Monday, March 24, 2008

Would Austen Have Picked Hillary?

At this point, there can be little question regarding my political preference. Only an illiterate dimwit from Yorkshire would fail to discern it, and even he probably has an inkling. Let me just quickly state, however, that if there should happen to be one of those in need of clarification, I am boisterously in support of the lovely Mrs. Clinton, pant-suits and all.

A more poignant question, however, would be whether Jane Austen agrees with me. In a sense - since I am a creature of her machination - it could be said that I reflect her viewpoints. I would like to think that's the case, but I am just one small facet of her complex brain, one character among a slew of differing opinions. I could no less make that claim than disown the Austen community.

The Austen Blog (a wonderful potpourri of all things Austen...highly recommended) expounded on this very point, precise location Exhibit C. It seems some are of a mind to associate Miss Austen with Mr. Obama, an assertion I hope to dispel for good through three impenetrable persuasions:

1. Jane Austen may not have been a feminist in the Wollstonecraft vein, but she certainly championed women's rights, and while my dear Hillary has her flaws, so did Emma. If I remember correctly, Austen managed to make a heroine out of her, so why not the same for Hillary? If Austen were here today, I say she would embrace the possibility of a female leader, perhaps rallying behind her with a sharp-witted endorsement (so long as the inauguration had the appropriate amount of satin).

2. What type of character is Jane Austen most wary of? The dashing, philandering male suitor! We see it time and time again, between Mr. Willoughby, Mr. Wickham, Henry Crawford, and even Frank Churchill (I think it's safe to say Mr. Collins does not grace this list, as he already inhabits the current presidency). This, my readers, is Sir Barack Obama, the sorcerer of seduction.

3. Hillary Clinton has oft been called the "iron lady" for her wilful determination and steely resolve. Is that not a trait common in Austen heroines? How about Fanny Price's insistence on denying Henry Crawford despite Sir Thomas Bertram's implorations, or Elinor Dashwood's fearlessness in the face of misfortune? My dear Hillary embodies these qualities in their finest form.

So there you have it. Not only would Hillary Clinton garner Austen's support, but she would also transform into a true Austen heroine (perhaps leaving Bill - the greatest seducer of them all - behind). And if such were the case, count me among those in pursuit of her charms.

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