Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Pride and Prejudice

Oh P&P. I have read this book once in each stage of my adult life thus far. Once in High School (my senior year), once in college (my sophomore year), and now this November after I've left undergraduate studies behind. And I must say... every time I have read this book I've come out with different feelings for it. I suppose that can be considered to be one of the wonders of it. No matter how many times I read it I have a

different understanding. Whether that is because I've matured with each read, I've learned more of the language, or it's been long enough for me to truly forget my past opinion- I'm not entirely sure. I can surely say with a great deal of confidence that this third read of the book was pleasurable.

While in college and High School I was forced to read the book and I thought it to not be a display of feminism as many people have claimed. How could it be with all of these girls running off and getting married to men? Where is the independence and power of being a woman in that?

But now I see it all a little clearly and I deem my immediate prejudice of the book from years passed on the fact that I had been forced to read the literature as opposed to picking it up willingly. I cannot clearly state why I had such a sudden interest in reading this book again, but I did and for that I am thankful because I am now left with a renewed interest in Jane Austin as a person and author.

I feel two things are certain. Elizabeth Bennet reflects my character the most while Jane's character of finding out as much information as possible before concluding to a true opinion of something I also hold. Elizabeth is head strong and mouthy, she's willing to stand for her right's and dislikes when women are fools (IE: her own mother and sister Lydia). In all honesty I wanted to strangle both characters through out the read and I have the belief Elizabeth partially would have reflected my feelings. While I used to look up to her in my past reads then begin to dislike her as soon as she 'settled' for Darcy I saw it differently now.

It took much thinking on her part, a lot of reasoning, and she had to have him ultimately prove himself to her. It wasn't just a change of heart as I had seen it when I was younger. Darcy tried many a times to prove himself to Elizabeth after his initial proposal and slowly Elizabeth changed her opinion of him. I feel I would have done the same quite possibly. Despite that she ultimately settles down to be married it is still a feministic scene because it is all left up to her decision. Darcy tries and tries for months but it does in fact take months before Elizabeth see's who Darcy truly is. Even then it takes time before she realizes she could be happily married to her. All in all, it is up to her to make the decision and she was fully capable of opposing Darcy again. She chose not to and with that she held the power.

My favorite portion of the book, or rather my favorite part for years, has been the mentioning that after Elizabeth is wed to Darcy her father makes frequent visits. I don't know why that would always make me so particularly happy; it's quite possibly because I have a soft spot for the father.

It is truly amazing how different a book can look to someone after a couple of years and the difference of conditions from how the person is reading it. This is a timeless book which even in this day people can relate to and understand. There is the pushy obnoxious mother looking to marry off her daughters, the quiet observant father who knows best, and almost every type of female 'character' within the five daughters. A studious one, a follower, a boy crazy one, a caring one, and of course the head strong one. You can find these type of characters in todays society without having to look hard and for that I feel is the reason this book has lasted as such a popular piece for so long.

I'm impatient to continue reading my other Jane Austin books!

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