Study Guide

Austenland Quotes

  • Love

    Each time [she watched Pride and Prejudice], Jane's heart banged, her skin chilled, and she clamped down on the distracting ache in her guy with a bowl of something naughty, like Cocoa Pebbles. (Prologue.5)

    Jane loves Pride and Prejudice. She really loves Pride and Prejudice. We're surprised she doesn't lobby for legislation to make it legal to marry a DVD. The emotions she feels over P&P mimic those people feel when in love. With each other.

    Each time the men in your life disappoint, you let Mr. Darcy in a little bit more. (1.35)

    It seems that love, to Jane, is something that fills other emotional holes in her life. Especially her love for Mr. Darcy. As that "something missing" gets bigger and bigger, her love for Darcy grows and grows. Girl's gotta get some self-confidence, are we right?

    In Austen's world there was no such thing as a fling. Every romance was intended to lead to marriage. (2.64)

    This is definitely the kind of true love that we see in movies and books—from Austen to Stephenie Meyer to, of course, Austenland.

    He makes me feel like the most beautiful woman in the world, every day of my life. (2.75)

    Molly's declaration is either a sign of true love for her husband (and vice versa) or the perfect tagline for a Secret deodorant commercial. You decide.

    Tonight, Jane had been kissed. Tonight she thought, Mr. Darcy who? (6.101)

    This line is immediately preceded by Jane labeling her make-out sesh with Martin as "a harmless fling!" But she only tosses her lifelong love of Mr. Darcy out the window, in order to replace him with this new object of her obsession... er, affection.

    Movie actors fall in love with each other on the set all the time. Is it so outlandish to suppose it might happen to me? (16.11)

    Jane waffles back and forth between wanting true, life-changing love and wanting to have some fun, role-playin' flings at Austenland. Maybe she keeps changing her mind because it's so difficult to tell the difference between the real deal and (good) actors' chemistry. After all, so many of those actors who fall in love on the set don't stay together.

    I cherish you more than farms love rain, than night loves the moon, and so on... (16.36)

    Yikes. This is the kind of flowery declaration of love that comes from bad romance novels or John Mayer songs. It's sweet and fully and all, but it's a bit lacking in substance.

    It seemed nobody ever kissed in Regency England. (15.42)

    Jane makes a good point here. We're not sure if anyone ever smooched back in those chaste 1800s… but they did manage to express their love in other ways.

    "I love you," he said. (16.68)

    Henry/Mr. Nobley cuts right to the chase, saying the Big Three Words to Jane in the middle of the play. It's a startling bit of honesty—he goes off script—but the fact that he's an actor playing a person who is acting in a play (are you still with us? no? doesn't matter) only complicates things further.

    I don't know how to have a fling. [...] I'm throwing myself at your feet because I'm hoping for a shot at forever. You don't have to say anything now, no promises required. (20.116)

    This line echoes an earlier line in the book, one that shows this is exactly the kind of love Jane is looking for: "In Austen's world there was no such thing as a fling. Every romance was intended to lead to marriage" (2.64). Huzzah, our girl gets everything she ever wanted and a bag of airline pretzels as she and Henry head back to New York together.

  • Identity

    [Nobley] was, in his subtle manner, insulting dear Aunt Saffronia! Wait, no he wasn't, they were both actors playing parts. (4.102)

    It only took Jane a few hours to buy into the whole concept of Austenland. Here, she forgets that Aunt Saffronia is just a character, and gets all concerned for her feelings.

    [Jane] found herself wondering if she wasn't the prettiest, smartest guest they'd had in some time. Or ever. (4.116)

    Jane is trying to create a new identify for herself: one where she's the most popular and the center of attention. So, really, she's her normal self, only she's been transported to the one place where people like her might be popular: Austenland.

    I've only been half myself lately, and I thought coming here would let me work this part out of me so I could be me again. (5.56)

    This statement is nicely ambiguous. Which half of Jane is she trying to work out of herself: the modern, working woman, or the part of her obsessed with a fictional character?

    Hadn't [Nobley] seemed human for a moment, before he got all nasty and turned his back? Hadn't the fake world tumbled away? (5.74)

    Jane has to ask herself these kinds of questions a lot: which aspects of Nobley's identity are genuine, and which are merely part of his Austenland act?

    Pardon the interruption. I mistook you for someone I knew. (8.35)

    No, Jane didn't mistake Mr. Nobley for Gotye. She's upset because she thought it was the man behind the character talking, but then realized Mr. Nobley was just playing a part. Maybe. We have no idea, and neither does she.

    Was it really a laugh? No, Mr. Nobley had no sense of humor. (9.24)

    Again, Jane tries to find out how much of Mr. Nobley is fake. When he laughs at her jokes, is it because Mr. Nobley is warming up to her, or the actor is warming up to her? Or maybe Mr. Nobley is just really ticklish.

    Who wanted to reassure her? Mr. Nobley or the actual man, Actor X? (9.94)

    Jane expends a lot of mental energy debating whether or not Mr. Nobley, or the man who plays him, saved her from the lecherous Sir John Templeton. We think either of them would have done the right thing in this case.

    Some of the guests were actors, some players. Just who was real in this place, anyway? (18.14)

    And some are actors playing actors in the play that Miss Charming puts on. Uncoincidentally, this play occurs right when everyone's identity crises are at their peaks.

    [Nobley] is acting like a proper gentleman in love, is he not? I might almost say that he looks happy. (18.54)

    Once again, we're not sure if Aunt Saffronia is talking about Nobley the man (a.k.a. Henry), or Nobley the actor. This could be a subtle way for Aunt Saffronia to push Jane in his direction. But whatever her intentions are, Henry is definitely happy (from spending so much time with Jane), and it's showing through in his character.

    Wearing her own clothes gave [Jane] an eerie feeling, like the occasional moment when she glanced at herself in a mirror and had that frightening thrill of unrecognition. (19.43)

    When Jane changes back into her contemporary clothing, she is left to wonder if she's changed from her stay at Austenland. What do you think?

  • Lies and Deceit

    Jane had learned to hide her desires for such wonderful impossibilities as becoming a princess, or a supermodel, or Elizabeth Bennet. (3.26)

    It seems like Jane has had a lot of practice in pretending to be someone else, but who is Jane deceiving in her real life—others, or herself? Who do you wish to be, when you wish to be someone else?

    Jane hid her cell phone in the bottom of the trunk. […] It gave [Jane] a little glee to sneak something illegal across the border. (3.52)

    Jane takes a little pleasure in being deceitful. She hides her cell phone even though Mrs. Wattlesbrook forbids it. Hm, we have a feeling she'll fit right in at Austenland.

    [Jane] didn't know if she could role-play with a straight face. (4.10)

    Even though Jane says this, she rarely has trouble role-playing, especially when it serves her own purposes of flirting or being witty.

    The "kerosene" lamp by her bed had a flame-shaped lightbulb and was plugged into an outlet. (4.26)

    Austenland was built to deceive. It's a modern-day estate meant to serve as a portal into the past. But, like the actors who occasionally break character, Pembrook Park can't always keep its act together.

    And by the way, I'm twenty-two." (4.43)

    This line, coming from Miss Charming's fifty-five-year-old mouth, has to be the biggest lie in the book. She has no problem role-playing with a straight face. Which we think is pretty impressive, because unless you're Demi Moore, no one's going to believe that fifty-year-old skin is, in fact, just a couple decades young.

    I'm quite certain that Miss Charming, still in the bloom of her youth, is several years my junior. (4.53)

    Jane thinks she won't be able to get this role-playing bit down, but she's somehow able to say this about Miss Charming… who is bleached blonde and twenty years older than Jane.

    Play your little charade, but do not try to trap me. I will not sing for you. (5.60)

    It's unusual that Mr. Nobley gets so angry with Jane for "pretending" when that's what he gets paid to do. We think it's because he already feels a strong attraction for our girl Jane.

    I swore to keep any modern thingies out of sight of the guests. (6.53)

    Martin is one tricky bugger. He is breaking the illusion of Austenland by bringing in space-age technology, and he's deceiving Mrs. Wattlesbrook by allowing Jane to watch TV with him. And Jane is later surprised that he can't be trusted? Humph.

    It's only natural to confuse truth and fantasy as they play parts in a theatrical. (16.68)

    In the middle of practicing for the play, Jane seems to utter the whole point of our theme of deceit. We don't have anything to add to this; she's done the work for us. Thanks, Jane!

    You... you were paid to kiss me! (20.47)

    Jane is furious with Martin, but only because she didn't know that he was paid to kiss her. Mr. Nobley was paid to flirt with her too, but she has no problem with that, because he was up-front about being there to deceive her. If that makes sense? Not much in Austenland does.

  • Society and Class

    Picking up Jane at her apartment rather than meeting at the restaurant was a ploy to show Carolyn her great-niece's shameful living conditions. (1.11)

    From the first chapter, we're made aware that Jane's mom does not approve of Jane's lower-class lifestyle. Unlike in Pride and Prejudice,where women typically move up in social class, Jane seems to lead a less lavish lifestyle than the one she was brought up in. We don't mind, but her mom sure makes a big deal about it.

    Spinster is just an archaic term for "career-minded." (1.45)

    Jane says this, but we're not sure if she's convinced. To us, it seems that she feels like a second-class citizen without a man.

    You are aware that at this time a lady of thirty-three would be an affirmed spinster and considered unmarriageable. (3.23)

    Mrs. Wattlesbrook is trying to convince Jane to pretend to be younger. She throws in this nice historical tidbit to remind us that thirty-three was ancient in the 1800s.

    You are not our usual type of guest and there is no chance, given your economic conditions, that you would ever be a repeat client or likely to associate with and recommend us to potential clients. (3.37)

    Dang. Mrs. Wattlesbrook doesn't mince words with the common folk. Her behavior illustrates how the upper class can do whatever they want to the lower class without consequence.

    Mr. Nobley, of course, is most respectable. [...] No title, but an old, solid family name and wonderful lands. He will be a steadying influence on the colonel. (4.90)

    Here's another nice Austenian tidbit. Since we don't have Mrs. Bennet constantly crowing about income and reputation, we're reminded that it's a big deal to be a respectable gentleman.

    The entire conversation felt forbidden, like a secret Austen chapter that she discovered in some forgotten file. (5.27)

    We're not sure if Jane Austen would ever would have written about a romance between a lady and a servant. Maybe a lost episode of Downton Abbey would be a more apt comparison.

    It is not proper for a lady to be out alone after dark and worse to cavort with the servants. (9.33)

    Note the verb choice here. We doubt Jane would be accused of "cavorting" if she were socializing with the gentleman as opposed to the servants.

    Jane asked a maid to bring in tea (and felt pretty cool being the lady of the house for a moment). (10.52)

    It seems the whole "invisible servant class" thing isn't that troubling to Jane when they're serving her.

    I wanted to make sure you knew that even though you are not our Ideal Client, we still made every arrangement possible for your comfort and entertainment. (19.62)

    Once again, Mrs. Wattlesbrook steps in to bookend the novel with a little bit of the social criticism that Jane Austen excelled at. Ol' Wattles thinks that she can do whatever she want to Jane without any repercussions. We're glad Jane shows her up in the end.

  • Tradition and Customs

    Jane spent the drive going over her packet of notes, "Social History of the Regency Period" and felt as though she were cramming for a test in some uninteresting but required college course. (3.9)

    At least Jane has a book, right? Imagine trying to learn all these traditions and customs just through observation, while under the pressure that the slightest social faux pas could buy you a one-way ticket to spinsterhood.

    On meeting, a gentleman is presented to the lady first because it is considered an honor for him to meet her. (3.11)

    This is a nice boost of confidence, but we have to say that we're not sure how honored we'd feel to meet Miss Charming. We might be inching toward the door…

    It is imperative that these social customs be followed to the letter. For the sake of all our guests, any person who flagrantly disobeys these rules will be asked to leave. (3.14)

    Strangely, Mrs. Wattlesbrook isn't telling us the truth here. While the custom isn't to cavort with servants, she covertly encourages Martin the gardener to hook up with Jane. Hm, we guess meddling is the real traditional here.

    No gossip, no swapping university prank stories, no yo's and ho's and all that. I am very strict about my observances, hm? (3.29)

    Mrs. Wattlesbrook is so strict, she doesn't seem to have any earthly idea how younger people actually talk these days. Jane is a young woman from New York, not a pirate.

    Mrs. Wattlesbrook settled down to quiz [Jane] on the items of study—how to play the card games whist and speculation, general etiquette, current events of the Regency period, and so on. (3.41)

    Who knew card games were so complicated? In addition to learning the rules, you also have to be following the proper etiquette with the local ladies and gentleman. No wonder social activities eventually changed from whist to "just hanging out."

    To properly enjoy "the Experience," Jane was to understand, even the underwear must be Regency. (3.43)

    Although the corsets and boning (no giggles) might be uncomfortable, we think it might be a nice reminder to follow the strict rules of etiquette. Rigid posture; rigid behaviors.

    Remember to wear a wrap and bonnet when you go out! (4.6)

    Austenland is the only place where you're likely to hear this statement today. The wrap and bonnet are for show, not function; they keep you from being branded as an improper lady.

    Regency breasts should be veiled during daylight hours. (5.77)

    For all the talk of heaving bosoms we hear about in romance novels, they're actually quite modest about their bodies. (Note: we said hear about. We're totally not talking from experience. No, that's not Fabio on the cover of that book…)

    Doing next to nothing all day was taking its toll. (8.8)

    As someone who normally spends her days in New York City—taking public transportation, working a desk job, and trying to have an active social life—this lady of leisure stuff is just so boring for our dear Jane.

    Was that right? Could two unmarried ladies be alone with a single man? Jane couldn't remember for sure, but neither protested, so they sat in the sitting room, since that's what it was for. (10.52)

    Ah, Jane's already thinking like a 19th-century dame. These rules aren't instinctual; they have to be memorized.

  • Competition

    Miss Charming [...] secured both the single gentlemen at the whist table. Quite a coup. (6.8)

    When there are an even number of ladies and gentlemen, it would only be fair to divide them up evenly, right? Well, Miss Charming doesn't play fair.

    Jane had become the fourth woman in a three-gentleman household. (7.3)

    Speaking of fair, when Jane becomes the fourth wheel on the Pembrook Park tricycle, it seems like she faces more of a challenge in securing a man than she did back in New York.

    For [Miss Heartwright], Mr. Nobley put down his book and joined the card table. The sight of it made Jane declare she would retire early. (9.14)

    Jane's starting to lose some of her competitive edge, after the defeat in her previous game—and by game, we mean her failed fling with Martin.

    Jane thought, I'm in the game for real now, and this is what a Regency woman would do. Even elitist Emma made house calls. (10.24)

    Jane realizes that Pembook Park isn't, well, a walk in the park. She has to get down and dirty if she wants to network her way into a relationship. At this point, she might as well be wearing a WWJ(A)D bracelet: What Would Jane (Austen) Do?

    Perhaps the two ladies would fight over him. Pembrook Park was pining for a hearty ladies' mud wrestle. (11.7)

    Hm, that would definitely liven things up a bit, but we don't think Keri Russell would have agreed to be in the movie if there was a gratuitous mud wrestling scene. Regency women seem to be more apt to figurative mud slinging instead of mud wrestling.

    Jane was left neatly on the sidelines again. She didn't mind. Seriously she didn't. Okay, maybe just a little. (11.46)

    This sidelines comment makes it seem like Jane's talking about a football game. Oh, since Austenland is in England, we mean "football" as in "soccer," of course. And Jane's already kneed one character in the balls, so love and football make an apt comparison here.

    Clever girl, thought Jane, saluting her with two fingers. Touché, Miss Charming. (11.69)

    At this point, Jane is so deep into the game, that she feels a bit comfortable congratulating her opponents when they do a good job. Only to herself, of course. It wouldn't be ladylike to do a high five or a girl chest bump. Bing!

    One gentleman down, two to go. The game was afoot. (12.37)

    Jane sounds very Sherlock Holmes here, but this is no a murder mystery. There aren't any dead bodies; but the way these women fight over their men at Austenland, we wouldn't be surprised if one turned up.

    Then, like a bumbling fool, Mr. Nobley kept letting his horse trot forward, separating Jane and Captain East. (14.16)

    Jane seems oblivious to the fact that the men are competing too. Nobley's "bumbling" horsemanship is actually a shrewd way to cut in on Jane and a rival suitor.

    Was there a look that passed between the two men? Some heated past? Or would they (wahoo!) have a jealous tussle over Jane's attentions? (18.26)

    Sounds like Jane is getting Pride and Prejudice confused with Bridget Jones's Diary.

  • Dissatisfaction

    It's also the most perfect romance in all of literature and nothing in my life can ever measure up, so I spend my life limping in its shadow. (1.27)

    Like Molly, we have to tell it to Jane straight here: girl, you set yourself up for disappointment. Even if men still walked around in suits and cravats, you still wouldn't find your Mr. Darcy. (At least, that's what we'd say before we read the end of the book. Maybe it does pay to aim high.)

    Harold and I had a miserable marriage. (1.40)

    Great-Aunt Carolyn is able to identify with her grand-niece Jane's dissatisfaction and disappointment because she has suffered some of her own.

    [Jane] hadn't changed. She'd been standing knee-deep in the same romance mud for years and she didn't even care anymore. (2.46)

    Romance mud? Ick. That doesn't sound pleasant. The thing about quicksand, both literal and figurative, is that the more you struggle, the harder it is to get out. Maybe Jane should just relax and let things happen.

    It's not really normal to do that. [...] Kind of slaps expectation on a relationship before it's begun. (2.63)

    It's Jane's high expectations that lead to her dissatisfaction. Do you think Jane still has high expectations for her relationship with Henry at the end of the book?

    All this hoping and waiting is killing me. [...] It's time to embrace spinsterhood. (2.83)

    Jane's coping strategy when dealing with disappointment needs some work. Giving up won't cut it. Good thing she's all talk and no action. Or in this case, no inaction.

    The less historical vigor observed, the more difficult it was for Jane to pretend that this whole exercise was anything beyond wish fulfillment. (4.27)

    Even though she's barely been at Austenland a day, she's already disappointed with the lack of historical accuracy. When she reaps the rewards of Austenland's imperfections, though—like when she starts watching TV in Henry's secret-makeout-y cabin—she changes her tune.

    [Jane] never considered how, once inside [Austenland's] borders, she would feel like an outsider. (6.32)

    This kind of disappointment is a little more difficult for Jane to deal with than the electric lanterns. Being odd-woman-out in an environment that thrives on social interaction is a lot harder to ignore than historical inaccuracy. And how can an Austen-lover as dedicated as Jane feel like an outsider at Austenland? That'd be like saying you don't belong here at Shmoop, Shmoopers.

    She felt as though she belonged inside the aloneness. [...] "I've never felt at home with myself." (9.45)

    Jane seems to be realizing that her dissatisfaction with all her relationships stems from being uncomfortable with herself. In the words of a great philosopher: If you can't love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else?

    I was promised certain things about this place and I can tell you one thing—no one's made me feel enchanting. (10.15)

    Miss Charming is Miss Disappointed here. But a quick call to Mrs. Wattlesbrook, and she becomes Little Miss Ooh! She fell in love.

    Now he was going to grab her and kiss her and call her Jane, now she'd witness the pent-up passion that explores behind Regency doors! But... (17.61)

    But he doesn't. Jane is really over-estimating the amount of passion that occurs behind the scenes in these novels, thereby setting herself up for disappointment. This is Jane Austen, not one of those racy, fan-written sequels.

  • Foolishness and Folly

    Seriously, a thirty-something woman shouldn't be daydreaming about a fictional character in a two-hundred-year-old world to the point where it interfered with her very real and much more important life and relationships. Of course she shouldn't. (1.50)

    Yeah, Jane doesn't really buy this, even though she's thinking it. If she did buy it, the book would end at Chapter 1.

    How do you do, Miss Erstwhile, what-what? [...] Spit spot I hope. (4.29)

    Boy, Miss Charming couldn't put a sentence together using British slang to save her life. At least she's good comic relief.

    Don't you know that [barmy] means it was good? Right smashing? (6.23)

    One again, Miss Charming becomes a foolish Mrs. Malaprop. Barmy means "mentally irregular." Perhaps Miss Charming is a mite barmy herself.

    A house full of Regency dreamboats and [Jane] chose the root-beer-sipping gardener. (7.8)

    Jane seems to find it completely ridiculous that she fell for the sexy gardener who has seduced her. We're not all that surprised. American romantics like strong, working-class people (at least in books and movies), despite their fascination with the haughty gentlemen of the world.

    You stupid, stupid girl, she thought. You were fantasizing again. Stop it! (8.37)

    Jane often has to give herself a mental face-palm when she realizes how ridiculous she's being. This trip to Austenland was supposed to squelch her fantasy life, but it seems only to feed into it.

    Um, did I just say, "Ya"? (9.21)

    It's a funny moment when Jane almost goes ninja on Mr. Nobley. Maybe she thought she was in a Pride and Prejudice and Zombies resort for a hot second.

    [Jane] just needed to screw her head on straight so that she could properly enjoy being young and female and as beautiful as she wanted to be. (9.48)

    Jane thinks that her foolishness gets in the way of her pursuit of a man, but it seems to us that Mr. Nobley actually finds her silliness quite endearing.

    Jane was shocked to recognize in her old self more of the anxious marriage-obsessed Mrs. Bennet than the lively Elizabeth. (12.12)

    Mrs. Bennet is one of the least sensible characters in Austen's novel, and frankly, in this case, we have to agree with her.

    I hate him and he hates me. It's perfect! (15.54)

    This is the kind of logic that drives many modern-day novels inspired by Pride and Prejudice… including all of the Young Adult novels that feature a scowling male protagonist. By which we mean: all of them.

    Maybe I really don't want this, she thought. This is summer camp. This is a novel. This isn't home. I need something real. (18.38)

    Novels were considered the ultimate folly in Jane Austen's time. Ironic, given that we still love them and study them today.