Pride and Prejudice

By: Jane Austin

Miss Elizabeth Bennett is the second daughter in a family of five girls. With no sons to secure the family estate upon the death of their father, Mrs. Bennett hopes to secure her children in marriage so they will not end up destitute.

Soon the family has the fortune of meeting the very amiable, Mr. Bingly whose excellent breeding, social skills, and economic status leads Mrs. Bennett to hope that one of her daughters will catch his eye. With him come his two sisters and a friend by the name of Mr. Darcy, a man of few manners and even fewer words.

Slighting Elizabeth when he is told he should dance with her, Mr. Darcy soon earns the Bennett family’s dislike. However, the proud gentleman can’t help but find himself start to slowly fall in love with Elizabeth, much to her disdain.

I have loved the Pride and Prejudice movie starring Keira Knightley for years, and I have also seen part of the mini-series created in the 90s starring Colin Firth. Worrying that the language was going to be too dense for me to understand, I avoided reading the book but kept a copy of it on my shelf…just in case. Much like with Fahrenheit 451, I decided I wanted to try to read it even if there were gaps in the style and language used. Turns out, yet again, that it wasn’t as hard as I thought.

Overall, I feel that the movie did the book quite a lot of justice, especially with regards to the flow from scene to scene and the number of quotes used. However, like with any movie, there was a lot that got missed that I never knew about until I read the book.

For starters, Mr. Darcy appears much more empathetic from the beginning of the movie. In the book, throughout the first half, he’s detestable and completely unlikable. Both Elizabeth and the reader’s feelings develop naturally and gradually for him over the course of the story.

How much time passes in the book is also completely missed. I always thought it was only a few months that the timeline of the story took place. It was actually about a year that the entire plot develops giving much more weight to each part of the story. Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth also spent more time around each other and Mr. Bingley with Jane than is ever noted in the movie. In the movie, it kind of just looks like insta-love.  I’m guessing the T.V. series probably bridged this gap much better and showed more of the smaller details. I’ll have to go back and watch it.

Given that I already had an affinity for the story, my bias may have made me want to give the story a higher rating. The ending wasn’t quite as sappy as I had hoped, but, again, the movie took liberties.  Regardless if I’m biased or not, this is a classic and it deserves attention and admiration in its own right.

Jane Austin was a great writer of emotion and dialogue. She also had a way of making her characters feel like real people (either completely dislikable or lovable). I can imagine that, as the novel gained in popularity, it probably shocked and awed many people for being so well written. I laughed and smiled many times while reading it.

May I have as much courage and strength of character as Elizabeth Bennett, and may I have as much wit and good humor as Jane Austin.

Overall rating: 5

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