Since starting graduate school, I’ve started to view the world around me in a different light. The world I am referring to is the social scene, a world I had not been a part of for years. One thing I’m finding about graduate school, however, is that graduate school propels you into the social scene, no matter how much of a homebody you might claim to be.
Suddenly, everyone wants to know you and they want you to know them and hang out with them so that they can decide if they want to actually get to know you more or include you in their social circle. Now, as someone who has to stifle the insecure part of myself that wants to scream, “Oh, you just messed up!” or “Why did you just say that? How do you think they took what you said?” this social scene thing is something I have to make the conscious effort to work at. And who better than to help me navigate the social scene than Jane Austen?
I love Jane Austen. She is without a doubt one of my favorite authors. Normally, I don’t read more than a couple of works by a single author, but I have read almost all of Jane Austen’s works. She is an author I draw in to conceptualize the world around me. Which right now is the social scene of graduate school.
It’s very fitting that it’s Jane Austen’s world that I use as my reference guide to navigate the social scene. Jane Austen’s works are filled with commentary on society and the different characters you encounter and your relationship to those characters. So this blog post is the first of my observations on some of the different characters from Jane Austen works I have encountered thus far.
Isabella Thorpe from Northanger Abbey. To me, Isabella represents the disingenuous friend. At first coming off as a very dear friend and one who you share a bond with, their words/gestures/expressions can come off as exaggerated, making you question if what they are saying matches their motives. Soon, your suspicion proves positive as ulterior motives are revealed and you come to understand their kindness is part of a mask they wear to help them get what they want.
Individuals who fit the Isabella Thorpe personality tend to be clingy towards new people they meet in order to try to hasten the connection between themselves and you. They often do not have many close friends and so if you show interest in forming a friendship with them take caution: Isabella Thorpe types can be, like I said, clingy in a way that makes them strive to ensure your continued friendship with them through use of manipulative tactics such as flattery and/or passive aggressiveness. Upon establishing a friendship and getting to know you more, they may evaluate how you can help them in their own ambitions without consideration of harm they may cause you.