Some New Trend


List Wednesdays :: Jenn Helps Us Stay Single by Kevin Wilder

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The camp counselors here at Camp Some New Trend have been psyched all week. We haven’t even touched our cornbread in the Mess Hall or participated in daily potato sack relays just waiting in anticipation.

Jenn Edgar is a local hottie and adventurous reader. She agreed to come up with this week’s list, and we’re in love with the theme she chose (no pun intended). Being single seems more dignified when you recognize its place within classic literature. Maybe this list will help us avoid some of the same mistakes. Thanks, Jenn!

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How Not to Be a Wife (or Girlfriend) 

I don’t have any idea how to be a wife, but literature is chock-full of women who set superb examples of how not to go about being one. Here’s some of the wisdom I’ve gleaned from them—not too sure where that leaves me: 

Isabel Archer, The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James: Money can pretty much buy everything, including your imprisonment in an abusive marriage. So, even if you think you’re especially clever to be using your huge inheritance so wisely, don’t turn down too many proposals, because you’re likely to find you’ve passed up the best ones.

Edna Pontellier, The Awakening by Kate Chopin: I think maybe it’s a good idea not to have kids until you’re sure you’re ready—that is, until you’ve gotten to know yourself a bit. Maybe you’ll find you’re less of a mother type and more of an unending-inner-turmoil type.

Helen of Troy: Try not to start a war. This is especially good advice to remember if your dad is somehow important. And, for gods’ sake, don’t be too beautiful.

Lady Constance Chatterley, Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D. H. Lawrence: Lady Chatterley learned a bit too late that a woman, even an aristocratic one, requires both intellect and sexuality in a relationship for it to thrive. The reader does learn by positive (and extremely sensual) example from her, in a way, although it is in her adulterous relationship that she finds the balance between mind and sex. What advice do we take from her marriage, then? I guess just to brace yourself for a rough life if your husband is rendered impotent.

Anna Karenina, Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy: It’s difficult to know where to begin taking advice from Anna.  A few jewels are these: don’t abandon your husband and your kid, don’t believe that the passion of your affair won’t eventually die out, and stay away from the train station.

Florence Dowell and Leonora Ashburnham, The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford: There are (at least) two wives to learn from in this one. One fakes illness in order to maintain an affair (for nine years!); the other tries to control all aspects of her marriage. It doesn’t work out for either of them, so I’m going to go as far as to say that lying and controlling are both bad for marriage.

Emma Bovary, Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert: Don’t be infinitely selfish and hypocritical. Don’t read novels. 

My friend Meaghan and I sat around thinking of the lives of all these conflicted women. We thought of plenty others, so if you want to find more advice about how not to behave, just read about Lily Bart, Catherine Earnshaw, Daisy Miller, or Daisy Buchannan.

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8 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Love it!

Comment by Leah

This whole post made me laugh. You guys are all awesome. I love that you used Helen of Troy after all, Jenn. Good work filling out the list ;)

Comment by Meaghan

Holy crap, best list yet.

Comment by Elisa M

Daisy Miller, the girl and the novel, were both a pain in my ass. So, just to verify on thissun, you are quite correct. I’d like to vote on D.M. as the queen cautionary tale for eligible bachelorettes.

Comment by Kevin Wilder

I’m so grateful all those how to NOT books are available!

Comment by moreundignified

yeah, it definitely hasn’t always been the case, eh?

Comment by jenn

These are some of the best reviews yet. Very impressive! Hope to see her reviews again.

Comment by Jon Riordan

I am impressed by Jen’s reviews. The jist of it all: Find out who you are and do not fall into the stereotypes.

Comment by JoJo




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