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Thanks! -- Arnie Perlstein, Portland, OR

Monday, May 5, 2014

A Special Country Village Literary Quiz

Okay, I am thinking of a very famous novel by a very famous female author as to which ALL FIFTEEN of the following parameters apply:

ONE: The main action of the novel is set in a country village, and the action primarily involves characters belonging to four or five families who reside in that village;

TWO: In that village, during the first half of the novel, a clergyman emphatically expresses his opinion as to the pros and cons of a clergyman being married, and there is also discussion in the novel about how well the bride and groom should know each other before marrying;

THREE: After the clergyman expresses his opinion, we then learn that he became engaged to be married based on a very short acquaintance with his bride;

FOUR: Such clergyman’s bride appears to rational observers to be ill-matched to him, and yet, when we readers observe them interacting, they give the appearance of getting along;

FIVE: Near the end of the novel, we learn that the clergyman’s bride is pregnant;

SIX: There is an ogre-ish older person who attempts to control the lives of younger relatives in a very domineering manner;

SEVEN: An attractive, charming man shows up in the village and turns out to be a serial seducer of women;

EIGHT: There is a teenaged girl whose name begins with L who yearns to leave the village, and feels trapped;

NINE: A young woman is described as having fine or high “animal spirits”;

TEN: A village busybody complains bitterly about the effect of a local crisis on her nerves;

ELEVEN:  There is a testy exchange between a young, snobbish, poetically-inclined man who does not live in the village, and who has spent a great deal of time in London, on the one hand, and an older lifelong resident of that country village, on the other;

TWELVE: There is a woman present during the exchange who claims to be a studier of character;

THIRTEEN:  During the exchange, the older village resident becomes irritated at the young man’s claim that life in a country village is, in so many words, unvarying and stultifying, and so lashes out at him, and then receives convincing support from another person present, carrying the day for the claim that life in the country is a fertile hunting ground for a studier of character;

FOURTEEN:  There is someone named Jane who is closely related to one of the two participants in that heated exchange.

FIFTEEN: A false rumor is spread to someone whose reaction inadvertently triggers the opposite effect intended by that reaction, bringing the action of the novel to a decisive and satisfying climax.

Given that I am presenting this quiz to Janeites, if you cannot guess that there is more to this quiz than at first meets the eye, then I shall think you a great simpleton! I.e., there’s the obvious  answer to the above quiz, and then…..there’s a NON-obvious answer which I suggest to you is worth the time to try to figure it out.

If nobody gives the correct non-obvious answer by 9 PM EST on Monday May 5, I will give it then.

@JaneAustenCode on Twitter

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