“Run mad as often as you choose, but do not faint.” What did she mean?

If you’re a Jane Austen fan, you might recognize this quote from her novel Love and Friendship (it’s not from Mansfield Park, despite the BBC movie using it):

“Run mad as often as you choose, but do not faint.”

Funny enough, within the context of the novel it originates from, it’s pretty much literal. The character Sophia, who speaks the words, is basically telling her friend Laura to not faint so as to avoid a fatal outcome like her own (developing consumption). But the quote can very much be interpreted beyond the literal, and perhaps is even intended by Austen to be so.

When I read this quote, my mind goes to the scripture Galatians 6:9-“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” The concept of endurance is often repeated in the Bible; it is encouraged. “Keep going,” it says. That is what I interpret from this quote.

“Run mad as often as you choose…” by this I get that we should have adventures, be a little crazy, and not stop.

“…but do not faint.” don’t give up, no matter how tough things get. Don’t fall into discouragement and despair.

In other words, keep going.

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