So, if you follow Jane Austen on Facebook (and, who doesn't!?) you'll know that they're doing a celebration of Pride and Prejudice. Yesterday's question was all about Charlotte Lucas:
So, Charlotte makes me want to throw up, but she also kind of makes me a little sad. I'm sad for her, for other women in her situation and, in turn, that makes me sad for all of women kind as Charlotte's thoughts, feelings and actions are not so far removed from women of today. She makes me want to throw up because every time I think of her my mind automatically next jumps to the dreadful Mr. Collins. No matter how we look at it, she is neither unlucky, nor unwise...and, she definitely isn't destined for misery. With all of our technological advances and with all of our gender equality there are still women who, much like Charlotte, are smart and, yet feel incomplete outside of marriage.
I do appreciate that Charlotte is the perfect foil for Elizabeth and while we can see the deep contrast between the two, we can also see how similar they are. We learn many lessons from her. We learn that we don't have to agree to be friends. We learn that it's OK to be practical. We learn that sometimes we must sacrifice ourselves to be happy. We learn that we must be truthful about this, and we learn that if we are truthful with others and ourselves we can pretty much have the courage to do most anything. Charlotte and Elizabeth both teach us that there's more than one way to approach marriage and love. They are both strong women who choose their own destinies. One is just comfortable enough in her own skin to not mind being a spinster and the other would rather do anything to be anything but.