It’s 30 minutes to midnight on the East Coast the night before I am supposed to post my Jane Austen blog post…which I haven’t been writing…because I’m a procrastinator.
The pressure is on, because everyone else on the blog has managed to post smart, thoughtful and witty stuff.
Desperate for material, I turn to Google and ask the almighty search engine what to write about Jane Austen. But I get this:
Really? The top result for “Jane Austen is a” ends in MORALIST?
English is my second language, so just to be safe, I look up moralist in the dictionary.
Yep, it’s what I think – a person who preaches morality. (Cue yawn.)
Jane Austen’s heroines are often tested by a more superficial path, but do they reside in moral tales?
Still, being on the “slacker” end of the academic Austen, I figure I’m in no position to judge for myself. I decide to compare what she writes against what famous and noted moralists write.
I don’t know any moralists, so I ask Google to give me a list of famous moralists. After convincing Google that no, I do not mean famous muralists, I get a list, pick the first one (Blaise Pascal) and dump his words into Wordle to see which words pop up most.
(For those who don’t know what a Wordle is: it’s an image representation of the most used words in a text sample.)
(Take a moment…in addition to the obvious things I’m also tickled by how “etc” pops up.)
Then I test Austen:
See any similarities?
NOPE. You don’t.
- Her heroines are the clear winner. They dominate every Wordle. No surprise.
Her heroes come next, but we all know in a Jane Austen novel even being second billing is pretty great.
Much, Must, and Might. Three words which bring to mind yearning, obligation, and feeling – exactly what I love about her stories.
So a moralist? Maybe. But if I’d had my way I would have finished the sentence differently.
Jane Austen is an author.
Jane Austen is a romantic.
Jane Austen is a feminist. (See Regina’s post for more on this!)
Jane Austen is awesome.
Jane Austen is…….?