“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” So begins Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen’s witty comedy of manners—one of the most popular novels of all time—that features splendidly civilized sparring between the proud Mr. Darcy and the prejudiced Elizabeth Bennet as they play out their spirited courtship in a series of eighteenth-century drawing-room intrigues. Renowned literary critic and historian George Saintsbury in 1894 declared it the “most perfect, the most characteristic, the most eminently quintessential of its author’s works,” and Eudora Welty in the twentieth century described it as “irresistible and as nearly flawless as any fiction could be.”
Goodreads Rating: 4.24 / 5
My Rating: 5 /5
When I first read this book back in school, I was in awe of it. I still love it, but this time around when I read it, I could see the scenarios in a different light.
Previously I used to think how awesome it is that all characters get their share of the story because in any story it is not just the two involved because of whom the story happens. Even though it still holds true, now I feel all the other people were only mentioned so that major characters could shine against the stupidity of the others.
Charlotte Lucas, because she went on to marry Mr Collins, was dubbed of not the intelligence Elizabeth had thought her friend had. This shows that Lizzy, herself, was way too vain for the likes of normal people living about in society. Keeping in view the time under consideration, Charlotte indeed is in possession of intellect as she uttered these words, “If a woman conceals her affection with the same skill from the object of it, she may lose the opportunity of fixing him; and it will then be but poor consolation to believe the world equally in the dark.”
However much Elizabeth is said to be woman of high intelligence, there are so many instances that lead me to think otherwise. It was Lizzy’s prejudice that led more than half the society to think well of Wickham. Which sort of paved a path for Lydia’s elopement later on.
I understand that it a time where hardly anybody takes any responsibility of another, but if there is so much wrong that Miss Elizabeth Bennet sees in her sisters and mother that she despairs of, why not do something about it?
Elizabeth for the most part goes on insulting everyone and believes herself not to be vain! Darcy at least was keeping his mouth shut for the most part (though that was insulting in itself as well).
Then, there is Jane who is neither a fool nor immensely wise. She says, “It is very often nothing but our own vanity that deceives us.” She never got her due for being who she was while Elizabeth held the spotlight. With a heavy heart I must say that Elizabeth did not make use of her intelligence the way I assumed she did when I was younger. Saying thus, I must also add that in the face of hard evidence still believing in the yet to be seen goodness in a person is sheer foolishness. Therefore, I don’t know how to categorise this character. This happens to be a couple of instances but the book is full of such examples as far as Jane goes.
This book is about prejudices but not just those held by the characters but by the author herself, as well. Refer to the discussion(s) between Mrs Gardiner and Elizabeth; how people gossip and judge even when they say that is not their purpose of speaking about person(s) or event(s). The same discussion would have been called gossip had it been done by other less important characters but because it is the major character, it is, but, a discussion. The discrimination!
Is there something I have forgotten to talk about? Ping me in here and I’ll oblige.
Saying all that I have, let me also add that even with all these things that I have come up with, I am neither going to be changing the rating I have previously given this book (5 stars) and nor does this book gets removed from my favourites shelf.