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If Jane Austen Heroines Went to UF…

Jane Austen’s novels were written more than 200 years ago, yet they explore themes and characters that are still present in everyday life today. The plots are universal in time, and there have been numerous adaptations of her works — from Pride and Prejudice and Zombies to Clueless to The Lizzie Bennet Diaries — that explore the “what ifs” and take the stories and give them a twist. In that vein, what would happen if the heroines from Jane Austen novels went to UF?

Elinor Dashwood from Sense and Sensibility: Elinor knows that going to UF was a practical choice. Because of her Bright Futures scholarship and her excellent grades in high school that helped her snag some other good scholarships, it is affordable for her single mother to send not only her, but also her little sister, Marianne, to school. Elinor worries a lot about Marianne, but she doesn’t let it distract her from her studies. She is an economics major. Her older half brother also goes to UF, but Elinor rarely sees him because he’s always with his nasty girlfriend, Fanny. The good thing is that Fanny has a charming brother named Edward who has been in a few of Elinor’s classes. She’s really into him, but both of them are a bit reserved about showing their feelings. Elinor works in the Broward tutoring center, where she tutors students in economics and statistics.

Marianne Dashwood from Sense and Sensibility: Marianne is a music performance major, and you can often find her in the practice rooms on campus playing a piano. She followed in her older sister’s footsteps in coming to UF, but once here, she decided to follow her own path. She enjoys going to poetry readings and sipping lattes at Maude’s in downtown. Marianne works at Library West, but she often gets distracted by the books. She has befriended an older graduate student, Brandon, who also works in the library. Though Brandon very much has feelings for her, Marianne can’t help but be charmed by motorcycle-riding bad boy, Will. There have been rumors about his reputation for ghosting his past hookups, but Marianne will fall hard for anyone who reads poetry and has a leather jacket. Hopefully her older sister can talk her out of heartbreak.

Jane Bennett from Pride and Prejudice: Jane Bennett’s mother is expecting her to snag up a rich doctor for a husband in the next few years, but Jane is more focused on getting into a good medical school herself. She’s a bit shy, but being around her younger sister usually brings her out of her shell. Jane is a member of AMSA. She shares an apartment with her sister, Lizzie, and recently two very good-looking guys have moved in below them. At the boys’ first party of the year, Jane hit it off with one of them, George Bingley, and they’ve been talking ever since. She’s never been one to be overly flirty, so some people have doubts about her feelings, but she wants to be true to herself. She enjoys eating pizza at Satchel’s, and her favorite place in Gainesville is the public library.

Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice: The last thing Elizabeth Bennett wants to deal with is her mother’s insistence that she find herself a man. She is, after all, a women’s studies major, and a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle. She was happy when her sister started talking to George, but she can’t stand George’s roommate, Darcy. Sure, he’s incredibly attractive and smart and has really good taste in music and a great sense of style — but that doesn’t make up for the fact that he’s incredibly rude. While hanging out at George and Darcy’s apartment, Elizabeth and Darcy have gotten into a few spirited debates. She doesn’t even realize that he is totally smitten with her. Elizabeth likes to study in Ustler Hall because it’s usually empty, and she is a frequent customer of Wild Iris Books.

Harriet Smith from Emma: Kind-hearted Harriet Smith grew up in foster homes and decided to major in nursing when she came to UF. She joined a sorority and instantly clicked with her big, Emma Woodhouse. Harriet’s a little clueless when it comes to romance and originally was into this computer engineering major named Robert, but Emma quickly pointed out that Robert was way too geeky for her. Right now, she’s been talking to this guy named Elton that Emma wants to set her up with. Harriet isn’t super sure if she even likes Elton, but if Emma says it’s the right choice… Emma is super popular and ambitious, so Harriet knows she should probably listen to her if she wants to be half as cool. She enjoys going to Gator Nights and thinks the Hyppo is the coolest place ever.

Emma Woodhouse from Emma: Smart, ambitious, popular and totally gorgeous, Emma Woodhouse knows she wants to be editor-in-chief of a major fashion magazine by the age of 30 (but she won’t tell you which one in case you’re going to sabotage her). A journalism major who enjoys the finer things in life, Emma quickly saw potential in her little, Harriet, and took her under her wing. She wants the best for Harriet and is trying to set her up with Elton, the president of their paired fraternity. Little does she know, Elton is more interested in Emma than Harriet. Emma writes an opinion column for the Independent Florida Alligator newspaper. When she’s not making detailed life plans in her Lilly Pulitzer planner or going on a shopping trip with Harriet, Emma is usually with her big’s boyfriend’s brother, Greg Knightley. He can aggravate her sometimes because he’s super critical of her plans, but he keeps her grounded in reality, so she keeps him around. He’s also kind of cute, but it would be totally weird if they dated… right?

Always funny, heartwarming and relevant, Jane Austen’s novels have stood the test of time. If any of these characters are unfamiliar to you and have piqued your interest, pick up the book today to find out more!

Photo Credit: essayshark.com

Petrana Radulovic is a senior studying English and Computer Science. She hopes to be a writer someday and live in the Pacific Northwest, where she will undoubtedly divide her time between sipping coffee at a local café and sipping coffee in her living room, working on her latest story. She enjoys singing when she thinks she’s the only person at home, obsessively watching America’s Next Top Model, and wearing all black no matter what the weather. In her future, she sees many cats and many books and many mugs. She is currently the Senior Editor for HerCampus UFL, but writes the occasional article because she can't help herself. This is her sixth semester with HerCampus.
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