Sunday, August 5, 2018

Six Degrees of Separation: From Atonement to Jane Eyre

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.


  1. I also linked to The French Lieutenant's Woman, as you know, but otherwise your chain is completely different. I like the way you connected the women in your other books - Becky and Scarlett are very similar types of character and Anna and Emma have very similar stories.

  2. It's not often that I've read every single book on someone's chain, but in this case YES!
    Although Madame Bovary was a bit of cheat. I didn't like it all, so it was more of a skim read in the end.

    1. I didn't much care for Madame Bovary either.

  3. Loving the fact that French LW has popped up in a few chains but in different ways...maybe I should use it as a starter book?
    A great string of female protagonists! Was only thinking this week that a reread of Vanity Fair s long overdue.

    1. I think starting with The French Lieutenant's Woman is a great idea. And I promise to form a new path...wherever that may lead.


Comments are always welcome. In fact, they make my day. You needn't sign in to leave a comment. Just enter your comment, then on the "Comment as:" drop down menu, select "anonymous".