I am proud to say that I have officially read a Jane Austen novel in its entirety. It’s not that I ever had anything against Austen novels – I just couldn’t get into them. But now that I’ve been thoroughly immersing myself in Austen-related things due to the Everything Austen Challenge, I found that I was actually looking forward to reading Pride and Prejudice. I’m so glad I did. I really enjoyed this book. A lot. I may have to re-read it by the end of the year. It seems to be one of those books that you’ll enjoy more and more with every read.
Pride and Prejudice, for those that know nothing about it, is about the unlikely courtship between Miss Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy. Elizabeth is the second eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, and she has 4 other sisters. The Bennet family is not poor, but is certainly not rich. Elizabeth meets Darcy at a ball, where she overhears him insult her before they even meet. Darcy becomes widely known as a stuck-up creep, even though he is wealthy with 10,000 pound per year. Elizabeth and Darcy are stuck in the same social circles throughout a large portion of the novel, due to the romance between Eliza’s sister Jane and Darcy’s friend Bingley. Throughout the novel, their respective egos and false assumptions push them apart but also bring them closer and closer together.
Elizabeth Bennet is a fantastic heroine. She’s sweet, logical, and strong. She is not intimidated by people who are supposedly of a higher ranking than herself, and she has a sharp wit about her. She is, of course, human though and her sensibility sometimes gets in the way of the truth. Mr. Darcy is a great, gallant, and mysterious character. He’s rude and conceited, yet captivating. Both Darcy and Eliza have high standards and strong morals, which is so refreshing in an age where these things are not valued as much as they once were.
The language in this novel, once you get used to it, is delightful. It’s poetic and simple. The novel is almost completely written in dialogue, action, or thought – none of those tiresome paragraphs that describe every little detail in the scenery. I love that Austen seems to poke fun at the “silly”, less studious characters in the story and makes the heroes of the story well-spoken and intelligent. The supporting characters are varied and add a lot of humor and plot to the story – each plays an important part.
I could probably ramble and attempt to articulate my feelings on this book all day long, but that’s unnecessary. Read this book!!!! (But FYI, it’s easier to read once you’ve seen a P&P movie. It helps to envision the characters in your mind as you read. I recommend the BBC version.)
5 out of 5 stars