Understanding Love and Marriage with Rousseau
42 minutes ago
As I finished the last page, I began to see a pattern that was repeated in all three books. After much flicking back through all three novels, I gave my theory a name- ‘ABG Maturity.’
This stands for ‘Austen, Bronte, and Gaskell Maturity.’ These three writers have done more for true women’s liberation than any less elegant feminist of today. The principle of my theory is simple- in the novels of Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, and Elizabeth Gaskell, their heroines possess a quality some women in today’s world just don’t have.
They’ve Grown Up.
They are all portrayed in their enchanting novels as women of independence, purpose, and intelligent opinion. They may not be highflying career queens, but they stand out in the circles of their society as individuals who are mature enough to make their own decisions and accept responsibility for them.
Too often girls are now relying on their boyfriend to make up the missing part of their identity. These girls are often young and inexperienced, swaying with the pressures of peers, fashion, and a focus on things that really aren’t important.
A great many of the flailings and posturings that have defined American culture from the Eighties to the present, in other words, unfolded from what Jean-Paul Sartre called “bad faith” – the unspoken awareness, however frantically denied or repressed, that the things that actually mattered were not things anyone was willing to talk about, and that the solutions everyone wanted to discuss were not actually aimed at their putative targets. The lie at the heart of that bad faith was the desperate attempt to avoid facing the implications of the plain and utterly unwelcome fact that there is no way to make a middle class American lifestyle sustainable.
I may not object to hearing you tell me, unasked, how cold it is today or how you are feeling, but I am quite sure I don’t want your opinion on how flat my column fell, how sorry you are that one of my children is a Jerk, or how badly my striped tie goes with my checked jacket. You may have heard that I have been having problems with someone, and you probably think it is kind to offer advice on how to handle the situation. Perhaps it is, but only if I invite the advice.
If I may quote from a great American poet and philosopher, Hiram King Williams: “Why don’t you mind your own business, cause if you mind your own business, you won’t be minding mine.” Or, as he advises in the conclusion, “If you mind your own business, you’ll stay busy all the time.”