Monday, April 16, 2012

What it is about PRIDE AND PREJUDICE

Disclaimer! This is not a review. I couldn't review a book for which I have a complete and total bias. I have seen nearly every adaptation for this story. I have read the original novel four times and that's kind of because I have a longing for it about once a year. Love is not a strong enough emotion to convey how much I enjoy the story. And the characters. And the writing. And the author, may she rest in peace.

I will, however, try to explain what it is about this story that makes me want to open it again and again. There are so many things about it that are wonderful, but the fact that it's a "classic" is not one that comes to mind.

I think the term "classic" can be a bit intimidating, first, and then misleading next. This book is not hard to read. The language is simple and fairly easy to follow and understand. And the situations then mirror, in a sort of way, some of the issues we face now. One of the reasons I would only hesitantly refer to this as one of my favorite "classics" is because it is so relevant in my life, at least, that I don't feel as if it's that far removed. I know it's not contemporary, but unless "classic" is referring to the insight and intellectual wisdom contained in the novel itself, rather than the timestamp that belongs to it, I'd rather not use the term. At least not here.

From the moment I first read about the Bennet family, I instantly felt a connection with them--- I instantly fell in love. The conversation between Mr. and Mrs. Bennet about the new neighbor and his fortune could have easily been one between my own parents once upon a time. The fact that I have four siblings, three of which are girls, helped me identify with having a hefty-sized family. The fact that my sisters and I have always been close made me understand the Bennet Sisters' dynamic. And then there was Lizzie who I couldn't quite relate to, persay, but who instantly became a rolemodel of the type of character I one day hoped to be.

Yes, I was an instant fan of Elizabeth Bennet, the one who would not marry unless for love, the one who stood her ground against a pompous Mr. Darcy, a silly Mrs. Bennet, and a Mr. Collins. Yes, I respected her instantly. I wondered what it was like to have that kind of confidence in oneself... to know what you wanted so passionately and so surely that settling was NOT an option. In the tenth grade, I had a certain level of self, but not like Lizzie's. But after reading "her" story... After watching her sisters and her friend fall or give up or wait around or take the first man who made an offer, I realized there was no other person I wanted to be but Elizabeth. I needed her courage, assurance, and over time, it was something that came. Thank God!

But the other characters in this story were equally as wonderful. I mean, even Lizzie had her faults. You have to understand that the book is called both PRIDE & PREJUDICE. You know she had to have at least one of those attributes, and neither of them are the most flattering terms. So yes, every character was flawed, but I think every character also had something good in them, too. Without too many spoilers, I can say that although Mrs. Bennet was silly and Mr. Bennet was passive-aggressive, they both cared about their kids. A LOT. And the fact that they were willing to do anything to see that they at least start on the path of a good life was one of those things that made me appreciate my parents a little more. I think I can also say that Darcy, though uptight and rude at the beginning does make a change. It's not a turn around, mind you, but you can see him lowering his barriers. And guys always ask me why I love the guy because he's an obvious {insert obscenity here}. But I tell them constantly that I don't like him BECAUSE he's a jerk. I like him because he's a jerk that admitted his faults and tried to change! And he didn't change for the girl, he changed for himself. And THAT good people of America, is freaking sexy (I meant admirable!).

Anywho, the story I think was told masterfully doing a wonderful job of balancing plot-driven madness and character-driven chaos that the two just meshed and the outcome of that was just an entertaining story filled with "truths universally acknowledged!" That's what I like about it best. At the end of the day, it's just a really good story, one that I could read or watch over and over again... that I can appreciate every time it's in my hands.

If you can't tell, I highly recommend this book. To everyone and their brothers. If you don't read it, you're not going to explode or anything, but I think it's worthwhile to read the original interpretation. Trust me... it's just as good as any adaptation you've seen or read and if you're anything like me, you'll think it even better.

Pride and PrejudiceBlurb from Goodreads:

When Elizabeth Bennet first meets eligible bachelor Fitzwilliam Darcy, she thinks him arrogant and conceited, while he struggles to remain 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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