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Who Should You Fight: Austen Heroine Edition

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Jessica Yang

Staff Writer

Jessica grew up in Silicon Valley, yet somehow ended up rather inept at technology. She dreams of reading luxurious novels all day in a greenhouse, and is guilty of writing puns for money. Majoring in Japanese and English literature made her both wary and weary of the Western canon. She can be bribed with milk tea. Follow her on Twitter @jamteayang.

I spend more time than I’d like to admit thinking about whether I’d win in a fight against fictional characters and historical figures. What can I say? These fists were meant for theoretical fightin’. As anyone who’s read Jane Austen knows, her heroines were pretty darn tough in their own ways. Dire financial straits, fussy fathers, and neverending balls—they’ve seen it all. A fisticuff match-up against an Austen heroine might not go the way you think.

And yeah, I know everything about Jane Austen’s books has already been written, clickbait quizzed, and analyzed into fine dust. Someone’s probably thought about this. But I’m here to tell you that they’re wrong, and I’m right. Now let’s do this…Who should you fight: Austen Heroine Edition.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane AustenElizabeth Bennet—Pride and Prejudice: Fight her. There’s no chance in Pemberley that you’ll win, especially if witty repartee comes into play, but this is the only way to win her respect. You want that, don’t you? You do. It’s the only thing that matters in this vale of tears.

Jane Bennet—Pride and Prejudice: Come on, this is a no brainer. Don’t fight this 18th century cinnamon roll. You’ll feel so guilty, and she’ll shower you with nothing but compliments about your hair—It looks stunning. And your eyes! They’re luminous…

Lydia Bennet—Pride and Prejudice: I leave this one up to you. You may win, you may not, but she’ll definitely sucker punch you. Maybe sit this one out if you’re not ready to truly duke it out. Lydia plays to win, and she doesn’t care who gets hurt in the process. If you can convince her to switch from a fight to a dance-off, all the better.

Emma Woodhouse—Emma: This is guaranteed win. She’ll make a strong showing at the start, but once she makes the fatal mistake of totally and catastrophically misjudging you, you’re golden. In the event that Mr. Knightley intervenes to help Emma, throw a Farmer’s Almanac in the opposite direction and run.

Persuasion by Jane AustenAnne Elliot—Persuasion: Challenge her to a fight if you want to level up. Her strength is endurance, so don’t try to outlast her. When it’s all over, you’ll feel the overwhelming urge to have tea and biscuits with her at a cafe on a windswept cliff. Thoughtful melancholy will grip you, stripping bare your soul.

Catherine Morland—Northanger Abbey: Most likely an even match. Catherine’s flights of fancy and genre expertise mean that she can predict your every move—within limits. Go for the unexpected, and you’ll throw her off. Be warned that Henry Tilney may show up to heckle her, and it’ll be hella annoying. If Henry and Catherine invite you on a tour of the abbey later, do NOT say yes. They will absolutely prank you.

Fanny Price—Mansfield Park: Why bother? Just breathe in her direction, and she’ll crumble. Okay, I jest. She’d probably be surprisingly tough, but do you really want to fight someone so down on her luck? It’d be like kicking a strangely pious puppy. Moving on…

Elinor Dashwood—Sense and Sensibility: Sure, why not? Responsible, sensible, and other things that end in -sible, Elinor could use a friendly round of fisticuffs to let off steam. Trust me, she’s got a lot of tension in those shoulders.

Marianne Dashwood—Sense and Sensibility: Hm. Her only weaknesses are the rain, broken ankles, handsome men on horses, unrequited love…Actually, that’s a lot of weak points. Go for it. Her spirit and energy will make this an even fight. Whatever you do, don’t mention Willoughby.

Lady Susan Vernon—Lady Susan: Fight her. Please. Do it for poor Frederica. I mean, you gotta respect Lady Susan’s commitment to having her way, but justice must be served. Of course, this lady is no pushover. If you let down your guard, she’ll eat you for breakfast. Recruit a hot, principled young man to be your back-up. Be brave, my friend.

Annnnd that’s it. Who would you fight in a fictional round of fisticuffs? Who would you ally with? Also, real talk. Can anyone really win against Lady Susan?