Study Guide

Austenland Identity

By Shannon Hale

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?