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Previous Challenge Entry (EDITOR'S CHOICE)
Topic: Dead End (02/06/14)

TITLE: Elizabeth Has Left the Building
By Beth LaBuff
02/10/14
~7th Place


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“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single farmer in possession of eighty acres must be in want of a wife.”

Yes, he must!

I was the only student in my high school class who almost failed English Literature because I refused to read Shakespeare. My reasoning: Why should I read Shakespeare when my heart beat in rhythm with Jane Austen? Perhaps, if we’d been assigned Shakespeare first, I would never have fallen in love with Mr. Darcy. Henceforth— I. Became. Elizabeth. Bennet! I altered the syntax of my sentences; my speech became Austen-esque; and I day-dreamed of a phaeton and ponies carriage ride.

The ensuing years were spent pursuing Mr. Darcy. Would Elizabeth Bennet have welcomed an attachment with my Mr. Darcy? He didn’t live on the beautiful estate of Pemberley, but, on an eighty-acre farm that produced chickens and goats. Oh, he did have a happily situated pond in the middle of a pasture, and his rightful name was Jasper, not Fitzwilliam Darcy—Jasper Ogilvie from Keller County.

In my imagination, after a few months of misunderstandings fraught with pride and prejudice, he would become an ardent suitor. We would wed and find our livelihood on his most-agreeable eighty-acre farm. I would gather the eggs and shepherd the goats. I was Elizabeth Bennet and he was Mr. Darcy.

I tried to facilitate this felicitous match by showing Mr. Jasper Ogilvie what it would be like with my assistance with his chickens and goats. How was I to know that he did not want the desolate billy goat in the pen with the nannies until late fall? Mr. Ogilvie bellowed some most distressing words in my direction. I was all astonishment!

Jasper Ogilvie from Keller County is obviously ignorant of that excellent universally acknowledged truth. He refuses to give consequence to me, neither has he attempted any mode of declaration. I have been mortally wounded by Jane Austen, Mr. Darcy, AND Jasper Ogilvie. I am to the point of relocating Jane et al to the shelf. My affection once lost, is lost forever.

And now, I have firmly resolved to correct the negligence from my high school days. I will soon read Shakespeare’s most-romantic play (sigh)— Romeo and Juliet! I will become Juliet in search of my “Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou?“ I am confident Shakespeare would never scorn a lady. My Romeo and I will live blissfully ever after, just like I imagine they did in the play.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Elizabeth Baize 02/13/14
I love this because I read the last sentence, stopped and thought a couple of seconds, and then the full weight of your subtle take on the topic hit me. Wow!
Ellen Carr 02/14/14
Oh romance! You've written this in an engaging (no pun intended) and humorous way, and very well. May "Juliet" meet her "Romeo", and live happily every after. I'd better not tell you the ending of "Romeo and Juliet"!
Camille (C D) Swanson 02/16/14
I have often made up my own ending when reading Romeo and Juliette!

I first read it for a school assignment when I was 13yrs old, after crying at the ending, I made up my own ending.

Great job!

God bless~
Laura Hawbaker 02/17/14
Liked this entry! Caught my attention right away and kept me reading to the end. Well done humor.
LaCretia Peters02/18/14
I love the language you used in the writing. In my mind, I saw Scarlet O'Hara. Very well done!!
Linda Goergen02/18/14
Fascinating and creative! Loved it!
Verna Cole Mitchell 02/20/14
I love the humor in this wonderful little story--so happy to see it in EC! Your creativity shines as always, Beth!
Leola Ogle 02/20/14
Hooray for you, Beth. This is one of my favorite entries! Congrats and God bless!
Margaret Kearley 02/20/14
I'm still giggling Beth! This is great! I Many congratulations and very well deserving of its EC!!
..... a fellow JA fan!!
Yvonne Blake 02/20/14
Congratulations, Beth!
*smile* I love your characterization via her imagination.
Sara Harricharan 02/20/14
Oh ROFL. That is just too funny. I'm a bit of the reverse here, I much more prefer Shakespeare over Jane Austen any day of the week (the Tempest, anyone?), but I loved the humor in here. I could just seem the FMC going about her life, with Austen-tinted glass.
The last line was hilarious though. I sincerely hope that our dear "Elizabeth" does not end up like Juliet. ;)
Congrats on your EC! :D
Elizabeth Baize 02/20/14
Congratulations on your editor's choice, Beth!
Kon Michailidis02/21/14
This was fascinating,humorous and very clever,with so many subtleties. The intro line was perfect for the whole piece. Now that you have turned to Shakespeare I hope you can mimic his style just as well as you have JA. Congratulations on the EC. I love the way you write.
Kon Michailidis02/21/14
Yep, I can see you adding the American farmyard genre to Shakespearean tragedy,comedy and history. I think you have already written farmyard sonnets, haven't you?
Tracy Nunes 02/22/14
I had to chuckle. I couldn't help it. So dramatic and classic Jane Austin. Excellent writing!
Bea Edwards 02/25/14
Well I'm going to confess what a literary dolt I am. I haven't read Jane Austin or much of Shakespeare, but before you gasp aghast-they are on my to do list.
All that said to say I'm not really qualified to make a witty comment other than say your piece was creative and fun.