Posted by Stephanie S on September 15, 1998 at 09:38:11:
In response to My immediate thoughts, written by BarbaraB on September 12, 1998 at 16:58:55
] (snip) From what I know of JA, (and it's not a lot so correct me if I'm wrong.) she lived in a small, close circle of friends and family similar to those in her books. No doubt the interweavings of her life amongst these people was full of coincidences since life is full of them and she incorporated the kinds of things she observed into her stories.
] Coincidences range from the highly improbable (almost divine to human sensibilities) to the isn't-it-a-small-world-after-all kind. If they are the latter, I think we can relate to them if we are immersed in a story that has some coincidences but is well written with fully fleshed-out, engaging characters, whether they be villains or heroines while at the same time speaking to us of the human condition and/or entertaining us.
I tend to agree that these "coincidences" mainly occur because of the smaller, closer society that JA (and her characters, for that matter) lived in almost 200 years ago. I think their society was similar to the society that still exists in some smaller (most rural or suburban) communities today - and I happen to live in one of them! Everyone knows who everybody else is and most people are related somehow (even if only though marriage). I can't seem to go to anywhere in and around the area where I live without running into an acquaintance or two - and this area includes parts of Houston, Texas! I never thought twice about the coincidences in S&S or any other Austen novel - I guess because I am used to them in my own life. . .
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