Moments in "Becoming Jane" All Writers Can Understand
Before watching the film Becoming Jane, I didn't know much about Austen's life. Today, I'm still nowhere near an expert on the real author, but the film itself always inspires me to write. While not entirely autobiographical, it is a fan fiction version of her life and encounters with the real Tom Lefroy – a man with whom Jane may have had a short affair.
If you have not seen the film but are all too familiar with the need to write out of nowhere, before the idea escapes your mind, while others give you a bewildered look, you may enjoy seeing that experience performed comically on screen.
Have you seen "Becoming Jane?"
Waking up with ideas
Becoming Jane opens with her writing in the early hours of the day. She is so inspired that she plays the piano, loudly – waking everyone in the house.
Inspiration comes at the most inconvenient times because we're open to creative flow when our minds are elsewhere. When we're excited about ideas, we share them. A side-effect is exhausting others with our enthusiasm, but that is hardly reason to stop.
Sleep Replaced with Writing
The night before Tom speaks with his uncle, Lord Chief Judge Langlois of London (Ian Richardson), Jane cannot sleep. Wordsfor a novel fill her mind. She writes all night, using her fresh feelings of love for Tom to compose a fictionalized version of what is going on. First Impressions was the original title of Pride and Prejudice.
You know you're a writer when you would rather write than do anything else. We cannot sleep. Our minds travel. The next thing you know, you’re beginning a long written work, or perhaps several shorter pieces, and you’re wondering where the time has gone.
Writing as a Career
Almost everyone criticizes Jane for wanting to write instead of marry. One of her greatest critics is her mother, Mrs. Austen (Julie Walters). Mrs. Austen encourages what is expected of Jane, but gradually reveals that she is controlling her because of her own failure to be a successful rebel. She married for love, but finds herself disappointed by her husband's financial limitations: “Affection is desirable. Money is absolutely indispensable.”
Writers without fame are viewed as pathetic or detached from reality; however, we already know what a struggle it can be. What judgmental outsiders do not understand is that we refuse to see this as cause not to do as we’re driven. Had Jane married for money, her love of writing probably would have continued.
Having a different perspective
After meeting Tom's uncle, Jane’s wit comes without apology; unfortunately, the judge doesn't appreciate her humor. He thinks that she is making fun of him rather than an idea. If that doesn't put him off enough, he cannot believe that she is a writer. He assumes that she is another poor woman searching for a wealthy husband to support her, rather than a free-thinking woman with values for love over finance.
Any writer must face that some readers will never understand them, no matter how hard they try. How many of us receive negative comments by people who simply did not comprehend our work? If you're like me, you want to rewrite it as soon as you realize that someone doesn't get it. We have to learn to love ourselves for the talented writers we are, and accept that the problem may not be our writing, but their lack of knowledge.
No matter Jane’s passion or education, she feels unable to compete with Tom's level of education. He is equally as enthusiastic about writing, but criticizes her work. She isn't aware that he admires her work, and his words are meant to help rather than insult; therefore, believing that Tom thinks she is inferior, she’s offended. He encourages her to read works by authors she hasn't read yet in order to expand her knowledge: “Enough to know that your horizons must be...widened.”
Tom is comparable to the English teachers who tell us we're not good enough, no matter how much we try to do as they instruct. Sometimes, those teachers actually believe in us more than they express. The constant criticism may be nothing more than an attempt to increase our talent rather than to destroy us, even when it seems like that is exactly what they intend.
Idolizing other writers
Jane visits Mrs. Anne Radcliffe (Helen McCrory) who has both a writing career and a husband. Jane believes it must be a perfect life to make a successful career out of creativity and have a family. In reality, Mrs. Radcliffe is isolated because people look down on her profession. In addition, her husband’s reputation is threatened as a result.Furthermore, Radcliffe’s brilliant work that’s full of adventure is the complete opposite of her real life: “Everything my life is not.”
We all have our favorite author(s) who shows us new techniques. They make us jealous of their talents. Sometimes, we’re so jealous that we forget our own unique strengths beyond their limits. Nonetheless, when we see someone thinking of ideas we never considered, we question our capabilities.
Have we experienced life to the fullest, or did we miss something that would make us write to our potential? The answer is that it doesn’t matter. There is always time to perfect your craft and spread your message across the world in a way that is uniquely your own.
Which can you relate to the most?
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