I must admit that before Oct. I had never read Pride and Prejudice. Now that I have, I think I have a crush on Mr. Darcy!
Do you think my husband would mind that I also have feelings for a fictional character?
On the serious side here are some of the thoughts that occurred to me while reading.
#1 In the beginning of the story, I found the book fairly hard to read. It wasn't the large vocabulary, or the more "old english" way of speaking. I can read that fairly easily. My problem was that Jane doesn't use many "he said" or "she exclaimed" or "they interupted"'s. She just starts a new paragraph with a new set of quotation marks. I found myself having to re-read half a page, a couple of times, just to figure out who said what.
If this hadn't been a book club selection, and I hadn't heard almost every friend I know tell me how "GREAT" of a book it was. I don't know that I'd have gotten past chapter 3. By chapter 5, however, I either got used to it, or it got better in that regard, because that was when I started to get hooked. I had a very hard time putting it down. In fact, as soon as I finished it I read Sense and Sensibility and devoured it just as quickly.
#2 Was the change of times
Man did those people like to play cards! Every time it spoke of pulling out the card tables I laughed. But then I thought, if someone were to document my everyday life, people would probably laugh every time I clicked on the television. At least their after dinner past time could involve some personal conversation.
I also longed to be invited to one of the balls. I have always been a dancer, and I wish that the social balls were still apart of our social life.
#3 I LOVED how Jane pointed out that shyness is often confused for Pride. I myself, have been accused of being "stuck up" by people who have then changed their minds once they got to know me. And even though that is the case, I have thought the same of others, just to find out later that they are frighteningly shy. I think it is usually the case that when someone is thought of as prideful, it is usually that they just don't have the guts to prove otherwise.
#4 On a personal note, I very much admired Elizabeth's spunk. I found her character and myself incredibly alike, however, I am VERY non-confrontational and I hardly ever speak my mind to anyone other than my VERY close friends and family. For her to be so bold with her opinions, especially to the wicked Lady Bourdough, in times when most women of that day would have stayed quiet, or conceded was wonderful to me.
#5 As far as the message about marriage I was surprised by how many things have changed and how many things have stayed the same over the years.
People do in fact still marry for status or money. Some people still stay married even though they aren't at all happy. Some people still try to talk relatives out of the marriage they want. However, I don't think many people would even blink at Lydia and Mr. Wickham's situation. Sadly, there is almost no such thing as a dishonorable marriage anymore. (I however, still detested him and do not hold him in any high regard. The little weasel.) And it is much more likely that people who aren't happy do not stay together. Divorce is no longer looked upon as an evil.
It is fascinating to see where all the differences, or lack of them have taken place. Whether they be for the better or the worse.
The one thing that I think very much still rings true is her point of the book: That the only way to truly be happy is to marry the person you love and not to let the other worldly influences sway you from that.
I was very struck by an observation that was made on the inside cover of my copy of the book:
"The making of a suitable marriage was the great theme of nineteenth-century English literature, from Jane Austen to Charles Dickens, from George Eliot to Henry James. and no one has ever pointed out the pitfalls and stumbling blocks on the way to the alter with more verve, wit and sparkle than the UNMARRIED Jane Austen."
Married or not, I think she, obviously, spent a lot of time watching people and was one of earths true romantics. Like I said, I love Mr. Darcy!