As we watched, I was moved by the emotions of Elinor. I felt her sense of responsibility, of decency, and loyalty. I understood her reserved nature and more than once I actually cried as I watched her deal with her disappointments, heartaches and sense of propriety. She had a level head and common sense. Those are good things but they sometimes robbed her of the spontaneity and headstrong-ness of other Jane Austen characters. But I really understood her.
Now I know why. Today I saw a link to a Jane Austen quiz called "Which Jane Austen Character Are You?" I took the quiz and wasn't at all surprised to find that I'm overwhelmingly Elinor Dashwood. I like Elinor enough that I took it as a compliment.
As I read the description of Elinor Dashwood, I was amazed to find the similarities in Elinor and myself, especially when I was closer to the age she is in the movie. Some of those similarities were both good and not necessarily so good. Elinor is responsible and proper. She puts the needs of others above herself. She's a caretaker. She's extremely loyal. Those are all good things, right?
But that wasn't all. She's reserved and doesn't easily share her feelings, often holding them inside. She allows her sense of duty, loyalty and propriety to stand in the way of her own happiness. Are those things good? Maybe in some cases. Maybe not in others. I can think of times in my life when I've kept my thoughts and feelings to myself and then later regretted it. (Of course, I can also think of a few times when I've shared my thoughts and feelings and then wished I'd kept my mouth shut.)
But in most cases, would I have been better off being more open, like Elizabeth for instance? I'm not sure, but I'd be curious to see what it would be like to go through life with almost bull-headed confidence and openness.
I do know that as I get older, I'm trying to be more open and up-front about how I feel and what I think.
Maybe being like Elinor is so deeply ingrained that I'll never really be any different. That's much better than being a Lydia Bennet or a Lady Catherine.