Jane Austen and Country Music

I once watched a youtube series, Pride and Prejudice remade as a “vlog”, with an actress playing “Lizzie” and retelling the story via first person narration. It was well done and diverting, up until the ending. Darcy and Lizzie didn’t get married, they just started a “relationship”, whatever that is.

It fell flat. There were no sequels, although they were promised. What is Jane Austen without a marriage? This brings to mind country music, with its talk of dirt roads, double-wides, agriculture, alcohol, and heartbreak. Why is it popular? Very few country music fans have probably ever driven on a dirt road. Are they play-acting? Very few Austen fans have ever lived in a society where their prosperity and personal well-being depends solely on a good marriage.

Urbanites living in material prosperity and working email jobs long for something. Is it simpler times? I don’t think so. What they long for is more restricted times. “If we make it through December”, “Good Lord Lori”, Elizabeth Bennet’s need to get married to someone, anyone, give structure to life. It gives a direction that is lacking in our rootless life.

I myself am rereading Tolkien again. I don’t want to fight orcs or journey through the Emyn Muil, but at least then, one knew where one stood! Could the appeal of fantasy literature be similar? The limits, whether cultural or from scarcity, make a life have structure. It makes stories possible. There can’t be heroes’ journeys if there isn’t any particular reason to go on a journey.

One thought on “Jane Austen and Country Music”

  1. I recently heard a monk say that without shame you can’t have honor. I know what drew me to the Lord of the Rings was the honor and duty depicted within. I was and am a suburbanite, but Tolkien stirs a flame in my breast. I imagine there might be something similar in Jane Austen in regards to marriage.

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