“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” ~ Jane Austen
First impressions. We all make them when we meet people for the first time. Growing up, we’re told we never have a second chance to make a first impression. And in the early 19th century, Pride and Prejudice was a novel that used unfortunate first impressions to show an accurate portrayal of social customs through wit and characters.
I’m not exactly sure when this novel became my favorite. Perhaps it was in college after watching the BBC version of the movie for the first time which whetted my appetite to read the book. Whatever the reason, I’m a “later in years” fan of Jane Austen’s works. Now I have read the novel quite a few times, watched each movie at least once, and I even had a group of ladies with which I would watch the BBC version of the movie once a year on MLK Day. I can’t wait until my daughters are old enough to read the book!!
About Pride and Prejudice:
P&P (as I will affectionately call it) was published in 1813 by Jane Austen and has become her most popular work. This is a cheerful book that explores themes such as manners, education, class, morality, and the search for self. Pride and Prejudice was published after Sense and Sensibility. In fact, the book did not even refer to Austen as the author, but stated: By the author of Sense and Sensibility.
Elizabeth Bennet is the main character in P&P and she is witty and intelligent. She is surrounded by four silly sisters (except the eldest), a dramatic mother, and a satirical father, who loves her dearly. Lizzy’s mother has one goal: to get her 5 daughters married. This becomes the catalyst for conflicts, miscommunications, and humor.
While this is a fun book, it causes one to ask questions such as…what does Mr. Bennet actually do for a living? What do these people do all day but sit around, read books, drink tea, and gossip? If you look at the adult characters, Mr. Collins, the rector, is the only one who seems to be employed, which is ironic because he is one of the most laughable of characters.
Because there is a clash of first impressions, one isn’t quite sure who the good guys are versus the villains. Once you figure out who is who, and you wade through the truth versus the lies, then you see how truly good the good are, and how abominable and self absorbed are the others.
Why I love Pride and Prejudice:
I have always identified with Lizzy. She is a strong woman of character who is willing to stand up for herself, and her family, despite accusations. She is one who formulates and speaks her own ideas. I’d like to think that I have strong convictions and that I would choose to stand for truth instead of sitting idly as the world goes by. But she has faults that I mirror as well. She is quick to pass judgement on people without knowing all details of a situation. I, too, have that struggle. But this is a story of redemption of character, of love despite the odds, and in the end every girl dreams of having a Mr. Darcy.
Don’t Take My Word for it:
Because this is such a beloved novel, I asked some of my friends and readers to tell me why they love this book so much. Here are their answers:
“She holds out for true love!“ ~ Betty
“Lizzy’s spunky, independent attitude, and Mr Darcy’s determination to show his kind, benevolent side to Lizzy even though she refused him so vehemently. He wins her love by extending love and grace to the people she loves.” ~ Jenna @ Not So Fit Girl
“One of my favorite parts is when Mrs. Bennet is carrying on about her nerves and she says ‘Oh Mr. Bennet, you have no compassion for my nerves.’ And he replies, ‘On the contrary, my dear, they have been my friends these 20 years.’ It makes me laugh. She completely misses her own shortcomings, as do many of the characters, but they remain plain for the reader to see. It is a story that unfolds as the main characters discover and overcome their own prejudices.“ ~ Emily @ Whispers of Wonder
“Darcy’s proposal. That is my favorite part always.” ~ Rosilind @ Missional Call
I even have my husband enjoying this book with me and we have our own jokes as we quote to each other from the book. If you haven’t read it, you need to.
Complete Guide to Teaching Jane Austen from PBS.com
Chatsworth House (used for Pemberley in film)