Why Men Should Read Jane Austen #2

In Austen’s work, the men who get the girl are usually rich or at least under the umbrella of great wealth in one way or another. But the good guys are not greedy or venal. They are not the moneychangers in the temple, not Dylan’s “masters of the bluff and masters of the proposition.” They are not the “Masters of the Universe” portrayed in Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities. In most cases, they are farmers, who have to live with the vagaries of weather and must care for not only the land but all of those people in their charge who tend to it and make it produce enough to support the estate.

While piled up wealth may lead to arrogance – Catherine Debourgh – the active and necessary management of capital may well lead to humility. Every year, the value of the estate is at the mercy of the elements and the willingness of the help to do their jobs well. So, in one sense, many of the heroes of Austen’s work are already married when the story begins. They are married to an estate and have learned carry well all of the virtues of constancy and care that look very attractive to the girl who wants a family and has her pick of all the boys in town.

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