E.L. James may have spewed out three novels in a very short amount of time, but to my mind one of the best writers to publish multiple books is Jane Austen. Every romance novel, romantic comedy or social comedy traces it’s roots back to her elegant stories. If I were a writing professor, I would choose her novels as reference texts for how to create memorable and interesting characters. It stands to reason then, that her heroes would be something special, and indeed they are. What they have in common is a complete sense of what they should and should not do when it comes to the woman they care about, and women in general.
Just to recap:
We talked about good men here and met one of MY ideal men here: https://denisedufresne.wordpress.com/2015/02/07/separating-the-boys-from-the-men-day-one-of-seven-days-of-good-men-in-movies-on-tv-and-in-print/
Then, we looked at the former bad boy who grows up to be a good man here: https://denisedufresne.wordpress.com/2015/02/08/a-visitor-from-charleston-day-two-of-seven-days-of-good-men-in-movies-tv-and-print/
So, since today is the third day of posting, I’m presenting three good men, straight from the pages of Miss Austen’s charming novels.
These are gentlemen – in the literal sense.
George Knightley – Emma
George Knightley is a landed gentleman that is not only a neighbor to Emma Woodhouse and her father, he is the older brother of her sister’s husband. So, he’s kind of family. He takes an interest in the sprightly Emma and guides her with his insight and wisdom. Mr. Knightley is ever Emma’s best friend, telling what she needs to hear, which is almost never what she wants to hear
The realization that they are in love is mutual and welcome.
Colonel Brandon –Sense and Sensibility
Colonel Brandon, a retired British officer is the neighbor to the Dashwood girls when they find their new home in Devonshire on the estate of their mother’s cousin. He is immediately smitten with Marianne Dashwood, the middle sister. He proceeds with caution, even giving up hope at one point when Marianne seems to be engaged to another man. Colonel Brandon’s honor, nobility and compassion sets him apart, and eventually wins him the fair maiden. The other men featured in the novel are lacking somehow, except for Mrs. Dashwood’s generous and expansive cousin, Sir John Middleton and Mr. Thomas Palmer, Sir John’s surly brother in law who is chivalrous and kind to the Dashwood sisters.
And….drumroll please…..the penultimate Jane Austen romantic hero is…..
Mr. Darcy – Pride and Prejudice
Every girl, at some point in her life, has read Pride and Prejudice and dreamed of meeting HER Mr. Darcy. He possesses all of the qualities of the gentlemen I have discussed previously AND is also flawed enough to make him seem real. His pride and prejudice against Elizabeth Bennett’s less elegant family connections almost make the budding relationship die before it had a chance, but love triumphs in the end. Mr. Darcy has integrity, is loyal to his friends, is a devoted brother and guardian to his younger sister and even intercedes to save the Bennett family from disgrace and social disaster.
So far, we’ve actually seen five examples of literary heroes that are far worthier of female readers attention than the awful Mr. Grey. Tomorrow, I have some surprise choices for you – literary heroes you may not have considered romantic, and yet are quite swoonworthy.
See you tomorrow!