It’s amazing that just six books from one woman, writing over two hundred years ago, could so profoundly affect us still–but she was writing universal truths, after all, and those truths don’t go away just because we’ve got lattes, and the internet, and horseless carriages.
Jane, to her credit, did not settle. She persevered in her work in private, only able to grab times to write here and there. She did not get to announce to her family that she had a deadline, and therefore they had to leave her alone and eat mac and cheese for the next few weeks.
She had the chance for a married life, but turned it down. I’m not on top of any scholarship about why she might have said yes, then taken it back twenty-four hours later, but I’m guessing she didn’t want to settle just for the comfort of being a married woman in her own home. It’s heartbreaking to think that Jane–who defined romantic love for many of us in her books–wasn’t able to find it for herself, but at least she didn’t have to pull a Charlotte Lucas and marry out of necessity, as opposed to love.
In that, Jane was a true kick-ass heroine, a woman who did what she wanted to despite the strictures of her situation and society. She wrote, she made her own life choices, and her definitions of life, love, family, and society remain vital guides to readers and writers today.
Happy Birthday, Jane!