Pride and Prejudice, which opens with one of the most famous sentences in English literature, is an ironic novel of manners. In it the garrulous and empty-headed Mrs Bennet has only one aim – that of finding a good match for each of her five daughters. In this she is mocked by the witty cynicisms of her indolent husband.
One of her daughters, Elizabeth, becomes prejudiced against her future suitor Darcy, because of his arrogance and uncalled-for interference with his friend Bingley’s courtship of her sister Jane. In spite of this, Darcy falls in love with Elizabeth – a blow to his pride – proposes, but is rejected. However, his sensitive assistance when Lydia Bennet elopes, dissolves Elizabeth’s prejudices, and the two are reconciled.
Oh wow. I can’t believe just how my feelings for this book turned round. I went from feeling so indifferent to it at the start that I kept finding excuses not to read it to wanting to read it slowly in order to make it last.
I wanted to slap some of the female characters hard to start with. My head could tell me that the ladies would have behaved that way in 1813 when the novel was first published, but my heart couldn’t stand the way they were so pathetic! However, I soon got over that and warmed to them.
I especially loved the characters of Lizzy, Mr Darcy (despite never having seen P&P on the TV, I still pictured Darcy as Colin Firth – which is no bad thing!) and Mr Bennet. Oh, and Jane.
I wanted to slap Lydia for being so selfish, and give Mrs Bennet a damn good shake by the shoulders for being such an embarrassment.
It had humour in spades. It was sad too. Mr Bennet being trapped in such a loveless marriage was a tragedy considering his lovable and amiable nature.
I have quite a few ‘favourite bits’, but I think the one that stands out for me was where Jane stood up to Lady Catherine when she came to dissuade Elizabeth from having a relationship with Darcy – this bit showed just how strong the character of Lizzy really was.
As a ‘modern’ woman, it seems very strange to me how society worked back then. For Charlotte to marry someone after only knowing them for such a short time to secure a future for herself seems very alien!
I don’t think a book has caused so many different emotions in me for a long, long time. After feelings of total indifference I simply grew to love this book.
Charlotte’s quick marriage always disturbed me, and every time I read P&P, Lydia and Mrs. Bennet drive me nuts!