Monday, June 21, 2021

Are you a Fanny or an Emma? Redeeming Austen's belittled heroines through partial and prejudiced personality quizes.

Back in 2016, while moderating an Emma read-along, I put together a highly biased quiz I called "Are you an Emma?" I was inspired by a desire to emphasize the character's good qualities, so often overlooked. Anyway, I stumbled upon it fairly randomly over the weekend and shared it in a Jane Austen chat group. Here it is:

Are You an Emma Quiz?

1. Do you live in a small town?

2. Do you take an active interest in your neighbors?

3. Have you ever volunteered at a soup kitchen?

4. Are you independently wealthy?

5. Has your mother passed away?

6. Are you more likely to have a few intimate friends rather than a wide acquaintance?

7. Would you feel slighted if you weren’t invited to a party thrown by a person you didn’t like?

8. Has a person you considered just a friend ever mistaken that friendship for a romance?

9. Are you artistic?

10. Have you ever given a friend a makeover?

11. Do you enjoy planning parties?

12. Are you more likely to trust your own opinion over that of others?

13. Have you ever stuck your foot in your mouth?

14. Are you imaginative?

15. Have you spent most of your life in the same place?

16. Have you ever been a caretaker?

17. Have you ever set a friend up on a date?

18. Are you able to admit it when you’re wrong?

19. Are you good at solving riddles?

20. Have you ever fallen in love with a friend?

21. Do you have hazel eyes?

22. Do you feel secure in your place in the world?

23. Have you ever been the butt of a practical joke?

24. Do you ever feel as if you are the parent and your parent is the child?

25. Have you ever had a crush on the boy/girl next door?

Uber Emma (17 – 25 yeses)

Nice to meet you, Miss Woodhouse! You’re the complete package. Your natural talents and help you thrive in this world, but that doesn’t mean you don’t blunder from time to time. When you do, kudos for learning from your mistakes and trying to make things right, but if you can keep that ego in check you’ll be less likely to find yourself in embarrassing situations. You have a sincere desire to make the world a better place, but sometimes you give up too easily. Others might resent your seeming perfection at times, but you do your best to deserve your blessings. Don’t let the haters hold you back.

Pseudo Emma (8 – 16 yeses)

You and Miss Woodhouse have a great deal in common, as you are both talented and clever, but your experiences have provided you with a broader perspective than can be attained within the confines of Highbury. Yours is a truly generous nature and your intimates can depend upon you to provide support in times of trouble, but you are reluctant to intervene in their lives. When the occasion calls for it you are an excellent manager. You have a long list of projects you’d like to complete … someday.

Not at all an Emma (0 – 7 yeses)

You and Miss Woodhouse might both human, but the similarities end there. You would never dream of meddling in the lives of those around you. You prefer to live in harmony with the world, and when troubles come you are flexible enough to roll with the punches. Aware of the power of words, you try to measure yours carefully before speaking, but this does not mean you shirk away from confrontation when it’s appropriate. Be confident in your instincts. You have much to teach the world if you will make your voice heard.

This exercise was a bit self-serving, as I myself am an Uber Emma, with 18 yeses, but I received excellent feedback, and one commenter suggested making a similar quiz for Mr. Darcy. Maybe I will do that, someday, but as his good qualities are already widely celebrated, my head flew instead to Miss Fanny Price. She is another character in need of empathy. So I did it! 

Are you a Fanny quiz?

1. Do you come from a big family?

2. Were you raised by anyone other than your parents?

3. Are you interested in astronomy?

4. Do you or have you ever had an Aunt Norris in your life?

5. Do you tire easily from physical exertion?

6. Were you ever dependent on wealthier relations?

7. Have you ever had "friend" who you really didn't like at all? 

8. Have you ever had a crush on a relation?

9. Do you prefer the company of your extended company to that of your immediate?

10. Are you often overlooked, even by those you care for most?

11. Are you sentimental?

12. Are you morally judgemental (be honest)?

13. Are you good at keeping secrets?

14. Do you have a strong sense of filial duty?

15. Do you feel misunderstood?

16. Do you find it difficult to advocate for yourself?

17. Are you invariably polite?

18. Do one or both of your parents favor other children over you?

19. Have you ever undergone a test of moral character and prevailed?

20. Are you smarter than your current/most recent partner?

21. Are you reluctant to perform in public?

22. Do you prefer the country to the city?

23. Can you enjoy displays of talent by people whom you either disapprove of or dislike?

24. Are you loyalties unwavering?

17-24 Total Fanny 

You are an asset to all those so fortunate as to be held in your regard, even if it might take a thump on the head for them to realize it. Your quiet nature shies from the spotlight, but others, even those who understand your value, might sometimes try to push you into it against your will, that the whole world might see and sing your praises. Others, jealous of your fine qualities, might try to harness them for their own ends or tarnish their shine. Do not allow it. Always remember that you are the best judge, and follow your instincts. Never compromise your formidable integrity, and forgive those of us who cannot live to your exacting standards. Those worth your time will see your example and (eventually) try to follow. 

9-16 Middling Fanny 

A balanced personality allows you to navigate the world with grace. Some might refer to you as zen. You are comfortable in a variety of environments and amongst diverse groupings of people, your open-mindedness freeing you from the limitations that hinder so many others. On the downside, you might sometimes acquiesce to that which you oughtn't in order to avoid conflict. Remember that part of being at one with the universe is also listening to your internal guide. It's okay to stand strong, even in the face of great opposition, when your heart and mind tell you it is the right thing to do.

1-8 Inverse Fanny

On the surface, you are the diametric opposite of Austen's most demure heroine. A more inclusive quiz might pin you as an Elizabeth Bennet, but let's be honest: don't we all have a bit of Fanny within? We have all experienced what it is like to be a scared and uncertain child. You have the advantage of having risen above such timidity, and you face the world with confidence in your own abilities. Your social skills are enviable, and others are naturally drawn to your vivacity. You'd far rather spend an evening actively engaged than gazing passively at the stars, but that doesn't mean you never pause to admire them. You are full of joie de vive. 

I'd love to get your feedback and learn my readers' results. I will, when I have a spare moment, make this pretty and postable, like the Emma quiz (below, click on it to enlarge). I add the graphic to this post when done. Please feel free to share, if you like. 

I, myself, have 11 yeses and am a middling Fanny.

Should I make more of these? Which characters would you like to see represented?


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