Wednesday 3 March 2010

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Pages - 407

Challenges - Awesome Author Challenge

'Pride,' observed Mary, who piqued herself upon the solidity of her reflections, ' is a very common failing, I believe. By all that I have ever read, I am convinced that it is very common indeed; that human nature is particularly prone to it, and that there are very few of us who do not cherish a feeling of self-complacency on the score of some quality or the other, real or imaginary. 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 actually feel I need to take myself in hand and scold myself for the fact that it has taken me so many years to actually open the pages of this book. How adorable and wondrous was this book?

I am not going to retell the story, because I feel that it is as old as time, and one so well publicised through film and TV adaptation. Even without picking it up I knew it was a love story involving Elizabeth and Darcy. Yet it was so much more than that, it was singles night in the 1700's. Ladies to the left, gentleman to the right, pick your partners and away we go.

I absolutely adored Mr Darcy and shall forever fight in his camp. I think he is the most misunderstood character of all time. He admitted his wrongdoings and went to extreme lengths to repair the damage he had created in order to win the hand of Elizabeth. Personally, he had my consent by the first marriage proposal, but that may have been due to the visions of Colin Firth playing the character. However, I completely understand Elizabeth's reaction to his proposal and if I didn't fall so easily for good looks, I would have given him what for too. In that day and age, speaking to man like that, would have probably resulted in more repercussions than occurred, but Darcy took it on the chin and vowed to change her mind.

Some of the characters within the book, were mind numbingly stupid and would have received sharp words from myself. Lydia, what a frivolous and immature young girl she was. She deserved to end up with the rogue of the male admirers. Mrs Lucas, what an unfortunate mother figure, for her five girls, whose only role in life seems to be obtaining husbands for her girls and don't even get me started on Mr Collins, their cousin. What a pompous ass he was,and far to full of his own self importance, which he only had because of his association with Lady Catherine.

The whole marriage process within the 1700's fascinates me. Imagine accepting a marriage proposal within weeks of knowing someone. In today's society, we would dismiss these whirlwind relationships as five minute wonders and bound to end in disaster, yet in the 1700's this was the norm. The couples accepted each other completely and lived with the faults that came with time through a marriage. The fact that everyone married in order to better their financial situation in life, would be seen as immoral now. Women who marry in this way are presumed to be gold diggers, yet their ancestors would not even grant a dance to man who didn't have at least his own country estate.

I was pleased with the way the book ended. I knew that all the right couples would end up together in the end. I did wonder whether Jane and Bingley would become married, as their relationship had been spoiled by so many different people. It was lovely to see Darcy come riding in like a knight in shining armour and reunite the couple in love.

I really did love this book and will be over the moon to read more of Jane Austen's books, though I have been told that this is the best of the bunch. Is there a better Jane Austen book out there?


  1. I have not read Persuasion but it is my fav story, so give that one a go :D

  2. No still not conviced about reading this but you put a very powerful arguement.

  3. This is one of my favorite books! I am glad you finally got to read it. As to the marriage process in the book being fascinating: I only knew my husband for a few months and got engaged. But then I consider myself old fashioned and I would love to live in the time of Jane Austen:)

  4. I have always found MR. Darcy to be grossly misunderstood as well -- although I had a student this year that never forgave his lack of manners at the first Netherfield Ball.

    I have not read all of her books yet, but it is on my "list of things to do before I die"

  5. My kids gave me the unabridged audio book of P&P (read by Emilia Fox) a few years ago and I listened while reading the actual book - very enjoyable. Great review!

  6. I love P&P and Mr. Darcy! :)

    I have not liked any of the other Austen books as well. People often mention Persuasion, but I found the male "protagonist" to be an absolute bastard and I hated him.

  7. I love Persuasion! I am stunned that Amanda does not. I want to reread that one soon.

    I agree about Mr. Darcy. As the story is told from the female point of view, it's easy to misconstrue his attentions. Actually, SOMETIMES I'll read the book and think that Elizabeth doesn't quite know how good she has it, personality-wise, when she ends up with him.

    And I love Austen for the snapshot she gives us of life in that period. Though I think a lot of people marry for similar reasons now, just maybe not as blatantly.

  8. I like your review, your point about arranged marriages and marrying for money are so true and spot on. I loved Pride and Prejudice alot, but it;s still the only Austen book I've read.

  9. I love this one!! Glad you enjoyed it too. I think Darcy and Lizzie's love story is just the sweetest. I LOVE how in the end he tells her 'it was all for you'.
    The mom cracks me up, and I always wonder how the dad put up with
    I also liked the bond between Lizzie and Jane.

    Persuasion is my second favorite Austen. One of the best love letters in literature is in that book. Jane Austen really knew how to create the perfect heroes in her books. I think if you liked Darcy, you'll like Wentworth.

  10. I'm glad you enjoyed it! I really did too, but it's actually my least favourite of the Austens I've read to date.

    The marriage thing is fascinating and horrifying, isn't it?

  11. I am one if those who considers this the best of the bunch and I agree that Mr. Darcy was misunderstood. When I re-read this as an adult I thought Elizabeth was being deliberately obtuse and just willfully ignoring what was obvious. Lucky for her, she came to her senses.

  12. Blodeuedd - I may try Persuasion next.

    Petty Witter - You must try it. It really surprised and I really did enjoy it.

    Andreea - realising your love for books set in that time period, I got the feeling that that time period would suit you.
    I have nothing against getting married quickly, I just think it gets such bad press now, where as the process is as old as the hills.

    Molly- you student cracked me up. Just think soon you will be over here and able to visit the musuems of our most famous English authors.

    Mary - I am always envious of people being able to use the audio versions of books. I just can't concentrate.

    Amanda - Yay Mr Darcy! I am intrigued by Persuasion now. I do like a bastard!

    Aarti - perhaps a read a long of Persuasion is needed. I think Mr Darcy has become my literary hero.

    Jen - thank you. This is the only one I have read so far.

    Naida - I forgot about the relationship between Jane and Elizabeth. I want to read Persuasion now and soon.

    Nymeth - I can't wait to read the rest. The marriage situation in those days was at least straight forward, but I am happier to marry for love rather than status.

    Nicole - you are right about Elizabeth. She was very lucky not to lose him. Not many men would put up with a woman talking to him in this way and still be interested.

  13. Yay!!!

    Really, I don't think of P&P as the best. I've read them all multiple's how I'd rank them:

    Persuasion/Northanger Abbey/P&P
    Mansfield Park

    However, even the ones that I don't love quite as much I still love more than many other books I read. ;)

  14. I finally posted my review yesterday. I'm glad you loved the book. The whole marriage process IS fascinating, isn't it? I'm not sure if I'd say Mr Darcy is misunderstood. At least not for me. Many Asian stories involve a guy who is distant and aloof but a real softie and gentleman inside, so he felt very familiar to me since he first appeared.

  15. Oh I adored Persuasion. You should read that one next. In fact, *I* should read that one next, too.


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