Study Guide

Austenland Foolishness and Folly

By Shannon Hale

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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.

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