ABOUT THE BOOK
Genre: Classic, Romance
Length: 339 pgs.
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‘Vanity, not love, has been my folly’ When Elizabeth Bennet first meets eligible bachelor Fitzwilliam Darcy, she thinks him arrogant and conceited; he is indifferent to her good looks and lively mind. When she later discovers that Darcy has involved himself in the troubled relationship between his friend Bingley and her beloved sister Jane, she is determined to dislike him more than ever. In the sparkling comedy of manners that follows, Jane Austen shows the folly of judging by first impressions and superbly evokes the friendships, gossip and snobberies of provincial middle-class life.
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What’s better than doing a review of Pride and Prejudice on Valentine’s Day, eh? Happy Valentine’s Day!
There are many excellent things I discovered in this rereading of Pride and Prejudice this month. One of which is that so many who recommended I start with Pride and Prejudice as my first “pleasure” classics were, unfortunately, very misleading. Pride and Prejudice, although a very lovable classic, is not the place to start with classics if you are new to them—and if you want to begin reading classics for fun. The archaic language is sure to throw you off and if cannot follow this novel verbatim, you are likely to have a very difficult time understanding the excellence with which Austen has composed this work—which I too didn’t comprehend when I first read this book 2-3 years ago.
This time around, however, I was able to fully immerse myself into the origin of most modern romances, which emerge from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. It would be a mild understatement to say that Pride and Prejudice is amongst one of the cleverest, most sophisticated, and more beautifully written romances. Austen has the ability to write dialogue which, by itself, can coordinate you to the speaker of those words. Every character has a different set of dialogues, in perfect alliance with their personalities. Without having looked at the novel itself, it is easy to identify one speaker from another only by the dialogues which Austen writes for them.
Another thing that makes it incredible hard for anyone new to this story not to fall in love with it are, our very own, Elizabeth Bennett and Fitzwilliam Darcy. I must admit that although many, many faults lay within these characters, in the end, Austen makes it very difficult for me not to love them. This is because of her ability to point out their faults from the very beginning, via which she takes away my opportunity to oppose to these characters and their actions, by the simple meaning of calling her work, “Pride and Prejudice.” When it has clearly been presented to you that both Elizabeth and Darcy are characters seeped in their pride and their prejudices, it is hard for anyone to complain because really, we have nothing to complain about. If Austen has already informed us of this flaw in her characters, what excuse do I really have left to moan about such things?
As for the characters…there are two different things which I remarked this time around that I may have neglected to notice in my first reading. One being that Jane, although an easy character to like, is often a bit too honest and forgiving. It doesn’t seem as though this should be considered a fault but sometimes, this sort of an attitude to life can be damaging. So realistically, I cannot imagine Jane will have as easy a life as I initially thought because not only is she too laid-back but her husband is clearly an equally naive companion for her. In this matter, Mr. Bennett in the 1995 adaption of Pride and Prejudice puts it the best:
“You’re each of you so complying that nothing will ever be resolved on. So easy that every servant will cheat you!…And so generous that you will always exceed your income.”
Speaking of which…Daddy Bennett is my second problem. I knew my opinion of Mrs. Bennett would not change much since I absolutely loathed her in my first reading but this second time, I realized how I much clearly disliked Mr. Bennett as well. Despite them providing a charming sense of humor here and there, I can see why Lydia turns out the way she does by the end of the novel. While Mrs. Bennett overreactions to everything are ridiculous enough that it is justified she does not hold much value, Mr. Bennett’s nonchalance attitude towards his daughters’ behaviors, on the other hand, is also misleading because his authority has come to account for nothing in his family. When he does finally set his foot down, after Lydia’s dramatic course of action, the restrictions he decides to place on Kitty are even more disappointing. The parental figures of the Bennett family are clearly, both equally, responsible for Lydia’s failures in this case (as opposed to my prior belief that Mrs. Bennett deserved most of the blame for over-encouraging her daughter to find a husband).
All things considered, Pride and Prejudice remains a classic for a reason and a very good one at that. It is what I look to for comfort; it never fails to amaze me how wonderfully crafted and preserved this book remains in its intelligence, wit, and overall quality.
This review is also available on BookLikes.