspective than before. The situation with Lydia especially... hits close to home.

It is definitely a reason why I appreciate Jane Austen's books, and always have. While Charles Dickens used his writing to pour out his own personal grief and frustrations in life and gain the relief and satisfaction which he may or may not have found in real life, Jane Austen used her pen to explore some of the social situations which impact people and families even now. She either experienced those things herself in life, or perhaps she was a very observative bystander.

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