Jane Austen’s Obama
An interesting op-ed on New York Times.com today has Maureen Dowd comparing the 2008 presdiential race to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice casting Obama as Darcy, McCain as Wickham, and the American people as Elizabeth Bennet. Check it out:
The odd thing is that Obama bears a distinct resemblance to the most cherished hero in chick-lit history. The senator is a modern incarnation of the clever, haughty, reserved and fastidious Mr. Darcy.
Like the leading man of Jane Austen and Bridget Jones, Obama can, as Austen wrote, draw “the attention of the room by his fine, tall person, handsome features, noble mien. …he was looked at with great admiration for about half the evening, till his manners gave a disgust which turned the tide of his popularity; for he was discovered to be proud, to be above his company, and above being pleased.”
The master of Pemberley “had yet to learn to be laught at,” and this sometimes caused “a deeper shade of hauteur” to “overspread his features.”
The New Hampshire debate incident in which Obama condescendingly said, “You’re likable enough, Hillary,” was reminiscent of that early scene in “Pride and Prejudice” when Darcy coldly refuses to dance with Elizabeth Bennet, noting, “She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me.”
Indeed, when Obama left a prayer to the Lord at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, a note that was snatched out and published, part of his plea was to “help me guard against pride.”
If Obama is Mr. Darcy, with “his pride, his abominable pride,” then America is Elizabeth Bennet, spirited, playful, democratic, financially strained, and caught up in certain prejudices. (McCain must be cast as Wickham, the rival for Elizabeth’s affections, the engaging military scamp who casts false aspersions on Darcy’s character.)
My wife Katie, resident Austen aficionado, perhaps showing her own political bias, thinks Obama is more a Willoughby from Sense and Sensability. Thoughts?