Hi friends! I hope you’re all doing well, and staying safe and happy. Remember that positivity is something that can’t be taken away from you!
For today’s post, I wanted to do something unique. I was thinking about how classic female protagonists might create a name for themselves in the literary world of the 21st century. I devised a scenario for this, and thought it would be even more fun to have these women conversing. I hope you enjoy reading this!
The characters who will be featured in today’s post are :
Jane Eyre — Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
Jo March — Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Elizabeth Bennet — Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Anne Shirley — Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
My taste in classics is SO predictable…(I didn’t read Jane Eyre, just saw the TV show, shhh)
Let the fun begin!
A round table. Four chairs. A woman with green eyes and braided hazel hair walks in and seats herself. Another soon follows suit, her gray eyes fixed on a sheaf of notes, reddish brown curls windswept. A third woman with dark eyes and hair, a pencil behind her ear, leisurely makes her way in. The fourth, her gray eyes bright and merry, who at present “had a soul above” auburn hair, bounced in. They all looked at one another.
Meet the Revolutionary Women of Classic English Literature.
Jane Eyre. Jo March. Elizabeth Bennet. Anne Shirley.
They all were transported to the 21st century for an unknown reason and have been living here for 10 years. They have adapted, and hope to eventually return home, which looks more and more likely as science and technology develops in the line of time traveling.
Jane currently hosts one of the most popular book blogs around, as it best suits her shy yet courageous nature.
Jo March is a well known author, and traditionally published. She has constantly appeared on the NY Times Bestseller List, and her works often feature strong independent female protagonists. However, in her spare time, she likes to read about quietly brave girls, as they remind her of Beth.
Elizabeth Bennet is a regular writer at a well known newspaper, where she publishes opinions on women’s rights and several social issues.
Anne Shirley is a winner of many writing contests for children, as it best suits her imaginative fancies. She has become skilled in flash fiction and retains her distinctive lyrical prose.
They are meeting here to exchange thoughts and opinions. Here is a recorded transcript of their conversation, after all the greetings.
Anne : Lizzy, I hear your newspaper articles, particularly the one headlined SOME WOMEN IN STEM PAID LESS, have garnered much praise from critics and readers alike. That sounds incredible!
Elizabeth : Thank you, Anne. This issue is close to my heart, for back when I came from, countless women married not for love but for the money their husbands could support them with. When I first came to this century, I was happy that women were paid for well worked jobs but shocked that in the prestigious field of STEM, some women were paid less than men and had less of a chance to rise up through the ranks.
Jane : Very true, very true.
Jo : Newspapers! My sisters and I used to do one called The Pickwick Papers. That was a staple in the March house! Alas! Your articles are all extremely fascinating, Lizzy, but I think the one I liked best was the article about supporting women of color in the science fiction genre.
Elizabeth : I had much fun writing that. In each of my articles, I like to have as many interviews as possible with the women I am writing about. I think we can all agree that while we are adapting, we are still rather foreign to this century, so we should not presume upon such matters.
Jane : I know what you mean. As a prominent book blogger, I also use my platform to discuss mental health, a heavy topic amongst today’s young adults. I sympathize with them greatly, but sympathizing is not the same as empathizing. Thus, I too do not wish to make assumptions on false grounds.
Anne : At the very least, I am glad that the wild fancies of my imagination are well met by young readers as they were from when I came from. The flights of creativity are bound to be able to cross the borders of time!
Jo : It is all very well. I am pleased that we all have met such success and have adapted to the ways of our chosen crafts. While this publishing industry goes like the wind, I believe that sticking true to what yourself and the topics you believe are important are far more essential than trying to meet the needs of countless readers. For many more will like it than those who won’t.
Jane : A very good take on this. Satisfying readers is one thing — being honest and critical is another. You do this very nicely, Lizzy.
Elizabeth : Ah, you place too much praise on me! Jane, I’ve been meaning to wish you my sincere happiness upon hearing that you recently gained 6,000 followers. What a milestone!
Jane : Why, thank you very much, Lizzy! I am deeply thankful to all of them, they are all so friendly. They tell me that my book recommendations always turn out to be great reads for them.
Anne : How splendid! What sorts of books do you recommend?
Jane : Well, I enjoy all sorts. Self care books and warm pieces about family relationships are among my favorites. Recently, I discovered the genres of magical realism and thriller, and the ones I have read so far are quite good.
Jo : Thriller! I would not have placed you as a reader of the genre.
Jane : Why ever so?
Jo : I have tried my hand at penning a thriller, but concluded I could not do it. It seems writing a thriller is as difficult as writing a mystery. However, whilst I read a thriller, I always seem to be able to predict plot twists.
Jane : Is that so? How incredible! I must say, I never do see them coming.
Anne : I think I prefer magical realism. There’s something about integrating a magic system within a world and all the inhabitants treating it as normal, that I find intriguing.
Elizabeth : I confess, some of the concepts they come up with are very well done, but others are just frightful!
Jane : Perhaps you are thinking of dystopian novels? Where the setting is gruesome, but it is considered normal by the citizens?
Elizabeth : No, there is a fearsome side to magic that a few authors explore. I suppose it could overlap with the thriller genre.
Jo : Why, it seems as though all our words are going in a cycle! I must admit, I find this conversation stimulating.
Anne : I agree. Speaking of stimulating, oh, Jo, you write some of the most genius, thought provoking pieces. How ever do you do it?
Jo : You flatter me, Anne. Which do you mean?
Anne : I was enthralled by your short story Shattered. It was so profound and elegantly told. I also appreciated your long novel Macarons and Sunsets. It is a timely piece, full of philosophical questions and life lessons, and of course, the unbreakable bond between the women of a family.
Jo : I am heartily glad you enjoyed them.
Jane : You are a master of all literary trades, Jo. You seem to be capable of creating everything from a science fiction verse to a gorgeous contemporary prose.
Jo : Oh you are all too kind! But Anne, dear, we must talk about your recent winning submission to the magazine Sunlight Pages. I was able to receive an advance copy, and I loved your writing style! It is too beautiful.
Anne : Thank you, Jo. Your praise means ever so much to me!
Elizabeth : It was called A Myriad of Rainbows, wasn’t it? Oh it was lovely, mixed with sorrow and joy.
Jane : More sorrow, I should think. But I couldn’t tear myself away from your piece until I finished! And even then, I sat there, thinking about it, for hours.
Anne : When I was younger, I always thought a tragic ending would be more romantic than a happy one! I poured my heart and soul into this work, more so than my previous ones. I am so delighted it was well received by you all!
Jo : You know, I do believe it is becoming evident why we were transported to the 21st century.
Elizabeth : Ah, so do I. It is because we are needed here, in this time, to spread many things.
Anne : Namely, awareness of feminism, good literature, and joy!
Jane : I believe we will all succeed in continuing to accomplish these things in our future works. I wish us all the best!
Thus concludes the conversation of these four intelligent women.
Thank you so much for reading this lengthy post! Because that was A LOT of words (Eleanor can’t even be precise, what?) here are some collages that summarize this post pretty well (I think).
In the comments below, I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions. Which of these women did you think I portrayed best? Do you think I did a good job deciding where these women stand in the literary world of the 21st century (Jane as book blogger, Anne as contest winner, etc)? Would you like to see me do something similar in a future post? I’m open to character suggestions!