Illustration Friday: Forward

Illustration Friday: Forward

Lydia Bennett, one of the least reticent of Austen’s characters, is rapidly becoming my favourite to draw. She’s the most appallingly selfish girl, but utterly consistent in her thoughtlessness. I enjoy the variant readings of her character (does she deliberately set out to ruin her sister’s reputations in childish revenge?) and she frustrates me whenever I read Pride and Prejudice (which as it is one of my father’s favourite books I do frequently), but each time I draw her I like her more than before.

So this is a very… pink collection of Lydia sketches. I see Emma and Marianne as being much pinker girls, generally, but these sketches turned out to be a very bubblegum reading of her character, so it seemed apt.

You can see a larger version here on Flickr.

12 thoughts on “Illustration Friday: Forward

  1. I am reading ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’ at the moment … the top righthand illustration makes me think of her learning to use her sword. :) I dislike the last few chapters of the book where she is ‘lording’ it over her older sisters that she outranks them as a married woman. I’ve always wanted to put her over my knee and giver her a good spanking.

    However, as I have grown older, I would like to give Mr Bennett a spanking as well. Mrs Bennett is a poor mother, but she has the excuse of her lack of intelligence and social training. Mr Bennett is too lazy to train his wife or his three youngest children. Poor Lydia might have been a very different girl if her father had put some effort into her upbringing, and into the education of his wife.

    • I always think of Julia Sawalha dancing around waving Denny’s sword :)

      And the Bennetts’ family is very messed up. Even if the idea of Mr Bennett educating his wife is unsettling, there’s no admiring the way he does relate to her either, even if he does it very quotably. Each time I read the book, I’m struck more by how scathing Austen is about his behaviour – not Lydia’s or Mrs Bennett’s. Justifiably so, but it makes her the more remarkable a writer that she can make the audience both sympathetic to and appalled by him.

    • I agree with both of you. (And I’ll buy into a husband training his wife and daughters because of the era.) It’s like he got disgusted with the whole thing and just walked away, looking at his family from a distance with amusement instead of putting any of his own effort into it to make them less risible. I go back and forth between blaming him for this; my own father just got a divorce, but this wasn’t an option then, and can you imagine living with Mrs. Bennet? I think he regrets his inaction toward the end, but then things work out perfectly thanks to the EFFORT of Mr. Darcy, and he escapes without having to really learn his lesson.

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