★★★★★/★★★★★ Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.“
It is also a truth universally acknowledged that this is one of the most quoted quotes of all time. Oh the English language!
This novel follows Elizabeth Bennet, her family, Mr Darcy, Darcy’s friend Bingley, and how love eludes them due to social status, jealous family members, an opportunist soldier, and an arrogant and uptight aunt.
Anyways, top reasons to read Pride and Prejudice:
- The witty dialogue.
- The characters being smart asses and having too much pride and prejudice to actually solve anything, so they end up just running around each other like headless chickens.
- The mother and father in this story are the opposite of each other, together they make the perfect comedy duo.
- Some of the most hated characters of all time, Wickham and Caroline, plus Lady Catherine de Bourgh, as well as the stupidest of them all, William Collins.
- It speaks of education and morality quite freely, even thought it was written at such an age.
- It depicts the role of wealth and class very accurately.
- A woman makes the decision of who she wants to end up with no matter how pressured she is by her mother.
- The main characters go through a well developed character arc, hence they mature throughout the novel.
- It is perhaps the best “happily-ever-after” novel ever published.
- There is also a runaway that causes everyone to have to adapt to it, stopping my OTP here to be together sooner.
“Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us.”
I hope those were enough, I wanted to keep adding but I did not want to make this review be a list. Now, what is the best part of this novel? The bloody characters that are so magnificent that one can only love them. Elizabeth is a prideful person. Ha! I got you there, see it is often thought that Darcy is the prideful one, because of who he is an acts, however, Elizabeth has pride in herself, she deems herself to be better than Darcy because she does not believe others to be inferior, therefore contradiction herself. Darcy is a prejudiced man, at the beginning at least. His character arc is him trying to overcome this view as he falls in love with someone of lower disposition than himself. The reminder of the Bennet family are a bunch of crazy lunatics! Lydia and Kitty are out of control, I despise them. Mary is the most boring person, in fact she would have been perfect to marry cousin Collins. Jane was too pure for this world, I felt so sad, she is so shy and keeps her emotions hidden too well. Mr Bennet is an old man that has most ironic sense of humour ever, what a treasure. Mrs Bennet is the smartest member of this family. Know why? Because she knows as soon as old Mr Bennet dies, her daughters will have no one that will want to marry them in a society that saw women the way they did, so she goes through great pains trying to get them all to wed before it is too late, she sort of succeeds, although not really. Bingley is too good natured, and falls for Jane but is unable to decipher her, and falls into the control of others, very disappointed in him. Wickham made me want to vomit, maybe because I already wanted Lizzie and Darcy together and then there he went getting involved and saying things I disagreed with, luckily his ending was the doom he deserved. And lastly Charlotte, this poor girl sees herself as a burden to her parents, and as such decides to marry for financial stability instead of love. She is the voice of man women at the time, and is never condemn for this by Austen, which I was very glad for.
“He is a gentleman, and I am a gentleman’s daughter. So far we are equal.”
Much like Jane Eyre this novel deals with wealth and class of the time, using it as a very strong plot device that works brilliantly. Bingley and Darcy are extremely wealthy men of the upper class, Jane and Elizabeth are “gentlemen’s daughters” but whose father is way below the pay rate of both these men, as well as they have an uncle that is a businessman that is not of similar stature to them either, hence class and money is an obvious divide for these two young couples. Bingley however does not care for this at all, he sees the good in people rather than getting a feel of their character via their social background, Darcy is the complete opposite. He views standing in society as a priority, and there is a scene in which he is speaking to Elizabeth about something that I will not spoil, and he lists how unworthy she is meant to be because of her family, but sort of kinder than how I put it, but still extremely cruel.
Knowledge is the other big theme, and one I am rather fond of. Lizzie is a very educated woman despite never having a governess, but rather because she sought to better herself, despite the restrictions put upon her sex. Darcy is obviously well educated, and has very high standard on what he wants for a wife, a partner as equal as him, so as to not belittle himself. This is the basis of their relationship, through their beginning hatred, they have discussions and conversations that lead to them seeing each other as compatible partners. They respect each other, and that is the main glue of their relationship.
So if you want a book about people that had nothing better to do than gossiping, horrid dating, an upper class setting, characters that make stupid decisions but then solve them, an entitled old lady that comes to rain on everyone’s parade, a self-absorbed and stupid cousin that is the epitome of butt kissing, and a hilarious married duo, this book is for you.
How can someone not love Darcy:
“I have been a selfish being all my life, in practice, though not in principle. As a child I was taught what was right, but I was not taught to correct my temper. I was given good principles, but left to follow them in pride and conceit. Unfortunately an only son (for many years an only child), I was spoilt by my parents, who, though good themselves (my father, particularly, all that was benevolent and amiable), allowed, encouraged, almost taught me to be selfish and overbearing; to care for none beyond my own family circle; to think meanly of all the rest of the world; to wish at least to think meanly of their sense and worth compared with my own. Such I was, from eight to eight and twenty; and such I might still have been but for you, dearest, loveliest Elizabeth! What do I not owe you! You taught me a lesson, hard indeed at first, but most advantageous. By you, I was properly humbled. I came to you without a doubt of my reception. You showed me how insufficient were all my pretensions to please a woman worthy of being pleased.”