Lesson no. 4: When it comes to love, the rebels are always underrated.
I’ve always loved the character of Lizzie’s spinster-in-the-making sister Mary. In an era where women of the Bennet’s social class put all their energy into marrying, Mary stands out as a real rebel. She dresses in somber colors, she’s not interested in ribbons or finery, and she dismisses balls as irrational ways of meeting people. She’s the ultimate foil to the rest of the Bennet girls. One could imagine Mary staying happily single for the rest of her life. With her books and piano as her companions, Mary seeks refuge from the marriage obsession that permeates her household. What a great little rebel Mary Bennet is. And so underappreciated too.
Jane Austen herself never married. She threw herself into writing and became one of the rare women in her time to gain an independent income. She also became a legendary storyteller who is still revered and beloved down to this day. Jane Austen wasn’t Lizzie Bennet, Emma Woodhouse or Anne Elliot — heroines who ended happily in marriage. Jane Austen was the Mary Bennet of her time — a real rebel in every way.