As you may recall, I am a very slow reader, but I do love listening to books on tape or watching movies based on classics. Over the last year, my wife and I have been on a kick to watch several BBC productions based on classic novels, including those by Jane Austen, Elizabeth Gaskell, Charlotte Bronte, Charles Dickens, etc. I was tweeting with a follower about North and South, with Richard Armitage and Daniela Denby-Ashe.
So why would a man, raised in this macho digital world, love stories of the past? Men of valor and character, that’s why. Ms. Austen wrote about men looking past a woman’s social or wealth status and into their inner being for the sake of love. Over the last three decades I have seen a progression that men only see women as an object. How these men behave influence the actions of our daughters. In Jane Austen’s world, she wrote of a young woman’s intellect as the main attraction by the main male character or of their inner goodness. Persuasion, which was Jane Austen’s last novel, may be my favorite of her works.
I also like the stories of the past because of all that people can accomplish without 24/7 entertainment. Imagine today if you could speak several languages, play a piano or several instruments, paint or draw, dance to numerous waltzes, etc. People learned all of this and social skills to fill the hours. Not today – fire up your computer, TV, game console or smart phone. There is definitely something to be said for simplicity. Luckily I am old enough to know where imagination and discovery can take a person.
So, if you are a male author, look to the past as you define your male and female leading characters. We all love stories of courage and valor.
BBC’s North and South