Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Mark Twain wrote that a classic is a book that people praise but don’t read. This is completely true. How many people have watched the Kiera Knightly P&P movie version a million times, or have swooned during the BBC mini-series because Colin Firth was Mr. Darcy? (Not me personally; he’s not my cup of tea. Put Ryan Gosling in that role and I’ll swoon.) They are both great, great adaptations, but I don’t know many people that have sat down with Austen and read P&P in its entirety. This is a shame because P&P has such resonating and universal themes like never judge a book by its cover, admitting that you were wrong, crazy families, etc. I can easily relate to this book which is why I love it so much. I am quick to judge people- I am working on that. It may be one of my least favorite qualities. I make mistakes and try very hard to own up to them though my PRIDE can get in the way sometimes. I have a huge crazy Cuban family. Many times when we’ve gotten together in the Public Arena, I’ve been a little embarrassed and pretended not to know them. My Abuela wants me to get married- like yesterday. Did I mention I could relate? (On a side note, I have two hard copies of Pride and Prejudice- one in a
Jane Austen anthology and the other is a withered paperback. I also have the Kindle version AND the iPad version. GEEK ALERT!) Anyway, yes, this novel holds a near and dear place in my heart…
I don’t really have anything bad to say about this book except one thing that bugs me every time I read it. Why does Mr. Bingley lack his backbone? Where is his… sack? (Sorry- the man is lacking some serious cojones. IT DRIVES ME INSANE!) I feel so badly for Jane liking a man like Mr. Bingley. When I form “an attachment,” as Ms. Jane Austen would say, I hope that it is NOT to someone like Mr. Bingley who lets his sister get the best of him and has no say in things whatsoever. Jane clearly likes him- I don’t know who else could get a cold so quickly by walking in the rain… Let that simmer. I think she let this “cold” carry on longer than she was really sick. (Good one, Jane.) She wanted to be around him. Don’t be blind Mr. Bingley. Don’t listen to others- she is golden and crushing on you Good Sir.
One of my favorites scenes, and I think a scene that many people perhaps tend to write off as annoying, is when we first meet Mr. Collins. What a daft fellow. I think he is precious, and because he is completely serious and a tad egomaniacal is that we have some of the best dialogue in the novel. “Mr. Collins had only to change from Jane to Elizabeth—and it was soon done—done while Mrs. Bennet was stirring the fire.” HA! He came asking for a wife, and he ain’t picky. It is fantastic. People think he is boring, but he is the best one-dimensional character ever created. Re-think him. I think that in his faults you will find a good laugh. He is one that it is perfectly okay to laugh at.
I want to briefly talk about Mary Bennet. You may not remember her because she is mentioned very little in the book. I wish that Jane Austen did a novella about her though. I felt such sadness from her character. She was usually embarrassed by her sisters and mother and considered herself to be very wise- at least much wiser than her two younger class-less sisters. Whenever Mary is mentioned, I find myself imagining her life because she is not a focus of the novel. What would Mary be doing now? She would probably be reading or something. I don’t know if you ever feel like that for her or even care about the lesser Bennet sister. I just wish that we knew more about where she was coming from or where she was going. I don’t get the feeling that she wanted to be married off, but I picture her doing more charity work or maybe writing herself. Just some food for thought.
How can I write a review about P&P and not mention Mr. Darcy and Lizzy’s relationship? This is the stuff that dreams are made of. I don’t know one woman out there that does not want a man to tell her that she has bewitched him, body and soul. Every time I read that scene where he goes to apologize to Lizzy for his rude Aunt, and he hopes that her feelings for him had not changed, it makes cynical ol’ me believe that it can happen to me one day- that love and admiration. Sure- they began on the wrong foot. He called her not so “handsome.” Ouch. STRIKE, Mr. Darcy, Strike. It just goes to show you that first impressions can be wrong impressions. He turned out to bail her trampy sister, Lydia, out of a less than desirable marriage so the Bennets could save face a little. I guess I’ll revoke my strike. He and Lizzy are quick to judge one another so quickly that I’m so happy it turned out for the better… because it could have gone the other way- yeeek.
I can tell you flat out that I did not appreciate P&P until I was an adult. We can all say, “Yeah. I had to read that in high school…” Being forced to read anything in high school certainly makes the reading material have somewhat less of an impact. I remember it being boring and only understanding things because my high school lit teacher was so passionate about teaching it. I only picked up P&P to reread it after I saw it on the big screen in college again. This time, I didn’t have the same dull effect. I was imagining myself in the novel (Yeah, maybe I made myself Lizzy- don’t judge!) and I found myself matching my family into character roles, putting my friends into roles, and I really took everything that Austen worked on to heart. I’m thankful that I gave it another shot. You should do it too. So, a big KUDOS to Jane Austen’s memory because, let’s face it, this gal got it done! Did you know that Jane Austen had to publish her novels anonymously? She received little credit for these works. Now, we can celebrate her works the way they should have been received back then. In a time when women couldn’t own property and had to marry off for great prospects, she was able to published novels with great insight to the social structure of that period with humor and charm.
If you love Austen and want to go deeper than Pride and Prejudice, you should read her other novels-duh! No, but really, they are all spectacular. My next favorite Austen is Emma. I can’t relate as much to Emma as I can to P&P, but I love it all the same. Did you know that the movie Clueless is an adaptation of Emma? Also, check out Pride and Prejudice and Zombies- trust me. It is by Seth Grahame-Smith. It is probably one of the more creative works I’ve read in a really long time. He takes the original Pride and Prejudice work and incorporates a whole other plot line with Zombies. I read this for the first time three years ago, and Zombies are ‘in’ now, so it’s only fitting that I give it a shout-out. It sounds completely bogus when I describe it, but you need to give it a chance. It is clever and made me laugh out loud several times. It begins with “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.” I haven’t read the sequels, but this is a good brain-less (ha!) read.