Recently a friend asked me about the best quotes from Jane Austen--there are so many good ones, but they are best read in the context of the plot and the development of the characters. However, here are a few that I thought were best in terms of the imagery and making you think:
Of all horrid things leave-taking is the worst.
--Frank Churchill, Emma
Frank Churchill is a bit of a scoundrel who is manipulative with his friends and gets a little bit in over his head with his secrets, but I love the strong words in his statement, the emotion as he feels it (at that particular moment in time), and the image of the pain in separating from a person. It makes me think of being at airports and seeing people parting, or at hospitals when visitors have to leave their loved ones.
I shall soon be rested....to sit in the shade on a fine day, and look upon verdure, is the most perfect refreshment.
--Fanny Price, Mansfield Park
Fanny is a delicate soul that looks at the world through rose-colored glasses, she can be sensitive to slights from others and a bit judgmental. I like the imagery of this sentence—the warm breeze and beautiful scenery bringing relief to her soul.
You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope.
--Captain Wentworth, Persuasion
Captain Wentworth realizes his love for Anne Elliott has not diminished over the years, and writes to her of his desire to reunite with her. The image of the pierced soul is so striking, the fact that caring for one so deeply can bring physical pain.
I WILL be calm; I WILL be mistress of myself.
--Elinor Dashwood, Sense and Sensibility
The importance of self-talk in every century! Elinor is viewed from the outside as being so calm and logical, yet we see a glimpse into her inner workings and discover that she also gets anxious and worried. This is such a common theme in everyone—convincing oneself that they are up for the challenge.