I recently started reading the Anne of Green Gables series of books by L. M. Montgomery which was first published in 1908. I couldn't help comparing Anne's world with mine. As I thought about how much things have changed, I also noticed that much is still the same. Certain passages jumped out at me, as I pondered their relevance to today and the future.
'Diana, you might take Anne out into the garden and show her your flowers. It will be better for you than straining your eyes over that book. She reads entirely too much' - this to Marilla as the little girls went out - 'and I can't prevent her, for her father aids and abets her. She's always pouring over a book. I'm glad she has the prospect of a playmate - perhaps it will take her more out-of-doors.' (Chapter 12)
I found this passage interesting for two reasons: (1) After 100 years, mothers still sound the same (simply insert tv or video games in the place of books), and (2) We now worry that our children don't read enough where mothers of the past worried that their kids read too much. This lead me to imagine mothers in 2108 complaining that "Johnny won't play his video games."
During Jane Austen's time (appoximately 200 years ago), novel writing was not considered a worthy carreer, and apparently this idea was still held true by some as recently as 100 years ago.
'I think this story-writing business is the foolishest yet,' scoffed Marilla. 'You'll get a pack of nonsense into your heads and waste time that should be put on your lessons. Reading stories is bad enough but writing them in worse.' (Chapter 26)
Again, something that was once considered a waste of time is now considered an essential skill.