Monday, June 7, 2010

Pride and Prejudice - 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." These lines, which stand for everything Mrs.Bennet believes in, nay, depends upon, set the tone superbly for what is one of those most beloved novels of the English language. I read Pride and Prejudice for the first time when I was fourteen and I have re-read it many times since but was always hesitant of posting anything about it on my blog: there was this fear that I might not do justice enough. Jane in June hosted by Misty at Book Rat has given me the perfect impetus to reading this book again and plucking up the courage to write about it. So, this post is in homage to a most beloved book and a most beloved author.

From the very first line Ms.Austen leaves us with no doubts as to the plot of the book. Indolent Mr.Bennet Esq. of Longbourne Estate has a wife and five daughters. Mrs.Bennet is of poor understanding and restraint and the daughters display varying degrees of foolishness. Of this the elder two Ms. Bennets Jane and Elizabeth are an exemption: they are young ladies in whom sense and delicacy of mind are combined. The purpose of Mrs.Bennet's life is to get all her five daughters married. Into their little society in Hertfordshire comes Mr.Bingley (who is intended for Jane by Mrs.Bennet) with five thousand a year and rents the neighbouring estate of Netherfield. With Mr.Bingley's party there comes to Hertfordshire Mr.Fitzwilliam Darcy of Derbyshire, with ten thousand a year. Mr.Darcy though rich and dignified is thought to be arrogant and haughty. It is with him that our protagonist Elizabeth is soon caught in a sparring of words, manners and feelings that has made this novel one of the greatest in the English language.

Pride and Prejudice is on of those books that you can go to again and again and may never tire. Ms. Austen creates such a vivid and fantastic world, such unforgettable characters be it the protagonists or the dastardly Mr.Wickham or that perennially foolish man, Mr.Collins. Pride and Prejudice is gloriously indulgent, sharp as a razor and makes such a mockery of the aristocracy of Regency England. Mr.Darcy is all that one might hate only to desperately love later on. It is amazing, the kind of staying power with which Jane Austen has written Lizzy Bennet's character; even at those times when she is wrong, when she lets pride over power her, there is absolutely no resisting the magnetic force that she has and you are simply swept along on a tidal wave: you are Lizzy. So with Lizzy, you hate Mr.Darcy, hold him in the utmost contempt and then with Lizzy, you start admiring him, fall heads over heels in love with Pemberley and with him. One of Ms.Austen's greatest strengths is that she did not try to create characters that are above reproach. Her's are gloriously human and you love Lizzy and Darcy all the more for their owning of their faults and their attempts to remedy them. So, the question is, who has the pride and who has the prejudice? Or do they contain both in equal and confusing measures? Whichever the case maybe, Lizzy Bennet and Mr.Darcy will always remain one of the most powerful couples that grace the pages of any book for all time and Pride and Prejudice, a book that can never be read or loved too much. One thing though, I shall envy Lizzy Bennet Darcy on the strength of Pemberley alone all my life. Sigh!

9 comments:

Kals said...

I'm glad you picked up the courage to write, because this review is lovely! Great job :)

As for the book, it's one of the books I read at least once a year. It's so timeless and universal that it never bores me. P&P made me the Austen fan for life that I am now :)

Hannah Stoneham said...

What a lovely review. I know just what you mean about reviewing classics - I have a tendency to think eek - what can i add to this? But this is a lovely and interesting review. I think you are right that one of Austen's great strengths is the creation of flawed believable characters who are not totally perfect.

Thanks indeed!

Hannah

Brenna said...

I haven't read Pride and Prejudice in years and now that everyone is talking about it because of Jane in June I feel like I need to pick it up for a reread. Thanks for the review :)

leafonatree said...

I thoroughly enjoy your reviews, and this one is no exception. You have described this beloved book with great care and wit.

Suko said...

Great review of a wonderful book! The 2005 movie of this is also wonderful.

Mrs. B. said...

NOw that you've read the book you must see the old BBC miniseries with Colin Firth. Its the best adaptation of the book.

Whitney said...

That was a lovely review! I'd have no fear of being unjust to P&P if I were you.

Pavi said...

Truly a classic..I've read only Pride and Prejudice of all six and I'm glad I dint miss it..Wonderful review.. do try for the rest five books too..Am sure you'll do a great job:)

Vaishnavi said...

Everyone - Thanks a lot!