This is my blog for topics of general, Jewish interest, named for the magazine I launched in 2005. I have additional blogs for other areas. Follow on Twitter or on Google+ under Ariella Brown. Please note that comment moderation is on, which could keep your comment from appearing right away.
Jane Austen on Mr. Right
Though Elizabeth is the heroine that most Austen readers love to identify with, most will not be int her situation. The overwhelming majority of women will not get to marry the equivalent of Mr. Darcy, nor should they. Jane Austen is fully aware that not all marriages will made of matches that appear quite that light an bright and sparkling. As a realist, she offers different models for marriages. While some are from ideal, as featured in Pride and Prejudice, Austen shows that a match need not be spectacularly impressive to be right.
There are other marriages that work out quite well for people who know how to recognize that Mr. Martin is not just "good enough" but really the right man to marry and don't delude themselves into thinking they will get Mr. Knightley. What makes the relationship between Darcy and Elizabeth work is not that he has the most money to offer, but that she learns to appreciate his integrity and realizes that she can trust him.
The theme is also present in Persuasion. Anne learns that she was wrong not to trust in the man she refused under the influence of others, years earlier and gets a second chance to marry her equivalent of a Mr. Martin. In Sense and Sensibility, Marianne realizes the Willoughby could not be trusted, while old, dependable Colonel Brandon can. Trust is also at the center of Mansfield Park. Fanny (irritating though she may be to many readers) is unerring about who is the right man for her; she has a sense of whom she can trust.
An alternative title to this is "Why marry Mr. Martin?" The inspiration is an article I read a long time ago in graduate school entitled, "Why marry Mr Collins?" Mr. Martin is the farmer whose proposal Harriet rejects under the influence of Emma, who is convinced that Harriet can do better by marrying a man of greater status. The woman who marries Mr. Collins, on the other hand, has no delusions about her prospects because she not only lacks money, but even the youth and good looks that Harriet can boast of. At 27 , Charlotte will seize any matrimonial opportunity to have a respectable establishment of her own.
While Emma herself succeeds in marrying the most prosperous gentleman in the novel, Harriet does get to marry the right man in the end for her, as well, and is quite happy. Unlike Mr.Collins, he is a man she can feel respect and affection for. Certainly, there is no suggestion that she would contrive to keep him out of her sight and hearing for most of the day as Charlotte does for her husband. It is not a spectacular match, but a good, solid one. Perhaps I should call it a sensible one, for it has something in common with the match that Marianne Dashwood learns to accept in Sense and Sensibility.
There is, indeed a perception that Jewish men are good husband material. It certainly seems to be assumed by nonJewish women who actually seek out romantic attachment to Jewish men. What do they have to say for themselves?
In her autobiography, Crossing Ocean Parkway, Marianna De Marco Torgovnick, an Italian-American who became an English professor identifies her selecting a Jewish husband as one of the keys out of the locked environment she found in her own ethnic group. That is not to say that she married for money or even status, but for someone from a culture that would foster her academic aspirations. I am not sure if a WASP would have been perceived as beyond reach, while the Jewish man -- still rooted in an ethnic group -- was considered more attainable. But she clearly found a Jewish husband to be more compatible with where she wanted to go than a fellow Italian-American.
But, on the flip side, my husband recently declared that his coworkers put him to shame (just don…
At the end of her book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, Susan Cain puts in "A Note on the Dedication" that explains why she selected her grandfather for that honor because he "spoke so eloquently the language of quiet." She doesn't identify him by name but drops a number of hints, like "Brooklyn neighborhood where he served as a rabbi," "as a widower he'd lived alone for decades," "when she spoke the congregation swelled to standing- room-only," and "he died at the age of ninety-four, after sixty-two years at the pulpit."
She also gives a couple of clues to her family by identifying her father as "a dedicated physician" and the size of her family, which included one sister and one brother. So these were what I had to go on to make the connection. Well, actually my husband took over the Google search when he arrived at http://www.nytimes.com/2000/04/18/nyregion/rabbi-is…
If I were giving the advice, I''d keep it much simpler: Be a mensch. As Hillel told the prospective convert who wanted to know all of Torah on one foot -- what is hateful to you, don't do to another.(see http://kallahmagazine.blogspot.com/2012/02/all-you-need-is.html) The rest is all commentary. The same holds true in this case. For example, isn't it obvious, if a guy gives you options, that he wants you to respond with what you would prefer?
Anyway here's the list of tips.
Preparing for the Date: If the male has called twice with no response and left a voicemail, then at that point the female should be courteous, and either return the call, or text the male to let them know when they will be available to speak. If th…