Friday, June 28, 2013

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Jane Austen's classic novel brings us back to a time when manners and position ruled more than any aspiration. When women were better seen and not heard, when titles and status covered all shortcomings - this is the world of Pride and Prejudice.

"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife." -This opening line sets the stage for a comic study of romance in the time of nobility; a time when a future meant catching the right man.

Mr. and Mrs. Bennet have given life to five daughters, no sons. In order for the family to sustain, one or all of the girls must marry well. With some less-than-favorable family ties, however, their family reputation makes for difficult arrangements. When rich, good-looking, and high-status men Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy are introduced to the Bennet can be sure the chase is on.

However, the two eldest Bennet girls do not deign to chase after men. Much to their mother's dismay, Jane and Elizabeth care more for adventure and family than status. Mr. Darcy on the other hand, comes across as snobbish and condescending. Can first impressions give way over time to find what lies beneath social decorum?

Always a fan of Austen, it's difficult to put into words why I love her works. As a child, I saw a movie adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, but had no idea what brilliant writing lay behind it. I fell in love with the characters, the times, and the comedy.

As an adult, I've read through this book many times, always finding something new to cherish. Austen had a gift for character and relationship development, and I only wish there were authors like her today. The only thing that comes close is the PBS show, DOWNTON ABBEY.
Happy reading.

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