Jane Austen and “Beauty and the Beast”
I want to thank Candy for allowing me to come and share with you today in celebration of my new book, Chance and Circumstance. Candy and I met seven years ago when she came to a book signing I did in Phoenix. She drove all the way
up from Tucson! There were several who came that day that I still consider good friends. Some from that group met again in Phoenix for lunch a few years later and spent three hours in a restaurant called Darcy McGees. Boy, it was fun.
For those of you who know Candy, you know she loves Disneyland, so I thought there couldn’t be anything better to talk about on her blog than something Disney. Having a three-year-old granddaughter, we watch a lot of Disney films and listen to the music over and over. She always has her favorite, and right now it is Beauty and the Beast.
In honor of Candy and my granddaughter, I thought I would share with you today my observations comparing “Beauty and the Beast” to Jane Austen’s novels. There have been several blog posts comparing B&B to “Pride and Prejudice,” and while I will touch on a few of those comparisons, I want to encompass her other novels.
So let’s go!
1) Northanger Abbey –NA wins with the most similarities. The dark, sinister castle inhabited by a hideous beast and a young lady who gets thrown into a dungeon ties in perfectly to the Gothic novel aspect of Northanger Abbey. There is also the ‘west wing’ of the castle where Belle is warned not to go, but does. In NA, Catherine does the same thing when warned not to go into Henry Tilney’s late mother’s room. In B&B, Belle views her little town – a quiet village – as a place where nothing happens, and longs to go where there is adventure, much like Miss Morland, who says, “If adventures will not befall a young lady in her own village, she must seek them abroad.” We also see Belle’s interest in reading, and while Catherine read mainly Gothic novels, we see Belle also reading romance novels, as she sings about them (and her little village) in the song, “Belle.” You can read the lyrics and listen to it here: https://genius.com/Emma-watson-belle-lyrics.
2) Persuasion – The Beast realizes, as Belle leaves his castle, that ‘she’ will never leave him; she has become a part of him that will always be with him. He sings about this in the wonderful song, Evermore, sung by Dan Stevens. This is true also of Capt. Wentworth. Eight years has passed since he last saw Anne, yet he still loves her. If you have not heard the song, Evermore, you simply must listen to it! Here is a link to the song and the great lyrics: https://genius.com/Dan-stevens-evermore-lyrics. What woman would not want a man to love her so much he never forgets her to the point he feels she will always be with him? Whenever my granddaughter hears that song, she says it makes her sad because the Beast is sad when he sings it. It warms my heart that she understands this at the age of three!
3) Mansfield Park –I felt that B&B’s Gaston, the conceited, but handsome young man who is determined to get Belle to marry him, is very much like Henry Crawford. He knows all the women fall for him, but he is determined to have the one who isn’t at all interested. Unlike MP, however, Belle is beautiful, while Fanny Price is not considered to be so.
4) Emma – Ah, yes! Emma, the matchmaker. I compare her to all the servants in the castle who became animated objects due to the curse – Mrs. Potts, the teapot, Lumière, the candlestick, and Cogsworth, the clock, etc. They know there is someone who can break the spell, and begin doing whatever they can to bring Belle and the Beast together in their matchmaking schemes. Also, both Belle and Emma have lost their mothers and are wholeheartedly devoted to their fathers.
5) Sense and Sensibility – OK, I struck out, here. Perhaps one of the readers here can find a similarity.
6) Finally, Pride and Prejudice – I think Darcy can also be compared to the Beast, as he is very disagreeable in the beginning. But he is also like him in the same way Wentworth is. While we don’t see Darcy pining for Elizabeth as long as Wentworth pined for Anne, we see him on two different occasions, months apart, feeling the same admiration for her as he did earlier. And one of those times was after she had angrily refused his offer of marriage! Then there is Elizabeth. She can be compared to Belle in that they are both avid readers and walkers, and they eventually come to see and bring out the best in Darcy and the beast.
Now, what about my new book, “Chance and Circumstance?” It is a Pride and Prejudice variation, and I have changed things up a bit. Here is the book description:
Chance brings about an early encounter between Charles Bingley and Elizabeth Bennet soon after his move into Netherfield. He soon begins to favour this pretty and lively young lady. Circumstances have kept Jane Bennet and Mr. Darcy from the neighbourhood, thereby changing the events that Jane Austen penned in "Pride and Prejudice."
When Mr. Darcy finally arrives, will he be able to keep from interfering when he meets this young lady his friend so greatly admires? When Jane returns from touring the Lake District with her aunt and uncle, will the young gentleman who returns with her prove to be better suited for her than Mr. Bingley ever was?
In this "Pride and Prejudice" variation, chance and circumstance greatly affect the way several of Jane Austen's characters arrive at their happily ever after, but not necessarily in the way you think.
When Bingley meets Elizabeth, they are both attracted to each other’s lively personality. When Darcy comes onto the scene, his friend is well on his way to being in love with her and has begun to single her out. Jane is up in the Lake District with the Gardiners, and with her away from home, Bingley has eyes only for Elizabeth. It will be a long, convoluted journey for Darcy and Elizabeth to get together, much like it is for Belle and the Beast, but I hope you will enjoy the ride!
And one more thing: In the song, Belle, which I mentioned above, Belle sings about her favorite part of the novel when the heroine meets her Prince Charming but doesn’t realize it’s him until Chapter 3. Well, in Chance and Circumstance, it takes quite a bit longer for Elizabeth to realize who her Prince Charming is. In fact, when I sing that song, I change the words to Chapter twenty-three!
If you would like to read about half of the story, I posted 14 chapters online. You can read them here: http://austenvariations.com/april-showers-elizabeths-walk/
What other similarities have you seen in Beauty and the Beast and Jane Austen’s novels? I would love to hear some on Sense and Sensibility!
Thanks for coming by, and I hope you will enjoy the book. Good luck to you all in the giveaway!
Thanks again, Candy!
It's my pleasure, Kara! Oh, but you're killing me here with Bingley and Elizabeth! And what, Jane meets someone else?! Haha! I guess I'm going to have to read the book to see how everything turns out! :)
Chance and Circumstance by Kara Louise
Release Date: October 30th, 2017
Publisher: Heartworks Publications
A Pride and Prejudice Variation.
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So, do you know of any other Beauty and the Beast and Jane Austen comparisons?