Posts Tagged With: Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

The ‘Blurb’
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.

10/10

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Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Synopsis (from back of book):
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.

Review:
Austen seems to enjoy offering up heroines that are slightly different than one might expect from a romantic novel of this period – they are witty, intelligent and fearless in their choices much of the time. They also seem to buck the trend of social propriety, even if it may cause them to lose their good name, happiness and position. Elizabeth, like Catherine Morland in Northanger Abbey, seems intent on throwing off the constraints of society, preferring to walk several miles across muddy fields to visit a sick sister and arrive looking dirty and dishevelled, rather than wait at home for news of her welfare, or be taken in a carriage over an easily walk-able distance. She actively seeks to be out of doors and unfettered by the presence of others who might hem her in and press her to act in a manner more “fitting” to a young lady of her standing. In this case, that Elizabeth and her sister Jane have turned out so well is more to do with their own nature than that of their parents, especially their mother, whose only goal in life is to see her daughters married and comes across as a very silly and unintelligent person.

The hero, Mr. Darcy, is at first presented as an unlikely romantic lead – he is disagreeable, curt and rude to the heroine, yet throughout the course of the story, he is revealed to be completely different than Elizabeth‘s first impressions of him. Indeed, her first impressions of another young man, Mr. Wickham, are also poorly judged and she is forced to re-evaluate her feelings of them both.

This is a highly enjoyable novel with more than enough social interaction, betrayal of trust, and witty badinage to entertain anyone with half a mind to give it a try.

Reviewed by Kell Smurthwaite

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