Monday, November 29, 2010

Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice

After seeing the BBC 6 hour miniseries of Pride and Prejudice earlier this year, I've finally read the book. I now see why many females the world over love this book and story. That said, and given the popularity of the story, I don't think I need to give an overview of the book, but I would like to touch on some of my favorite parts.

I love Mr. Bennet's response in chapter 20 when Mrs. Bennet goes to Mr. Bennet to importune him to force Elizabeth to marry Mr. Collins.

Lizzy enters the room when called by her father..
"Come here, child, " cried her father as she appeared. "I have sent for you on an affair of importance. I understand that Mr. Collins has made you an offer of marriage. Is it true?" Elizabeth replied that it was. "Very well-and this offer of marriage you have refused?"

"I have sir."

"Very well. We now come to the point. Your mother insists upon your accepting it. Is not it so, Mrs. Bennet?"

"Yes, or I will never see her again."

"An unhappy alternative is before you, Elizabeth. From this day you must be a stranger to one of your parents. Your mother will never see you again if you do not marry Mr. Collins, and I will never see you again if you do."

You can't help but love Mr. Bennet for that alone. And then there is the exchange between Mr. Darcy and Miss Elizabeth Bennet at the pianoforte during a visit to Roslings. Elizabeth was playing for Colonel fitzwilliam when Mr. Darcy approaches..
"You mean to frighten me, Mr. Darcy, by coming in all this state to hear me? I will not be alarmed through your sister does play so well. There is a stubbornness about me that never can bear to be frightened at the will of others. My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me."

"I shall not say you are mistaken," he replied, "because you could not really believe me to entertain any design of alarming you; and I have had the pleasure of your acquaintance long enough to know that you find great enjoyment in occasionally professing opinions which in fact are not your own."

Elizabeth laughed heartily at this picture of herself, and said to colonel Fitzwilliam, "your cousin will give you a very pretty notion of me, and teach you not to believe a word I say. I am particularly unlucky in meeting with a person so able to expose my real character, in a part of the world where I had hoped to pass myself off with some degree of credit. Indeed, Mr. Darcy, it is very ungenerous in you to mention all that you knew to my disadvantage in Hertfordsire and, give me leave to say, very impolitic too, for it is provoking me to retaliate, and such things may come out as will shock your relations to hear."

"I am not afraid of you," said he, smilingly

"Pray let me hear what you have to accuse him of," cried Colonel Fitzwilliam. "I should like to know how he behaves among strangers."

"You shall hear then, but prepare yourself for something very dreadful. The first time of my ever seeing him in Hertfordshire, you must know, was at a ball, and at this ball, what do you think he did? He danced only four dances, though gentlemen were scarce; and, to my certain knowledge, more than one young lady was sitting down in want of a partner. Mr. Darcy you cannot deny the fact.

"I had not at that time the honour of knowing any lady in the assembly beyond my own party."

"True; and nobody can ever be introduced in a ballroom. Well, Colonel Fitzwilliam, what do I play next? My fingers wait your orders."

"Perhaps," said Darcy, "I should have judged better, had I sought an introduction; but I am ill qualified to recommend myself to strangers."

"Shall we ask your cousin the reason of this?: said Elizabeth, still addressing Colonel Fitzwilliam. "Shall we ask him why a man of sense and education, and who has lived in the world, is ill qualified to recommend himself to strangers?:

"I can answer your question," said Fitzwilliam, "without applying to him. It is because he will not give himself the trouble."

"I certainly have not the talent which some people possess, : said Darcy, "of conversing easily with those I have never seen before. I cannot catch their tone of conversation, or appear interested in their concerns, as I often see done."

"My fingers," said Elizabeth, "do not move over this instrument in the masterly manner which I see so many women's do. They have not the same force or rapidity, and do not produce the same expression. But then I have always supposed it to be my own fault, because I will not take the trouble of practicing. It is not that I do not believe my fingers as capable as any other woman's of superior execution."

Darcy smiled and said, "You are perfectly right. you have employed your time much better. No one admitted to the privilege of hearing you can think anything wanting. We neither of us perform to strangers."
That scene, to me shows a lot about Mr. Darcy and Miss. Bennet. I love her teasing honesty, and his willingness to stand up to it. Of course, many things go on to happen after that part, and the relationship changes, but through it all, there is that humor and honesty between them that makes Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet two of the most loved characters in a love story today. They are certainly two of mine.

Pride and Prejudice


Sean Patrick Reardon said...

That is some great writing, but to be honest, not sure i'll end up reading it.

Glenna said...

Haha, I do think Jane Austen is predominately a female thing, but it really is good reading Sean. Maybe you could read it with your wife and earn some good brownie points.

Sean Patrick Reardon said...

Not only a great book reviewer, but a wise-ass as well ;)

seana said...

Conversation has come a long way down in the world from Jane Austen's time, is all I'm saying.

Sean, perhaps you could make a compromise and read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. It's actually supposed to be pretty good.

Glenna said...

Sean, absolutely :)

Glenna said...

I agree Seana, and will admit that I sometimes wish I could talk like that. I'm afraid no one would understand a word I said if I tried though.

seana said...

Maybe if you talk really, really slowly...

Philip Robinson said...

The opening line is a classic in itself:
"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife."
I have a daughter who has watched this so many times that she can say the lines along with the actors - a feat she can also do with "Dirty Dancing" and "Grease", so I have some familiarity with the BBC version.
It is a female thing, unless you are male and also think Mr Darcy is a "dreamboat" - but then you might like him better in "Mamma Mia". (Have I got the same version?)

Glenna said...

Philip, I love that opening line, and laugh when I hear it.

"Pride and Prejudice", "Dirty Dancing" and "Grease"...It sounds like you've raised her very well, she has good taste.

I had forgotten he was in Mama Mia, I might have to watch that again just for that.

Philip Robinson said...

I forgot the obvious link with Colin Firth - he plays Mr. (Mark) Darcy in Bridget Jones's Diary!

Glenna said...

I saw that when I IMDB'd him. I going to have to find Bridget Jones's Diary now just for that.

seana said...

Oh yeah, you're going to have to watch Bridget Jones now, Glenna. Firth obviously knew what he was parodying when he played it.

The second one is not really as good, but it has a few key scenes worth renting it for as well, mostly involving Firth or his archnemesis, Hugh Grant.

Glenna said...

Seana, I added it to my Netflix and moved it up. We now have the 2 hour Pride and Prejudice and once I've gotten my husband to watch it with me, I'll get Bridget Jones. Unlike Sean, he has no problem with brownie points.