Six Degrees of Separation is a monthly meme hosted by Kate @ Books Are My Favorite and Best.
This month’s chain begins with Atonement by Ian McEwan, a tale of a terrible injustice, and the main character’s nearly hopeless attempt to atone. The ending of this novel – well, there are two endings. The reader – this reader – was confused, then troubled, then satisfied, though imperfectly so.
Another novel with alternate, confusing, troubling, and imperfectly satisfying endings is The French Lieutenant’s Woman. It is the tale of a beautiful, intelligent, beguiling, manipulative, and yet somehow still likeable young woman.
Which is a pretty accurate description of Becky Sharp from Vanity Fair.
And Becky reminds me of Scarlett O’Hara from Gone With the Wind (rumor has it Becky was the inspiration for Scarlett, though I don’t think Margaret Mitchell ever confirmed this.)
And Scarlett in turn reminds me of Anna Karenina, perhaps partially because Vivien Leigh play both roles, but more importantly because both fall for unattainable men – and both to their own unhappiness.
Misplaced love leading to ruin and unhappiness, leads me to Emma of Madame Bovary.
And finally, by antithesis. Scarlett, Anna, and Emma all remind me of Jane Eyre, who also loved an unattainable man, but who refused to compromise her morality – and ultimately to her happiness and reward.
And that – is how you get from Atonement to Jane Eyre.