Friday, January 18, 2013

Disqualifications for Being Agreeable (According to Jane Austen)

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In Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen enumerates the many ways by which a person can lose Elinor Dashwood's approval. I know you're thinking breathing has got to be on the list, but no! Her standards are slightly higher than that. To be specific, people are not good company if they have:

  • Want of sense, either natural or improved [why would someone without sense improve their sense?]
  • Want of elegance
  • Want of spirits [I hope this refers to spirits of the liquor variety]
  • Want of temper

As an illustrative example, we're told that after a dinner party, the women in the group get into a long conversation about who is taller, Harry Dashwood or Lady Middleton's son, William. Mmkay. Not to be disagreeable or anything, but if you want to talk about something more interesting, Elinor, you can bring up a topic yourself. You don't have to listen to that cow Fanny talk. Maybe Sense and Sensibility should be retitled How to Be Agreeable While Screaming on the Inside.

In any event, I thought it would be appropriate to list my own disqualifications for being agreeable, should I ever find myself in Elinor's company.

  • Hungry. I am not in a good mood when I'm hungry.
  • I wanted to write that day, but for some reason I didn't, or what I did write was crap. This will make me VERY disagreeable.
  • It was too cold to go outside. Grrr.
  • Too much pressure.
  • There was a want of coffee. HULKSMASH

Apparently I have a want of temper. But on the plus side I do have lots of spirits.

What do you guys think of Elinor's disqualifications for being agreeable? And why do we have to be agreeable, anyway?


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