My favorite opportunity for sharing the love of Austen so far.
In the past five years I’ve been writing, I’ve had a lot of really wonderful ‘Austen-adventures.‘ I’ve met a lot of wonderful friends. Traveled, attended conferences, spoken, costumed and learned to dance. Even better, my wonderful, if more-than-just-slightly-crazy, family has come along for the ride with me. Not even kicking and screaming mind you, but all in for the fun of it.
This week, tough, I have had one of my most memorable adventures. I got to share my love of Austen very close to home.
This year, my youngest son was scheduled to study Pride and Prejudice as part of his senior English class, so you know I couldn’t keep my mouth shut. I sent a copy of Courtship and Marriage in Jane Austen’s World to his English teacher figuring it might help her answer some of the questions that invariable come up. But, when all was said and done she invited me to speak to all the English 4-AP classes!
Wow! Great! Cool! Wait–huh? What did I just get myself into?
I taught university for 16 years, but it’s been quite a while since I taught high school students. Fear and trepidation!
So of course I did the sensible thing, and caught a whopping cold.
Seriously. Great planning huh?
So with nearly no voice, and a cough that sounded like a cat hacking up a world-record hairball, my son escorted me to the high school I graduated from back in the dark ages.
I hardly recognized the place–seriously–wow! Suffice to say that I think the changes are for the better. On top of that, the classes–all six of them–were fantastic. I especially enjoyed the gal who was typing notes on her laptop, engaging the conversation AND knitting all at the same time. So awesome!
We got to talk about so many of the things that are confusing to first time Pride and Prejudice readers. Things like:
- What is a gentleman?
- Can you be a gentleman without an estate?
- Just how wealthy were Darcy, Bingley and the Bennets?
- What is a vicar and what is a living?
- Could women inherit property?
- What does it mean to have an estate entailed?
- What did it mean for a girl to be out and why did only one sister get to be ‘out’ at a time.
- Why did women have dowries?
- Why was it so bad for a girl to elope?
- Why would Charlotte want to marry Mr. Collins.
It was so exciting to see the student’s faces as pieces suddenly fell into place and parts of the story that didn’t make sense now did. Makes me really miss the classroom. Thank you so much Mrs. F for the opportunity!
My son’s English teacher and I are already talking about next year, so of course I’m already thinking about the presentation. No, not a little compulsive at all, thank you. 😉
Can you think of any other ‘must answer’ questions to add to the list for next year?