Episode 27: Life lessons from Jane Austen's heroines With Sophie Andrews @laughingwithlizzie
In this episode I am joined by friend and fellow Janeite Sophie Andrews from blog and Instagram page @LaughingwithLizzie as we discuss the life lessons we have taken from Jane Austen's heroines over the years. Looking at what quotes we resonate with and what it means to live with Jane in mind 200 + years after her death. Sophie is a prominent Janeite in the community and it was so much fun to sit down and chat about our mutual love of Jane's novels and characters. This podcast is about Janeites coming together, discussing Jane Austen's work, and having a few laughs along the way. We really enjoyed making this episode and we hope you like it. Where can you find Sophie? Instagram: @laughingwithlizzie Book: Be more Jane & Be your own Heroine Blog: http://laughingwithlizzie.blogspot.com/ Youtube: https://youtube.com/channel/UCfVhOxVmayHjm4O9qGbCMbA BBC Documentary 'My Friend Jane': https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08ywkjv
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Izzy Meakin 00:00
Hi janeites If you're listening, please follow and subscribe. It really helps to grow the podcast and for me to bring you more episodes
Izzy Meakin 00:26
Hi, Janeites and welcome to episode 27 of the white, the Austen podcast and Happy New Year. I hope you all had a wonderful winter break. To kick things off this year, I thought it would be a good idea to look at the ways in which Jane Austen's heroines have helped to sue the years, what lessons we can take away from their experiences and how they have shaped the way we deal with life. So joining me today is the absolute rock of the Jane Austen world blogger and author and the woman behind the presents laughing with Lizzie. Sophie Andrews. So welcome, Sophie, I'm so excited to be recording with you.
Hi, yeah, it's really lovely to finally be on your podcast. And I love the episodes that you do the recent series on the villains, Disney Villains and all this. That was great. I enjoyed that. So thank you very much for inviting me on.
Izzy Meakin 01:12
You're more than welcome. I'm so excited to have you with me. So a question that I ask all of my guests is what got you into Jane Austen originally?
Well, I think I could say I could say my mom sat me down when I was nine to watch the 2005 Pride and Prejudice film watch that loved it. Can't say I became a hardcore Jane Austen fan at nine because I didn't.
But it definitely got me on the route to you know, all the romantic comedies and that kind of genre. So then it really became a passion for me when I was 1516. And I was studying Pride and Prejudice for my school exams. I up to this point, funnily enough, wasn't really a reader. I was a very active child and found sitting down reading a book boring, I think. I think it's just I haven't found the right books. But I did read this because I knew I already like the film and that kind of genre. And I think I read it in about a week, which for a non reader is pretty quick. And for a first first time, Austen because the language does take a little while to get your head around and the length of sentences. And fortunately, I had an absolutely amazing English teacher, who also absolutely adored Jane Austen, which meant when we were going through and studying it, she had a pupil that was loving what we were doing, whereas everyone else was, you know, supposedly anyway saying, Well, we're so boring. I don't like it, blah, blah, blah, because you know, it's not cool to like Jane Austen, obviously. But she was great. She would I'd stay behind after lessons and chat to her and just phango I suppose really. And she was really supportive. He sort of encouraged me to look at other Austen novels and sort of helped me on that sort of journey. I then got online and discovered that, oh, look, there's loads of other Jane Austen fans out there, which I'm not on my own, which is how it felt me and the English teacher. That was it. And I did that through Goodreads and met loads of lovely people on there. One One of whom then encouraged me to start a blog. And because I had lots to say about Jane Austen, and then that's how laughing with Lizzie came about and then I started posting like my school essays on there, edited a little bit to be be a bit a little bit less formal. And I just yeah, that I was just devouring everything, all the novels, all the adaptations, like going back to like the 1960s and 70s. It was really hard to track down some of them, trying to find them on the deepest depths of Amazon or something. And then I got started to look at the fan for the world of fan fiction, which is huge as well, just absolutely everything. And that was in 2012 and then by 20 When did I first start dressing up? 2015 1415 I think I first started attending events and getting my emergency costume by then it was too late really couldn't go back from that point.
Izzy Meakin 04:29
full genome for life
right there. Yeah, I've gone too far.
Izzy Meakin 04:35
I love that though. It is amazing. Like you have been on like such a journey with it. Because I know obviously, I already knew kind of your story because we'd already met up and we've discussed things in the past. But obviously, having a love of Austen is kind of opened loads of doors. You've made loads of friends in the community, as I have and I think that's one of the amazing things about finding like the Jane Austen community through social media and everything. You think you're alone until you find it. Yeah.
Oh, it definitely feels like that Goodreads was was really opened my eyes. Because if there were multiple Jane Austen groups with lots of people in them, but then when I got onto the into Facebook and suddenly saw there, you know, hundreds of groups on there, all around the world, it was just unbelievable how wide reaching the love of Jane Austen is. And I have yet I have met so many wonderful people over the years, people my own age like yourself, or your younger, actually. Slightly. I used to be the youngest when I first started this. And then, but then also Pete, I've become great friends with people who are old enough to be my mother. But it's, it's been such a lovely journey to just having that one. Real strong passion in Jane Austen is just enough to really connect you to someone very quickly. I think having that immediately in common just sets you up to be friends. Really?
Izzy Meakin 06:10
Yeah, I can. I mean, I totally feel the same way. It's definitely even though it feels like a massive community. It's still a tight community. And you can bond really quickly with the Jedi Knights which I think one of the most magical things about it. So yeah, and it was actually reading your book. So be more Jane and be your own heroine, which really inspired this episode topic. So both really good books, guys. And I'll obviously link all of that into the bio. Well, yeah, it was reading that that was like, Oh, this is what this would be such a good FSA topic, you know, talking about the lessons learnt from Jane Austen characters. And then also, obviously, a more recent book is about obviously, Lizzie's in there, but it's all the heroines as well. So what we're gonna do today is we're going to work through the heroines and basically just talk about what lessons we've learned from them based off their strengths, but also, you know, mistakes and weaknesses, because lots of lessons can be learned from people's mistakes. That's for sure. So So, to kick things off, then I thought we could start with Elizabeth Bennett. Someone you're very familiar with.
I mean, yeah, very familiar. And your your start, you're starting with the with the best there. So you down from there.
Izzy Meakin 07:20
Sometimes you try not to start with Pride and Prejudice. Please stick around. Everybody. Don't just leave after Lizzie. Yeah, bear is that
Izzy Meakin 07:29
to you? So funny. So some things that I was thinking about when I started thinking of what have I learned from Lucy Bennett? is I think the the main lesson I've learned something I've definitely carried through life is the importance of standing up to people who thinks they're kind of superior to you or above you and you know, calling people out. I think maybe bullies who struggle word but I think in in real life, you know, you can come up with these bullies and toxic people. And I think standing up to people is very important. And I think that's something I definitely learned from Lizzie.
Yeah. 100% I think I think in a way, Billy isn't, isn't too strong a word. Because obviously, I think, Billy, you get the associations with like being bullied at school, which I was possibly why I look up to Lizzie, because she did stand up to them, whereas I did not. So she was someone I wish I was, I think in regards to that. But I think you still get these kind of difficult situations in adulthood as well. Like in workplaces. You know, if you've got a manager perhaps who's, you know, not very good at managing people. And it can feel a bit like you're being bullied for for want of a better term. But like Caroline Bingley, and Lady Catherine V definitely fit that category. Just the way that they look down on Lizzie, you know, they have that whole I mean, Caroline is talking behind her back later, Catherine just says it to her face. But But uh, both are. It's sort of that bullying kind of behaviour that you see. But Lizzie fortunately, is able to, to stand up to her and to defend herself, which I think is really admirable.
Izzy Meakin 09:19
Yeah, 100% is she's incredibly brave and courageous, a true Gryffindor. And she doesn't. There's a quote that you pulled out in your book that really showcases this and it says, Absolutely, there is a stubbornness about me, that never combat to be frightened at the will of others. My courage always rises as every attempt to intimidate me. And I just really love that. And I think it's such a good lesson to learn from a young age and then to carry with you through life. Because like you said, you know, work environments, it's very easy to be around, you know, toxic managers, and to learn how to stand up for yourself.
Yeah. 100% And like I said, I think the the workplace is a very good example of, you know, in 21st century A living, because because you have that, that hierarchy, if I think it can get into some people's heads the fact like I'm quite sick, you know, by my role at my job, I don't have toxic managers, I'll just say that now I love my job. But you know, I'm a low rung, as it were, I'm sort of assistant level, and then you get managers and then head offs, and even going up right to the top with like, CEO. So you automatically have that, and that kind of, in a negative work environment just lends itself to that sort of superiority, then feeling superior anyway, and that kind of bullying, believing you will do what I say kind of attitude.
Izzy Meakin 10:40
Yeah, absolutely. And you know what I feel like it was easier for me to take on board these lessons for Lizzie, when I was younger, like I remember, I'm not necessarily really outgoing person, I can be quite shy, especially in scenarios that I'm not used to. But I remember one time I was on this trip, and I saw this, this guy was being awful to this girl publicly, like in front of a group of people. I don't know what came over me, Lizzie came over me and I was just stood up. And I just said, You can't treat this person like this, you know, but you need to stop it. I
Izzy Meakin 11:10
just walked out with her. And I was like, you don't need to put up with this. And I thought, that's great.
Izzy Meakin 11:15
I think growing up with heroines like Lizzie, it doesn't steal that kind of the strength in you because it's something that you can aspire to. And you can say you know what I'm going to it's not even just standing up for yourself. It's standing up for others who who maybe can I think it's super important?
Yeah, no. And I think yeah, good on you. Because it's, you know, those kinds of situations, you see them happening all the time. I suppose Lizzie inspires you to be like, Yes, I can help out here. But in the way that often we are told in society. It's almost that I think we're kind of is instilled in us that you shouldn't be interfering in these kinds of things. And you know, you don't know what might happen and all of this, I think in it, they sort of that kind of attitude. Encourages indifference in a way to those kinds of situations. And I think it's sad.
Izzy Meakin 12:04
It's not my problem. kind of mentality. Not Not my
problem, just pretend it's not happening. But actually, you know, in a lot of situations, that's definitely not not the right attitude. And that's why I think you'd look look to Lizzie not to society.
Izzy Meakin 12:21
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And I think it's a great lesson we can take from Lizzie based off her her strength. Is there anything else based off Lucy's strengths that you want to talk about before we kind of get on what what we learned from her mistakes?
Yeah, she um, she admits she definitely made mistakes. Like we all all the best people make mistakes. No one's perfect. I do admire her. Lizzie's loyalty. Again, that's a Gryffindor trait, isn't it? Bring us back to Harry Potter. Not that we're both Harry Potter fans or anything.
Izzy Meakin 12:53
But I think as I'm sat here with Mike
and I, we both just been to Warner Brothers. Yeah. But I think she is very loyal, even when you know, she's loyal to the wrong cause, like when she has the loyalty towards Mr. Wickham. But I think that if, even when it goes wrong, that sense of of loyalty and strength of feeling about something over the way she stands up to Lady Catherine, when they're, you know, insulting her family. She stands up to Darcy with that awful first proposal and showing that she's loyal to her family. She knows her family is not perfect. Like she gets fed up with her mom and her sisters, little sisters all the time. But she was still they're still her family, and she's still going to be loyal to them. And I think you see that a lot. And like with Charlotte Lucas as well. She really struggles with the idea. Yeah, her, you know, going off to Mary Mr. Collins. But she does then come round and she goes to visit and she stands by her friend.
Izzy Meakin 13:53
Yeah, yeah. I love that. That's so true. She is a loyal friend, very protective of her friends. Like he obviously Wickham at one point is her friend. And even though she puts her faith in the wrong person, she is very protective over him. And she's just right on their own for Mr. Dorsey about it, because, you know, it's the way she sees it is Wiccans a good person and her friend, and she will stand up for anybody who she has that connection with. So I yeah, I think it's obviously it doesn't it's not always placed on the right people. But I think it's a very good quality to have. I think people should be loyal to their friends and stand by them. Yeah, definitely. But that does bring me on to Lizzie's mistakes, which I think we can learn a lot from this as well. So the main thing that I learned from Lizzy and her mistakes is not to jump to conclusions or church people too quickly. So I think, especially if you're going to be like Lizzie and be really outspoken about it, because it can lead to a lot of embarrassment if you're wrong. So I think obviously, we've already spoken about the data and wicked situation and I think that's a very good example of that of jumping to conclusions. And also you were saying about the Charlotte situation again, she's very quick to judge Charlotte for her choices. It takes time, she has to sit with it for a while and then actually realise, for Charlotte, that was the right choice. And maybe you can't judge people based off your own opinions on how you want to live your own life.
Yeah, absolutely. It definitely takes her, her time to accept it and understand it. And I think, you know, Surely even sort of self, you're not going to really be able to understand why this is the right thing for me, and that I'm okay about it. Because Charlotte knows Lizzie so well, in all of the conversations I've had about, like, you know, only marry for love and all of this. So I think it's difficult for Lizzy. But she does come around eventually. And I think I mean, I think I can see it from Charlotte's point of view. And I can also see while it is a bit like whoa, what you're doing because it's her best friend. She wants the best for her best friend. Which in the situation that Charlotte's found herself, this is the best, it's just lazy, can't see that yet. And in ladies mind, this is the worst possible thing that Charlotte could be doing. Because you know, who wants to marry Mr. Collins, kind of her reaction is out of love for her friend. But it's out of love for her friend without actually taking into consideration Charlotte's sort of situation and point of view and her own feelings on it.
Izzy Meakin 16:17
Absolutely. 100%. And then the Dawson Wickham situation, I mean, obviously jumping into conclusions, buying into Wickham story straightaway, before kind of looking at both sides. And I think Lizzie can be very black and white. Sometimes I'm not looking at the grey area too much. But obviously, sometimes the grey areas where the truth lies. So
it's because it's a lot. I mean, a lot of the time, the black and whites easier, isn't it? You want, you know, in a situation like, well, he's good, and he's bad. And that's just easier to kind of, you know, sort of understand and deal with. And I think, I mean, I can't remember I think about this a lot. I can't remember it. Well, actually, probably because I had seen the film before. I had read the book. So I already knew the story. But I'd be really interested to know if anyone on first reading Pride and Prejudice or even watching it. Do you go along with Lizzy and Wickham? Are you at all suspicious of Wickham? Or, you know, and just the Darcy being the goody come out, you know, come as a shock, like it did to Lizzie? Or are you sitting there going, Lizzie, what you're doing? Why is this like person you've just met telling you this really, like get the violins out? sob story. You know, and I can't remember whether I was suspicious of him or not, obviously, I was. But that's I think, because I already knew what was going to happen. I can't remember my initial thoughts on it. Which is really annoying, because I'd be really interested to know what I thought I knew see
Izzy Meakin 17:45
what I honestly, I would give anything to be able to read it for the first time again, and just or at least experience what it was like when I read it for the first time again, just to know whether or not I fell for work. And but then I always think that I thought like, will it be as well? Did I fall for him was like did I buy into this relationship? But yeah, I totally agree. It's, it's, it's a shame, once you've read it so many times, then you no longer have that first experience again. But that was everything I had to say, for Lizzie, the first strength that I have on the list. And Alia is basically don't let others dictate your happiness, whether that's romantically or with a job, say or with friends, I think and learns through losing Wentworth the first time that she needs to stand her ground more, and not let family dictate you know what her path to happiness is. And I think that's such an important lesson to learn not even just by family, by friends, by society in general, you have to carve your own path. And also not let your youth kind of cloud like mistakes of your use. You've kind of cloud your future.
Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Especially in you know, in today's world, society media, kind of the expectations that are put on, particularly young women is just, it's just awful, really, and very, very difficult to kind of go against the grain essentially, or going against what, you know, oh, well, this magazine says I ought to be a size eight and I should work clothing like this. And I should have had a boyfriend by now or any of those kinds of things, which, you know, when you get older, you're just like, What? What, why? Why? No, it's up to me when I do what I do. But when you're at that kind of young, teenage young adult age, it's you're so impressionable. Like I mean because an Eliot was 19 when she was persuaded not to marry went with and it is such a difficult age to hold fast to what you believe in and what you believe is right for yourself.
Izzy Meakin 19:56
Yes, absolutely. It is super hard and I think Obviously, with time and is able to see past that and look back and think actually, you know, I could have chosen better for myself than than the decisions that my family made. And I would have been happier to be with Wentworth than without him. But I think as well, what's really interesting is, I think the narrative makes a point to say that and didn't blame herself for being guided by her family. But then at the same time, the narrative always like, also makes a lot of references to how it clouded every enjoyment of youth, she has an early loss of bloom and spirits because of her choice. And I think with an there's a real argument to say, sometimes you have to look back on the mistakes or the decisions you made when you were younger, and forgive yourself for them so that you can move on as an adult and grow from it as opposed to hold on to it forever. Yeah, absolutely.
And I think, I mean, when you look at it from Lady Russell side, in the reasoning to her say, you know, persuading, and to break it off, you kind of, I think I feel a little bit of sympathy for her. Because in what we literally we're just talking about with kind of loyalty and looking out for people. She thought what she was doing, you know, he's was a young sailor, no, no money, you know, no guarantee that he was going to make his name in the Navy. She was doing what she thought was best for, you know, her, her, you know, because Iran is definitely her favourite of the three. Elliot's understandably and it is what she thought was right. Well, yeah, I mean, easy, easy decision there. But, um, but I think so, I kind of I do feel a little bit of sympathy for, for Lady Russell, and then also for Ann, for going along with it. And as you say, being persuaded. And it's, I think, when when you have made that kind of decision, it's the not beating yourself up for the rest of your life. About It is important.
Izzy Meakin 22:08
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And I think sometimes this is why I do think Mr. Elliott's a villain. Absolutely. But I think he plays a really vital role for and in coming to terms with that, because I think he shows on that she still has great politics, she's still a real card, and she still deserves happiness, not necessarily with him, but I think and then takes back control and thinks, you know, what, I'm not going to keep beating myself up about this. And when when we're next, you know, in my area, I'm going to, you know, speak to him like a normal human being now in, in stop holding on to the past, which is kind of making me feel like I can't approach it. Yeah, I've
never really thought of him like that. But you know, he definitely does, because he can tell that he's, you know, he does find and you know, quite quite an, you know, in an enticing possibility. And he thinks he's, she's still pretty, and witty, and you know, a catch, as you say,
Izzy Meakin 23:05
but is that are there lessons that you felt that you've really learned from an Elliott?
I think she's, I find her very interesting. And when I have ever done like a poll about people's favourite novel or heroine, it's really interesting how many people say that it used to be Lizzie, or Pride and Prejudice. And that as they've got older, it's become persuasion. And an and I think it as you go through life, you perhaps come to appreciate and understand more, that that whole second chance sort of situation and finds herself in. And I think it speaks to people more perhaps when they've been through similar sort of situations where they've lost something, that something that they wanted hasn't happened, that kind of theme of hope, or half agony, half hope, you know, that again, you become to appreciate when you get older, I mean, here's me, I'm about to turn 27. So she's my last hope of heroin, because I've run I've run out of other Austen heroin. So I think you know, as you do, obviously, in today's world, 27 is nothing. But I think even if you were 40 something and hadn't found love and weren't married or whatever, I think someone like Anne could totally be like, well, wish she did it. Why? Why, you know, I'm still fine. I'm still good, why can't I still get whatever I whatever I want, even if that, you know, not doesn't have to just be like a relationship, but you know, anything in life, like a career, whatever you wanted. Just look at and you can do it really?
Izzy Meakin 24:50
Yeah, I love it. And but that brings us on to a character that I guess maybe kind of falls into that category as well. Having an awful family of sorts and that is funny priorities. He's so funny. He's the one that I struggled with the most defining strengths. Everyone knows everyone who listens to the podcast knows I have, I have a complicated relationship with funny.
And I can understand it. Like when people asked me, you know, like, how would I rank in favourite print, you know, all the novels. I'm always like, well, PMP is at the top mental parks at the bottom, the others change around between the mental Park is always at the bottom. And I think that a lot of the reason to do with that is is Fanny price, I think I find her more difficult to relate to and as you just said, like, find those kinds of strengths in her to inspire you, I suppose.
Izzy Meakin 25:42
Yeah, yeah, thanks. I feel like there's a really good lesson to be learned. From funny that, basically, don't forget that you're the heroine of your own life. Because if you don't reach for the things that you want, if you don't speak out, if you don't take centre stage in your story, your happiness can very much slip past you and someone else can take it. Obviously, we see that with Fanny and Mary Crawford, Mary Crawford is very outspoken, she's willing to go for what she wants. And she ends up taking admin for a lot of the story and funny, what I find funny as well infuriates me, she She's jealous of the situation. But I'm like funny, you didn't say anything, you didn't do anything. So you don't really have any ground to stand on?
I'm like, Yeah, you haven't, he doesn't know that you're, you know that you like him, and that you're really, really jealous right now, because you're not giving him any indication of this. Yeah, it is different. Like a lot of people I've done, I've seen the argument of the fact that, you know, Mary Crawford is the heroine of Mansel park in a way. And you know, you can kind of understand where that's coming from. Because she is, you know, she's more more Lizzie like, I suppose, because she's outspoken. Obviously, she has had her her downfalls and especially, you know, towards the towards the end.
Izzy Meakin 27:08
That I mean, there are some good things about Fanny, I think she has got a strong moral compass. And I think she's extremely loyal. I don't think anybody would be as loyal to the Bertrams as funny as she is devoted to that family. Even though they treat her really awfully she, she feels very committed to them.
In a way you can forgive a lot of phonies, kind of the fact that she doesn't speak up, because of the situation that she has grown out, you know, with having Mrs. Norris on her case all the time. And I think, if that's how you've been brought up, since you were pretty young, you're gonna really struggle, because it's habit by then to just be like, right, I'm just a quiet mouse in the corner that can't say anything. So I think in a way you can kind of forgive her willingness to just let people walk all over her. And like having complex relationships with people who you sort of, you think trying to be your friend, but you sort of also don't like and it's kind of like, rivalry going on. I think you can get that today with friends that you you know, that you've got, and especially how I think friends you might have had when you were younger? How relationships can change, which I think you do see throughout the corpse of Mansfield Park and Mary Crawford in the you know, when she shows her hand about the situation with her brother and Mariah, it's that, that that okay, we were friends, we had some sort of relationship, but actually, no, I don't want that. Now. We're both different people, and kind of moving on from it. And I think that is something that is a good lesson to be to be learned. And that it's okay, it's okay to do that.
Izzy Meakin 28:41
I love that I Yeah. 100% I think that's a really important lesson to learn. And I think one of the beauties of growing up and becoming an adult is starting to realise that that yeah, you know, you can let go of friendships, if they no longer serve you, and you can still appreciate them for what they were, but know that that person maybe doesn't have a place in life anymore. That's a great one.
I think it's, it's difficult, I think, because, you know, you have our friends for life, friends for life, you know, when you're at school, and BFF and all this. And even, like, it's okay to if you've got family connections, that that don't work, you know, you're you're always brought up the, you know, family as family, etc. But actually, if you've got someone who's, like toxic in your life, and the relationship that you've got just isn't positive for either of you, then actually, whether you're just friends or actually even if they're family, like, it's okay to step back and be like, that's just me at family functions. You know, and I think, in all in a way funny is the kind of is a bit of an example of that because you think she does get to a point of the word I'm looking for
Izzy Meakin 29:55
control in a sense, I guess. Yeah, maybe we could maybe we could make the argument that she actually does have more control on the situation, then there may be surface level we give a credit for
Yeah. And I think you also see the way, the way that the Thomas Bertram changes in the way that he was, he sees these funny, the fact that he's like, Oh, she's actually a really lovely young woman. And you know, the way that he changes as well, I think goes along with when fanning start to is eventually becoming more confident and saying, Well, I do have some power and some control, and I'm just going to do what I want to do. And it takes her a long time. And it takes him a long time to sort of realise it. But I think when I mean not, you know, it's when his own daughter Mariah makes that huge misstep, and really ruins the reputation of their family that he sees how good Fanny is basically.
Izzy Meakin 30:53
Yes, and I think thinking of her in comparison to Mariah, you can really say that Fanny stays true to herself throughout the novel, whereas Mariah is very false. Like she's totally fake with the people around her people give them multiple chances to break her relationship with. Yeah. Oh, my God, what's his name? Rushworth. Yeah, he gives her opportunities to break that off. She isn't. She's not tied to Rushworth at all. In she still says no, like, genuinely, she's she's very false and fake throughout where it's funny. Like, conversely, is, is the same person through Oh, yeah, no,
she definitely is. And I think yeah, that that definitely is, is a strength is in staying true to yourself, even under the most difficult circumstances, like when? So Thomas is saying, Well, you know, Crawford wants to marry you. This is great, fantastic, go for it. And she still says no, even though she knows how much out as you said, how loyal she is to the Bertrams, and how much it will upset them. And it does really upset Thomas, and he does not understand it. But she still stays true to herself, even in those most challenging of circumstances. So I think that's definitely something that is worth looking to Fannie to kind of see the,
Izzy Meakin 32:14
the positives amongst.
Yeah, I think well, yeah. But like, looking to find you're saying when you are true to yourself, like it does come out good. Like, it's worth it. I suppose. You know,
Izzy Meakin 32:26
yeah. I think Austen does celebrate that. You know, if you're authentic, that does pay off eventually. Yeah. And I think she shows that anyone who's false and fake and, you know, is trying to get help,
really? And yeah, yeah, I
Izzy Meakin 32:38
get it in the end. Yeah, absolutely. I looked that though. I felt like there was too much to see there about funny which obviously, initially, I didn't think about but I think he made some fantastic points there. And I might leave this episode thinking that I've learned the most from funny than anyone else. I'm for the next person I have on the list. Is Elena Dashwood. So? Do you want to do you want to give me some of your thoughts on Elena first?
Yeah, Elena is I've always found Elena and, and Marianne for their relationship. Really interesting. When I was growing up. I think my sister was very much and Elena and I was more Marianne. And then as we got older, I'm the Lizzie and I and Eleanor and my sister is the Jane and I've always made in a way fit a little bit like Lizzie is a older more mature Marianne and similar with Elena and Jane. I don't know why I've always made that course connection. But I think the Jane is you know, she's still soft spoken and quite sort of do what what she's told sort of attitude, but not quite. As much as Elena can be, you know, Elena is too quiet and too internal. So I find it interesting to see his birth not what you asked me about but I've always found it found it interesting to sort of think about those those four heroines in that sort of way.
Izzy Meakin 34:09
Yeah, I can definitely see connections between Jane Bennett and Eleanor and I think one of the strengths that I found in Eleanor really pleased to that because I think the way that Eleanor deals with Lucy Steele is really interesting because on my latest reread, I really realised how aware Eleanor is of what Lucy is doing. Yeah, she makes the conscious decision to say like, I know what she's doing here but I'm not going to give her the satisfaction of her being toxic to me and her getting her being satisfied with me being upset. And I think should Jane experience in other Caroline Begley, that is the exact approach Jane would have had as well like having been around Caroline and learning from that. I think she would have approached a situation like Elena does with Lucy Steele. Should she experience it again?
Yes, no, I think it's definitely a strength in that way because Lucy still is just she is just the worst Didn't she? But Elena, despite the fact that she is distraught that the you know, Edward is unavailable? And is all this big secret that he didn't tell her? She can still say, Okay, well, we're just gonna bury that emotion and just deal with what's in front of me, which is Lucy trying to make me upset. And then No, you're not having that satisfaction, as you say. And that's definitely something which is a valuable sort of, you know, in really rubbish situations that you can find yourself in if you've got some of that, that you can still stay strong and stay not positive, because it's not positive, but sort of,
Izzy Meakin 35:42
he's just like boundaries. Isn't it? Like form bound? Yeah.
Yeah. And it's sort of keeping people in their place. So well, I know what you're trying to do, but I'm not going to let you
Izzy Meakin 35:51
absolutely I 100% think that's the case. And I think it's a great thing to learn from Eleanor she doesn't she and she's not like it Marianne and Elizabeth it they she jumps right in and out openly. She she knows it in her mind. She's like, I'm not gonna cause personnel, but I know how to put my boundaries up so that you don't affect me too much. Because I recognise you're a toxic person. Yeah. And I think that's such a valuable thing to have. Yeah. And she knows
that calling her out is just just just not going to be, it's not going to help anything at the time, which again, is very strong, because it would, you know, that must be so hard. I mean, I know, because I'm more of a Lizzie. I would really struggle to be like, Oh, well, I know this information. And I'm just like, I need to tell someone and be like she's horrible. And you know,
Izzy Meakin 36:35
just tell us your face. You're a horrible.
Well, yeah. And that just be like, No, you're a bitch go away.
Izzy Meakin 36:45
literally feel like we all feel like that about Lucy.
And I think it's very strong. I think I think there's a little bit of keep your enemies closer going on, where Elena thinks, one, so she doesn't upset things. This is what she's going to have to endure. But she will likely say set those boundaries. But also, in a way, not that it'll be beneficial to her. I mean, in the end, it did did turn out to be but that perhaps it's better to have Lucy still, but still sort of supposedly on her side and talking to her, you know, confiding in her in a way that it might be better to do that than just, you know, call her out and become open enemies. The secret enemies.
Izzy Meakin 37:28
Yes. Yeah, I love that because she has all the information that something that I also learned from Elena, which kind of falls more on Elena's mistakes, I would say is is probably not very healthy to bottle up all your emotions. I really think it's important to talk about your feelings of people and let it out. Because I think we really see with Eleanor, there comes a point where she just completely crashes because she's been holding on to all of this for so long. And I think something that all of us can really learn from Eleanor is finding someone you can confide in is super important. Oh,
huge. Which is what I love between Lizzy and Jane, because they do confide in each other. Yeah, because 100% if you you know, because I'm very guilty of that when going through my childhood, put it on a shelf, keep putting it on a shelf, you think not think about it. One day, that shelf will fall down. And I think that is what happens to Elena. And the sort of conversely, Maryann learns that she should be putting some things on a shelf. And there's a little bit too, out there all the time. And they sort of I think they learn from each other. That one's been to bottled up. The other one's been way too open. I think we're very, that's a particularly British thing. I think. I think we're very good at sort of, you know. brave face or stiff upper lip. Yes, that's the that's the phrase, carry on, keep calm and carry on kind of attitude.
Izzy Meakin 38:57
Absolutely. And I really appreciate that. Now, as a society, we're starting to talk about it more than just people you know, it's good to talk about your feelings. It's good to talk about what's going on, because we all experience hard times. And we you know, even just general life, emotions, you know, things things can things that aren't even that big of a deal. You know, it's still good to talk about them with somebody. So I think, from Eleanor, I really recognise that you have to let these things out before they get overwhelming. But even though we've already mentioned a couple of bits on Marianne, then just because we're in the same novel, one of the strengths that I really found from Marianne is, is not changing who you are, just because others may think that you're like a little bit too out there or a bit too different or a bit, you know, extreme and in their eyes. And I think obviously Marianne doesn't outwardly necessarily say that she just goes on about all the things that are important to her that might not be important to anybody else. But I think Brandon makes a really good point of this to Eleanor when Eleanor saying like all the things that Marianne to change to kind of To be a better person, and Brandon says, like, no don't desire that, because what she has that there is a lot of like amazing stuff and what in who she already is. And obviously Brandon has feelings for us who has a different approach to it. But I think that there is something to be said of, you know, even if you maybe are not exactly what everyone else thinks is that you know, how you should be, don't change who you are to fit into a mould.
Yeah, definitely. And I think obviously, Marianne is an extreme, but definitely, I say it is nice and Brandon saying, you know, don't, don't change it. Because if you do change it, it's difficult to go back again, if you then have changed and abided by what society says you should be like, it's very difficult to then go back to what you were before, which I think is sort of what Brandon is trying to say to Elena that if you you know, try and force her to change, then she'll just be lost.
Izzy Meakin 41:00
Anything that's true, you can lose your identity if you try and change yourself too much, for sure.
Loads today, when people saying that, you know, they lost who they were, and they didn't know, you know, if you get stuck in the rat race and think society says we have to do this and we have to I have to do that and getting too caught up in it all. You then you're like, Well, who am I? What do I like to do?
Izzy Meakin 41:24
And I think the relationship between Brandon and Marianne really shows that you will find the people who love you for who you are. And you obviously I feel like the Jane Austen community is a stance of that I don't know about Yeah, up. But I've definitely experienced people being like, Oh, you're like that we're Jane Austen girl, or you're obsessing Jane Austen, or, you know, all of those things. We've probably all had guys in our life. But at the end of the day, we have a fantastic community of people. And we all love each other for our mutual love of Jane Austen. And I think in life, you will find the right people. And you'll find the people who love you for who you are.
Oh, yeah, definitely. I've always, you know, it did take me a long time to because like, when I first started my blog, and it were Lizzie, my persona was just Jennifer really. I didn't have my face out there. And it was because, you know, I was only 16 I was at school, and it was just uncalled to like Jane Austen and all of this. And it took me a while to grow in that confidence to to own my love of Jane Austen. But now I'm like, you know, I don't care. Who knows. I don't care who sees me and to be honest, I'm, if you're going to be my friend, then you're going to have to accept that this is what I do. And if you think it's weird, then we probably shouldn't be friends. It's I suppose it's it's not don't hide any part of your personality.
Izzy Meakin 42:40
Yeah, yeah. I love that. So I think another lesson that we can learn from Marianne is not every person will be right for you romantically. Obviously. In Marion's case, she's looking for a man, but I think for whomever you're interested in this point stands.
Oh, wow. Yeah. Yeah, unfortunately, be be yourself. 100%. But be careful that the man that you're with is not moulding his personality to match yours, which he does. Definitely at times. I love poetry. Oh, I love poetry too. So you can easily think
Izzy Meakin 43:14
about honour weather when this song I love as an open door. Like, I love that we finish each other's sandwiches. And it's like any keeps copying what she's saying?
Oh, yeah, I was gonna say that. I was like, What? No, you weren't, I think, in particular, in the world of like, dating that is very common. Especially in like, like today because the date the world of dating is a lot of online dating, or these various apps that you've got. And to be honest, it'd be quite easy to just pretend to be someone you know, you say if you're trying to get to know each other. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Like we you could literally pretend to be someone else if someone else's photo and everything. But it's very easy to just go along with what other people are saying even if that is not what you actually.
Izzy Meakin 44:01
And I think actually what Maryann learns is you don't have to have exactly everything in common with a perfect partner. Actually, sometimes compromise sometimes it's having differences and it's just your core values that needs to be the same which I think for Brandon and Mariana is, you know, being true to yourself as a core value they both share. And yeah, in the end, that's more important than this kind of superficial things like you do we read the same books or do we listen to the same music or you know, all of these kinds of things.
You can have the same core values but have different temperaments and on the whole, even with friendships as well. Like my my best friend, Abby, Hey, Abby, I know you'll be listening. Hi. She, like we have a lot. We have a lot in common. We've met through Jane Austen, and we have a lot in common. But we also have loads of things that are quite different, like just sort of various attitudes towards things things that she enjoys are very different, but it just means we have more things to talk about. And I think that's a much healthier relationship than one that like, directly mirrors like, you know, this is almost like you're then Dating Yourself.
Izzy Meakin 45:14
Something incredibly creepy about that.
Yeah, I just don't think that's ever gonna work. Really.
Izzy Meakin 45:22
Are you happy to move on to Catherine Morland?
Yeah. Oh, Kathy. We looked
Izzy Meakin 45:27
through and Okay, so one of the positives that I put down for Katherine, and something that I really love about her is, obviously she has this huge passion for reading. She loves books, when she's talking about reading mysteries of Udolpho. She says, Oh, I'm delighted with the book, I should like to spend my whole life and reading it. And I think a passion for reading really comes through in this novel. I think that's such a wonderful pastime to have or to feel this passionate about anything that you enjoy.
Yeah, I think, yeah, that strength of passion. I think that's a lot of what Tony finds endearing about her is the fact that she's like, oh, like, you know, it is a bit easier experience that when like, when you're growing up, if you become passionate about something, you're all in, and like for, you know, and then a couple of months down the line, you probably don't like it anymore, and then you'll find something else. And you're just like, oh my gosh, it's my absolute world. When you get I mean, it happened to me with
Jay Z, it was like to me like, like, yes, but Jane Austen is a little bit different than and I think Tony lossing
Izzy Meakin 46:34
Yeah, yeah. And I think just in general, you know, loving things like reading and I, like I know, a lot of people will listen like part of the Bookstagram community. And you know, it's, it's amazing if you can find things like that, that you love, and you can get lost in another world. And I knew Catherine's that sometimes doesn't work out because she gets too lost in the Gothic world. Oh, yeah.
100%. And I think, having that passion, and yeah, I suppose wanting to, you know, completely lose yourself in another world and let your mind sort of go go wild. And all that sort of creativity and imagination, obviously, for her goes a bit too far, or into the wrong novels, but definitely, is something that we should we should do in our own lives. Because I think, you know, you can't go through life without at some point, what, you know, wishing you were somewhere else wishing you wishing you were someone else even. And I definitely had that in Jane Austen was 100% my escape. I think it's, it's, it's important to, to, you know, you as a human kind of having that, that wish to wish to escape and to let your imagination run wild.
Izzy Meakin 47:49
Yeah, absolutely. And I think even though like you're saying, Katherine does have the weakness of being naive. I think something else that I really learned from Katherine is a something that we've already talked about, actually. And that's ability to let go of toxic people once you realise that toxic because I know by the end of the novel, Katherine's naive with Isabella, but by the end she is she is just
Izzy Meakin 48:10
like, Isabel is done. She was like, I'm ashamed of ever loving her. Yeah, goodbye.
Yeah. And it's Yeah. And he's absolutely brilliant that she that she just is like, no, dropping her right now. It's really admirable that she does when, when she does realise how naive she's been and how wrong she's been. She kind of admits that she was wrong. She doesn't try to go, oh, well, she was nice to me at the start or anything. She goes, No, no, she's just been bad the whole time, hasn't she and I need to not talk to her anymore. And you know, she she does. She just owns it. Really? She owns her mistake.
Izzy Meakin 48:46
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I think that's kind of a running theme with Austen's heroines I think we're fine tune is, is that kind of learning from your mistakes and letting go of toxic people in your life? Both very, very valuable things to learn in life, guys? Yeah, if you've not already, like some people behaved like yesterday. Why would you want to move on to Emma Woodhouse the last heroine on our list?
Yeah. I'm a mom, I love or you hate, and
Izzy Meakin 49:12
I actually love ever but I do. I love her. I do love her. And I do think I know she does make mistakes. But I think she has the makings of a great leader in society. And I think that's something that's there are valuable lessons to be learned from it in that in how she's able to inspire people around it, even if she does it in the wrong way. She has, like quite a good skill set in that.
Yeah, definitely. You can always see her like, I think, you know, in a modern world and like I feel like she'd be a female MP trying to run for Prime Minister or something. President or something, you know, just in the way that she goes about things and a lot of the time. What she's also everything that she does does come from the heart like even what she's doing with Harriet. You know, she is again she's doing what she thinks is right for Harriet, she's not doing it out of spite. All the things that she does get wrong. I mean, you may say other than, you know what happens with Miss Bates on Box Hill. But that's kind of under the influence of Frank Churchill's.
Izzy Meakin 50:14
And I think we've been that, right when we've been younger. It's so easy to be influenced by people around you, and you can make mistakes and lead to cringe and think, oh my gosh, I never would have treated someone that way. And we seem like she doesn't sit on it and think I was so right. I'm so glad I said that. Like, no, Mr. Knightley calls her out. She's like, I'm so embarrassed. How do I make amends for this?
I think immediately after she said it, I think she's like, Oh, I probably shouldn't have said that. Anything, you just Yeah. And she's like, embarrassed and upset. And you know, she tries to make amends, which I think show it shows that, you know, on the whole Mrs. She is a good person. And she means well, and she regrets what she did. And she's trying to make it better. But yeah, oh my gosh, it's so easy when you're just with friends. You know, say something you don't mean or even do something in the group of you saying, oh, let's go and throw what rock through a window. You know, I know. He's out there, guys. Yeah. Well was given away my childhood past. And, you know, you just kind of go along with it, don't you? It's very easy to just go along with what's going on around you. Even if it's not who you are.
Izzy Meakin 51:28
Yeah, or even in the workplace. I think as you get older, like sometimes it's easy to get like caught up in something like what other colleagues that are in everything. And it might not actually be the values that you hold yourself. And I think sometimes you have to do a bit of self reflection and think, Is this the person I really want to be? And I think Emma does that. And she is at heart a good person because she's much more She's much higher in society than MySpace. She didn't have to go back and apologise or she didn't have to feel bad about it. If she didn't want to, let's perfectly be honest. I think it's a testament to her empathy that she does.
Yeah, no, she Yeah, she she absolutely didn't because that wouldn't you know, that kind of behaviour would have been going on all the time. You know, though, I mean, to be honest, they probably wouldn't have been going for a picnic with someone. And obviously, there is the implements of Mr. Knightley, who is obviously obviously instilled in Emma. Good fall. Yeah. And they sort of like you are fortunate, you need to be nice to those who are less fortunate.
Izzy Meakin 52:27
Oh, my gosh, isn't that see? I mean, we could do a whole other episode about like, the qualities that you learn from the heroes because I feel like there's so many great lessons that you learn from things that the heroes do.
Yeah, I feel like I could do do the book again, but on the hero's
Izzy Meakin 52:42
good, I think Emma also shows the importance of travelling, like, I feel like if anyone's gonna be he's gonna prove the importance of leaving your, you know, your, your hometown, or it's Emma. Because I think travelling really does help you grow in empathy and understanding of other lifestyles and cultures. And I think that's so important when you're growing as a person. And I think a lot of Emma's issues come that she is so isolated, and she's been in this small bubble her whole life.
Yeah, and Knightley recognises that and says, like, you need to get out, you know, even if it's to Box Hill, you need to get on and she has a major life lesson at booksale in the in the treatment of MySpace, and that's like our first trip out, you know, and she definitely proves the importance of what is what you grow up around, and how strong and influence everything, everything everyone, every place around you has. And the fact that she has had one place around her is, you know, not responsible before but definitely contributes in a long way towards the challenges and the things that Emma gets
Izzy Meakin 53:45
wrong. And I think Emma also shows the importance of having somebody who can help show you a whole new world. He's an Aladdin quote. And I think that's it. You think though, because she has Mr. Knightley, he's able to open those doors up.
Yeah, no, definitely. And it's also nightly isn't afraid to tell Emma when she's done something that is not not good. She was like, No, that wasn't good. You should apologise you just pointing out her her flaws, her faults, which obviously, you know, she teases that he does all the time. But it's really helpful in life. Because sometimes if you have got very kind of in that bubble or a bit self centred, even without realising it because we we can all be selfish at times, even if we think we're very selfless people, you sometimes need that outside person to go. That wasn't so great, what you just said or what you just did. And I think definitely I've, you know, like Abby, who I mentioned before, she'll pull me up if I did something that I shouldn't have, or vice versa, like, I think you need someone that is going to do that.
Izzy Meakin 54:50
Yes, I totally agree. I think it's definitely an important person to have in your life. Yeah, I feel like when is the best friend
Izzy Meakin 54:57
or a partner as well? It's like, you know, they love you. So It's like yeah, exactly. Yeah, it's
come it's coming from that position of love and it's like no this isn't you I don't want to see you doing that.
Izzy Meakin 55:07
Yeah. Oh my gosh so much to learn from all the heroines all the life lessons
that's why I've seen so great and why she enjoyed I think because she's such such a good you know, observer of human nature and essentially Human Nature doesn't change
Izzy Meakin 55:27
100% And obviously that's why your books are wonderful as well because like I was saying at the start guys, this is this episode was inspired by Sophie's book be more Jane and then obviously she has another book which is be your inheritance so you know, Sophie, I'll pass it over to you you know if there's anything you know, where can people find you? Yeah, yeah, this episode.
So yeah, thank you very much. Lovely comments on my book. My books. Yeah, they're available. You know, all good bookshops as people say. All your usual places you would expect you can also contact me directly and I can send out copies and I ship worldwide. You can find me at Instagram or Facebook then my main social medias under @laughingwithLizzy
or you can send me an email laughing with firstname.lastname@example.org I love to hear from people. So do do reach out and you've got if you've got any further questions.
Izzy Meakin 56:22
Yeah, but I've had such a good time for you. Sophie. I always enjoy chatting with you. So thank you so much for coming on the podcast.
Yeah, it's been lovely. It's nice to just have a you know proper Austen chat.
Izzy Meakin 56:33
I know not not that we don't talk about Austen when we meet any of them.
We don't anyway, but I kept we recorded Austen chat. But you know, and we've I think we've both learned some things about about funny.
Izzy Meakin 56:47
Yeah. We've now got a new perspective on finding new who knew this is 23 It's changed my whole perspective on funny here we go.
Izzy Meakin 56:56
Thanks so much for listening and janeites If you want to find me outside of the podcast, I'm on Instagram at what the Austen which is where I house all of my Jane Austen themed content and my account Izzy Meakin which is my more kind of general lifestyle account. So I would love to see you over there but for now, that's everything from me and I will see you in the next episode.