Monday, October 27, 2014

Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice 

“I am only resolved to act in that manner, which will, in my own opinion, constitute my happiness, without reference to you, or to any person so wholly unconnected with me.”

“The loss of virtue in a female is irretrievable - that one false step involves in her endless ruin - that her reputation is no less brittle than it is beautiful - and that she cannot be too much guarded in her behavior towards the undeserving of the opposite sex.”

Pride and Prejudice

After reading this book there is no doubt in my mind that Jane Austen was a pioneer in her time. Not just in the fact that she, herself lived an inspired life filled with her fair share of adversity but her books have been known to contain atypical, strong, and lovable characters.
Pride and Prejudice was an incredible novel--this story is a heartwarming story filled with the complexity of relationships in a Victorian era setting. This is more than just a typical love story, where boy meets girl, and girl falls in love. It is also a story about the love of sisters, fathers, daughters, and mothers. And that is what makes it a truly beautiful novel.

This is the first Austen book I have fully read. My decision came out of a desire to read more classics. Honestly, I adored this book.

Throughout Pride and Prejudice I laughed quite a bit, Elizabeth, I believe will forever be one of my favorite protagonists. She's witty, honest, intelligent, and very atypical. She's a strong woman in an era where it was not socially acceptable to be so. It was better to be docile, submissive, and lady-like. It was more important to follow the complicated social protocol and Victorian Morality.

Mr. Collins is the perfect example of Victorian Morality. When Lydia runs off with Wickham he states in a letter to Mr. Bennet that it would be better to see Lydia dead than unmarried and running around with Wickham. There is a perfect example of Victorian Morality.

Pride and Prejudice revolves around the two elder sister's Elizabeth and Jane Bennet. Elizabeth is witty, charismatic, intelligent, and the favorite of her father. Jane, would be the second favorite of her father; she is kind, beautiful, forgiving, and the favorite of her mother.

To thoroughly enjoy and appreciate this novel I suggest that you read about the Victorian and Regency eras. Because once you do, you will be able to comprehend just how incredible this novel is.
If you do not understand much about the Victorian and Regency eras you will have a difficult time picking up on Elizabeth's subtle acts of rebellion as it is woven throughout the novel subtly, which causes many people to miss it.

For me, after finishing this novel, it is easy to see how Elizabeth is one of the most beloved of all Austen's characters. Elizabeth, is a strong headed, atypical character, and she goes against the social mores of her time in many ways. From speaking her mind at a dinner with Lady Catherine, to refusing not only one but two offers of marriage. She does not settle. And she keeps to her values, no matter what. She does not blindly throw away what she deems to be important at the first offer of marriage, when many women in her time, would. And that is what is so incredible about her. She refuses to become engaged to Mr. Collins first, knowing she would not be able to stand him, and his quiet insulting ways. And then she refuses to marry Mr. Darcy, because it would contradict her beliefs and values. The fact that she refuses him is huge. He's wealthy and has status, all the things that women in her time are bred to love, adore and strive for. But, she refuses him.
I hope that future readers of this book can contextually grasp the hugeness of that.

I loved this book, for the story but also for the strength of Austen's characters, and the 'human-ness' of them. All their failings, strengths, prejudices, beliefs, all makes them incredibly human, and incredibly real.

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