Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Some Jane Austen advice for the upcoming Kardashian divorce

The big celebrity gossip buzz this week is all about Kim Kardashian's impending divorce from her brand new husband Khris Humphries.

After an elaborate ceremony of Vegas proportions and a mere 72 days of somewhat wedded bliss,the dissolution of their union was announced online,much to everyone's surprise(including the groom,apparently)and opinions on the subject are flying about fast and furious.

While I could care less about the Kardashians and their over hyped life styles,I do have a word or two of consolation for the unfortunate soon-to-be ex husband and even the erstwhile bride herself. There is one thing that's much worse than breaking off a hasty marriage and that is being stuck for years in a very bad one.

One need only look to the works of Jane Austen to see the results of a long time relationship that binds two people together in disharmony. The first example that comes to mind for most is Charlotte Lucas and Mr. Collins from Pride and Prejudice.

Granted,Charlotte never intended to marry for love but dealing with the sneering suck-ups antics of her obnoxious mate for life is a punishment so great that even her good friend Lizzy couldn't bear being relieved of such a burden at Charlotte's expense. While their friendship managed to survive,the best that Elizabeth could do to ease the marital discomfort of her dear friend was to offer some amused emotional support:

Gentlemen in Jane Austen novels were not exempt from living with their poorly thought out romantic decisions,as Sense and Sensibility's Mr and Mrs. Palmer awkwardly demonstrate.

Mr. Palmer is hardly the warm hearted sort of fellow but his wife's relentless cheerfulness and chatter could be reasonably seen as so annoying that even Mrs. Santa Claus would want to smack her and scream "Shut up already!"

His best defense against his spouse's ever present giddy presence is to be offensive whenever the opportunity arises,which only makes things more hilariously worse for him:

Of course,it's not just the married couple who suffers from a misalliance. Having to receive one obnoxious person into your social circle is bad enough but getting another who makes the first one look like a joy to be around in comparison is truly double trouble.

While Emma Woodhouse was bound to feel uncomfortable upon meeting the wife of the man she tried to set up with her friend Harriet who thought he was actually courting her, the woman that he ultimately chose to be Mrs. Elton wasn't the type that Emma would like under any circumstances.

Pushy,pretentious and presumptuous are the perfect three Ps that suitably describe this far from charming lady and even Mr. Knightley at one point admits that Emma chose a better bride for Mr. Elton than that gentleman did for himself:

If you want to talk about long term pain,consider how being married to a cranky person can be a drag on the entire family. While Persuasion's Anne Elliot was always a welcome visitor at the home of her in-laws,her sister Mary Musgrove made them often wish that they could exchange one sister for the other.

Mary is rather like that poem about the girl with the curl on her forehead;when she's feeling good(a rare occurrence),her temper is very good. When she's feeling bad or ignored,being in her company is beyond awful. It is difficult to decide which attitude is more objective;Mary's insistence on being the center of attention during the most inopportune moments or her unreasonable rudeness towards her husband's relations:

Whether or not the Kardashians will find a happy ending,it's a comfort to know that despite the changing notions of society,some concepts from the past are still relevant to the world we're living in today.

Also,consider the advantages of being able to get out of a bad marriage so easily. The men and women of Jane Austen's time were not so lucky and even if they succeeded in getting a divorce,the stigma of such an event made life afterward that much harder to bear,in both public and private.

That doesn't mean,however,that you should rush into marriage for one reason or another. Some might say that happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance but your odds are greater when love and prudence go hand in hand,as any Austen girl can tell you:

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