Sheltering in Place, Mr. Woodhouse-style.

I created this meme and shared it on Facebook and Instagram on March 24, 2020, after the 2020 COVID-19 lockdown measures went into effect in California (and in most of the US). Since then, it’s gone a bit viral!

I’ll admit I was feeling a bit cramped when I made it. It gave me a laugh, as I went through the stills of the new Emma film to find just the image I was looking for: Mr. Woodhouse, surrounded by fireplace screens, quietly reading to himself. I thought all day about the perfect words to add. Then it hit me, as I sat in my house with the rain outside and nowhere to go: “Sheltering in Place . . . Mr. Woodhouse-style.”

I posted it to my Facebook and Instagram pages, along with the the Jane Austen Fan Club page on Facebook. The reaction was immediate! Over a 1,000 people responded to the original post, over 100 people shared it (and probably more), and hundreds of people commented on it. The image even ended up being the banner for an official JASNA communication email in April!

Why? Because we can all relate!

We are stuck inside, much to our chagrin, and we’re trying our best to channel our inner Mr. Woodhouse. We’re doing everything we can to keep calm and carry on.

Three lessons on lockdowns from Mr. Woodhouse:

  • For the introverts of the world, this lockdown is beautiful. (For the extroverts and ambiverts, it sometimes feels like we’re in a cage.)
  • If you can’t find any personal space in your house to work or read (because you’re all on top of each other and no one is going to school or the office), fireplace screens and other similar items are a creative way to make your own little cubicle!
  • This quarantine time is an excellent excuse to curl up with a few good books. We all need the escape, the intellectual stimulation, and the entertainment. Allow yourself time to be still and rest each day.

If you haven’t seen the new Emma movie yet, it’s worth a viewing during these tumultuous times. (Check out Common Sense Media’s review to see if you think it’s right for you and your kids.)

You can check out my reviews of the actors and the comments I received on Instagram or on Facebook. Many people delighted in Bill Nighy’s performance as Jane Austen’s fascinating Mr. Woodhouse! I personally think it’s worth watching just for Nighy’s Mr. Woodhouse and Miranda Hart’s Miss Bates.

What are you doing during your quarantine time?

As for me, I’m teaching my college students online, homeschooling my own children, and trying to find time to read and write “in the cracks” of my days and nights as much as I can! I know this is a trying time for many of us, so I hope this gave you a little chuckle.

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