This was a tough one, for a couple of reasons. First of all, there’s a lot of Jane stuff out there to choose from. Secondly, I really like Jane – I think she’s the most fascinating character on the show, and I wanted to choose a story that did her justice. Jane is tough to capture. One needs to combine a certain joie de vive and balance it with pessimism. Even the writers of the show don’t seem to quite capture her sometimes, which is odd because they made her up in the first place and whatever they portray should automatically be correct. Jane is nothing if not an enigma.
There is one author who seems to have a certain insight into Jane Lane, artiste extraordinaire. He’s written several pieces that focus on Jane, but the winner is…
“THE LAST DAYS OF SOLITUDE”
Think “Esteemsters” from Jane’s perspective. That’s what the story is about. In a sense, Jon had part of his work done for him, since the plot was already written. That’s one of the good things about the story, though – we are able to focus entirely on Jane, and worry less about the story. Jon has added a few of his own touches to the plot, of course, and we are given a look at what was important to Jane about the fateful days when Daria came into her life.
On the surface, this seems like a simple concept. On the surface, it is. But Jon goes a little below the surface.
The show leaves a number of questions unanswered. What was it that made Jane open up to Daria? How miserable was her life that she felt there was nothing better to do than go sit and listen to O’Neill prattle on about self-esteem? The story answers these questions, and shows us more.
We get a closer look at Jane’s relationship with Trent, and with Ms. DeFoe. We even get a closer look at her relationship with Daria. The story probes depths that the show couldn’t. It also takes us places where the show didn’t – after all, while Daria was torturing her family at Pizza Forest and UFO Conventions, Jane had her own agenda.
In the end, we are given a glimpse of how important her friendship with Daria is to Jane, even though it’s only begun. Jane experiences some growth from who she was (might have been, since we really don’t know) to who she is. Most significantly, there wasn’t a moment in the story that I didn’t see and hear Jane having the thoughts and speaking the words that Jon gave her. In the end, he captured the quintessential Jane.
Read “The Last Days of Solitude” on Outpost-Daria here