Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Musings on Pride and Prejudice

Most people look at Pride and Prejudice and simply see a sweet love story. In truth, that’s how I saw it from just the perspective of the movie. Yet, upon reading the book I have found that it goes far deeper then that.


Pride and Prejudice is simply a story of well... pride and prejudice. (Wow... I know... I was able to figure that out. Three cheers for Olivia!) It shows the folly of making hasty judgments, that people are not always as they seem, and that there is almost always more then what meets the eye. The lesson to be gleaned from reading the book is that being humbled can be just what we need and to carefully guard the premises on which opinions are made.


Personally, I found the book to be in one word: refreshing. Something about that time so long ago when things were so different… where women were generally treated with respect, where there was public dancing that was the cool kind, where people drove carriages and would walk to places, and when you would go to visit people for extended periods of time and it was nothing but normal. It was a time when things were simpler and people weren’t always hurrying from one activity to the next mindlessly, but they enjoined each other’s company and staid busy in the most peaceful sort of way. To step back into that time through the eyes of Jane Austen was delightful.


Another difference in the time that I did not notice until the end of the book was that the physical expression of romantic love was never expressed by so much more then the looks in their eyes. No mention of so much as characters holding hands was so much as hinted at and in a world where even the “Christian” romance talks about the physical side, it was missing here. Love was shown through words and actions and at times the expressions on your face. The endearing happiness and success of a marriage did not depend on the fact if they were a good kisser, and in an over sexualized world, it’s again in a word, refreshing.


In our culture no one so much as bats an eye when hearing of a couple living together before marriage. It happens so often that even Christians simply go “it’s sad” then move on. Yet, in the culture of England in the 1700s, the idea that a couple had run away together and were not to be married was a sure way of bringing shame and ruin unto entire families. It was talked about with the highest feelings of disgrace and disapproval and even pity. It struck me as an bold difference and as a single of how far our world has come from the days where immorality were disgraceful and purity a crown.


I love how the books talks about how the love between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, especially on Elizabeth’s side, was not one of love at first sight but as Jane Austen would put it, the affections were based off of gratitude and esteem. There was a sense of admiration, especially to Mr. Darcy’s feelings for Elizabeth that was not lust but instead the highest esteem for her as a person, particularly her sharp mind and playful spirit.


I do believe that the reason why so many have fallen in love with Jane Austen’s most famous novel is for two major reasons: one, it portrays a beautiful love story. And two, it takes us back into a time that is so different from ours that we are curious and entranced by it. The beautiful writing style of Jane Austen, her vibrant characters, intricate plot, and talent for storytelling has won hearts, including mine.

7 comments:

  1. Awww...Now I need to go and watch the movie again and read the book (probably neither will happen BUT I might try). Seriously, P&P has always been one of my favorite movies/stories because of all the things you listed above. I think there are a lot of lessons that can be learned from it especially when it comes to relationships! Love it :) It has definately won my heart as well :)

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  2. OLIVIA!! I'm actually right in the middle of reading this book! haha, and I also find it to be very refreshing! Good review of the book, I totally agree with everything you said about it, and I liked some of the different observations you had like making judgements too quickly on people and the morality issues that out culture now deals with...good thoughts:D

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  4. Love it! This book is a favorite of mine and I love the witty banter and the way they fall in love.

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  5. I know I'm rather late to comment on this one! Just wanted to point that that as much as I love the book and movie, the woman had more time to visit friends etc because they weren't actually running the household. They had servants to cook, wash, clean...I know not all families were like that at that time, but those mentioned in the book certainly were.

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