POST #17

Dear Jane,

I know it sounds corny but I believe I didn’t find your work, your work found me. My passion for you and your stories is in fact quite recent yet I feel like I’ve known you my whole life. My interest towards you as a person and towards your novels was sparked about two years ago at age 16 while on vacation in Bath for a few days with my family. Whilst there, my mom wanted to visit the local Jane Austen Museum. As I toured this beautiful museum I was filled with intrigue. All the employees seemed so passionate regarding both you and your work (and Colin Firth J) that I couldn’t help but wonder why. There was only one way to find out. From the gift shop at the Jane Austen Museum in Bath I purchased my first one of your novels – Pride and Prejudice of course – and that’s where it all began.

I had never enjoyed reading as much as I did when I read Pride and Prejudice for the first time. This novel truly has it all: interesting layered characters as well as complex storylines and interrelationships all expressed in the most entertaining and beautiful language imaginable. My favorite part though, is your intelligent use of irony. In fact, I wrote a 4000 word essay on this topic during my last year of high school. I’ll end my exalting here as I imagine you’re the kind of person who doesn’t much care for flattery J.

Within a year from discovering your work I had devoured all six of your novels and not one of them disappointed. They all had characters that I could relate to and learn important lessons from. I particularly see myself reflected in Mr. Darcy, Elinor Dashwood and Fanny Price. From these valuable characters I learned, among other things, that it’s good for me to step out of my introverted comfort zone every once in a while, that it’s okay for me to express my feelings more openly sometimes and that it isn’t a sign of weakness but rather of strength to stand by my beliefs even when it seems everyone else thinks differently. In Elizabeth Bennet, Emma Woodhouse and Henry Tilney on the other hand, I see characteristics that I aspire to achieve: primarily, a sort of unshaken self-confidence in spite of making mistakes. All these characters are unquestionably flawed but they don’t let that hinder their self-esteem and zest for life.

I suppose, long story short, what I’m trying to say is thank you. Thank you for being you. Thank you for coming up with these incredible timeless stories. Thank you, above all, for writing them down so that countless generations of people, myself included, can enjoy them, learn from them and cherish them as a part of their identity.

 

With love,

Henna Oinas-Kukkonen

Age 18

Finland

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