The Accomplished Woman

Any self respecting Austen lover should know the quote.

Mr Darcy, imaginary boyfriend to so many, comprehends a great deal in his idea of The Accomplished Woman.

And even though he is a work of fiction and if alive would be approximately 226 years old, his words still cause our ears to prick up.

He agrees with Caroline Bingley’s explanation of an accomplished woman:

“No one can be really esteemed accomplished who does not greatly surpass what is usually met with. A woman must have a thorough knowledge of music, singing, drawing, dancing, and the modern languages, to deserve the word; and besides all this, she must possess a certain something in her air and manner of walking, the tone of her voice, her address and expressions, or the word will be but half deserved.”

And adds his own final quality.

“All this she must possess, and to all this she must yet add something more substantial, in the improvement of her mind by extensive reading.”

Now I’m no romantic and do not harbour undying love for a fictional character but these words strike a chord.

I tested myself by these standards:

“a thorough knowledge of music,”

I guess I’m doing well. My iPhone spans from hip hop to country.

“singing,”

I can rap Lose Yourself. Does that count?

“drawing,”

I once perfected a cartoon of a teacher. I probably shouldn’t admit that online.

“dancing,”

Macarena. The dance from the Backstreet’s Back video clip. Check.

“the modern languages,”

Year six Italian. Year eight Japanese. I scored 100% in a French quiz in year seven and I ordered a coke from Maccas in Paris.

“she must possess a certain something in her air and manner of walking, the tone of her voice, her address and expressions,”

No comment.

“the improvement of her mind by extensive reading.”

I should have a BA in Wikipedia.

It is clear that Elizabeth Bennet has the right reaction:

I never saw such a woman. I never saw such capacity, and taste, and application, and elegance, as you described united.”

What makes it worse is now there are so many other areas in which to be accomplished. We now must be able to fend for ourselves, run our own households, cars and internet. Work outside the home, keep a clean house, entertain, cook, create – the list is endless.

What is The Modern Accomplished Woman? I have no idea, but I am determined to find out.


One Response to “The Accomplished Woman”

  1. Angie March 19, 2012 at 7:27 am #

    “I can rap Lose Yourself. Does that count?”

    If i lived near you, i would probably stalk you until we became best friends…

    And yes. It does count.

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