Miss Bates

Which fictional book character are you?

Which am I (you ask as rack your brains for a decent character that has an iota of resemblance to yourself)?  Remember that one novel which Jane Austen wrote saying that no one would like the main character but her?  Emma?  No, I am not Emma Woodhouse, the vain, popular, beautiful, witty and rich girl who makes fun of the people around her.  I am Miss Bates, the dull spinster she gets scolded for making fun of.

Miss Bates is admirable in some ways, she lives alone caring for her elderly aunt and dotes upon her niece, the light of her life.  She is the daughter of the old rector, and has lived in Highbury her whole life.  All of the characters have known her and called her friend as long as they can remember, yet no one but the querulous old Mr. Woodhouse ever asks after her without hiding a laugh in their sleeve.  Miss Bates is the epitome of annoyance, and Emma often goes out of her way to avoid her, though she does dutifully visit every week and exchange niceties when society dictates.  Yet Mr. Knightley, who plays Emma’s moral conscience, scolds Emma for not pitying Miss Bates enough to respect her.  Emma’s fault is not pitying Miss Bates.  For everyone in the story Miss Bates is an object of pity and compassion, none could stand her obnoxious nature otherwise.

Miss Bates talks too much and too fast.  She repeats herself often as she as no conversation or wit to speak, so every fact must be repeated as often as possible.

Miss Bates is fond of the other characters, and overly grateful for any thoughtful gesture.

Miss Bates loves her family.

Miss Bates makes an incredibly easy target for sarcasm.  She does not really understand it.

I am Miss Bates.  Over-eager, over-loving, over-annoying.  I repeat all my jokes multiple times, to the resounding sound of my own laughter.  My own pettiness makes me sick.

I realize that, as Miss Bates, I need to be careful not to turn my enthusiasm into a burden on others.  Yet even in these efforts I fail.

I try very hard not to force my presence upon others, one can only take rejection so often you know. So imagine my surprise when I get scolded for failing to invite another to join my solitary entertainments.  I am told that my ignorance of them has been hurtful, and I do not know how to respond to that.  How does one explain that one believed that being solitary was the kindest way to treat other people?  How can an excuse for being rude be that one was trying to be nice?

You can’t.  You really really can’t.

I suppose that, if I really am Miss Bates, my behavior should mimic hers in her fictional world.  When Emma is unkind, Miss Bates does not lock herself away or stop being her harmless twiddling self.  She simply smiles self-deprecatingly and continues in her kind busyness towards others.

I guess I should try not to be so clever about my kindness.  Once a fool always a fool.  Hey ho for a merry day, keep smiling, keep talking, keep giving, keep twittering.  If I’m derided, so be it.  If I’m taken advantage of, shame on them.  I refuse to give another pain because I am afraid of rejection.  It’s just not in my nature, I’m not Miss Bates for nothing you know.

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One thought on “Miss Bates

  1. Pingback: Emma | rathermundane

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