BEING ELIZABETH BENNET By Emma Webster Campbell

Elizabeth Bennet, as you should know, is the main character in Jane Austen’s best known book Pride and Prejudice.

 

Here is the setting: The year is 1800. She is 20 years old and reasonably well off. Because of his inheritance her father does not have to work, and he owns their family home. Elizabeth is bright and has a sharp wit. She likes to read and to travel. She’s led a comfortable but not extravagant life.

However, because the inheritance in the Bennet family follows the rules of male primogeniture, the family home will pass to her father’s cousin. The only income Elizabeth will have is £50 per annum inheritance from her mother. There are no jobs for women. Her mother says her happiness, indeed her well-being, depends on her marrying a man of means.

It is now 2017, over 200 years later. We are all mature men; I’m guessing our average age is about 75. We are about to read a Jane Austen choose your own adventure book – whose original title was “Being Elizabeth Bennet”. We are not reading Pride and Prejudice. Instead we will be experiencing the world of Elizabeth Bennet. In Pride and Prejudice Elizabeth had to make choices. In this book YOU will have to make choices in the same situations she faced. So the plot each of you experiences, in fact the book you read, will depend on the choices you make. In that sense we will all be reading different books.

Why should we do this? First of all, to have fun; this is a game in book form. It’s a game of imagination. Yet it will be a challenging game. Do we, old men, living in the 21st century, have the savvy to make choices that will bring us, as Elizabeth Bennet, security and happiness? Or will we end up unhappy in poverty or worse. We are all intelligent adults, we’ve led meaningful and successful lives, but how will we fare when we change genders and travel back in time?

I finished in three hours on my third try. The first time I died penniless, the second time I was run over by a runaway carriage although my sister Jane suspected that I was so distraught with my prospects that I threw myself under it. The third time I was successful in meeting my mother’s expectations.

How many tries will it take you to find a husband who will support you in the style to which you would like to be accustomed?

 

HOW TO READ THIS BOOK

  1. Don’t start reading this book until you read what I send you in email (I will include a copy of these introductions) and maybe more.
  2. Read, and study carefully, the two sections at the beginning:
    1. YOUR MISSION
    2. HOW TO PLAY
      i. When I read it the first time I decided not to keep score of the
      attributes that would help my prospects, namely my levels of:
      ACCOMPLISHMENTS
      INTELLIGENCE
      CONFIDENCE
      CONNECTIONS and
      FORTUNE.
      ii. I will do so when I read it the next time. Doing so may help me
      make better decisions.
      iii. Whether you do so or not is entirely up to you. My advice is to do so if you, in general, like to “know the score” or if you think it will help you understand how others perceive you.
  3. I strongly urge you to make liberal use of the post-it notes that have been provided along with your book. These are an indispensable tool to help you so you don’t get lost in your journey. Every time you have to make a decision you should put one on the page before you turn to the page indicated by your choice. Why? Because if you subsequently fail in your quest to marry a rich man who you love; you will want to go back to the page where you made your fatefully wrong choice. If you do not use a post-it, you will have to start all over. This could get frustrating or worse, you could grow old, lose your youthful vigor and whatever good looks you may have had. You could die of old age, a spinster. This would be a most painful outcome.
  4. You might consider reading Elizabeth’s Wikipedia page but be careful it contains both hints and spoilers. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Bennet
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One Response to BEING ELIZABETH BENNET By Emma Webster Campbell

  1. Peter Farnum says:

    I hope you are having fun on your journey as Elizabeth Bennet, and I hope you find a husband who will both protect you financially and who will return your love.

    You will notice that the voice of the narrator is quite strong. Who is she? You can tell she’s a she by the catty comments she unloads on Elizabeth.

    Please consider these questions as you read

    Who is this narrator?

    What does she think of Elizabeth?

    What does she think of Jane Austen?

    What would Jane Austen think of her?

    p

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