Pride and Prejudice

I have recently been told on this blog that I write nonsense. I agree - I certainly do that, at least some of the time; some of the things I write may be worse than nonsense, and so please, dear readers - few that you are - please accept my apology for the nonsense and worse I spew and continue to search out what good you may seem to find in my writing, which it seems is your wish to do. Today I wish to discuss Jane Austen's literary classic Pride and Prejudice. I do no believe I mentioned my reading of the book here before, but for the last several weeks I have bemoaned its torture both to myself and others while reading it for English class and now have almost finished. I quite despised the story from the outset, feeling the book purposeless, self-absorbed, and perhaps worst of all contained within a villainous microcosm of history that ignores the massive injustice of the time to be found without. Well past the halfway mark I was still very reluctant in my reading; despite some changes in the story I was absolutely inscensed at having to read about the trivial features of a vile and spoiled "society" sitting at the top of oh-so-beloved England's system of iniquity circa 1800. Beyond that, it could be said that I just didn't like the writing either. Much of Austen's style was and still is befuddling, if not annoying - but, just like Mr. Darcy, I have changed quite a bit. As I read on in the latter half of the book, my exclamations became much reduced. Calling P&P "the worst book I've ever read!" turned into "the worst book I've read all year" to "an ok book." Now I openly admit to liking it and will profess my change of heart as soon as the opportunity presents itself in literature class tomorrow. How did my opinion change? For one, I found few allies (two) in my lamentations about reading the book, and you can bet none of them were female. Now I will enjoy redeeming myself for those I complained to and I doubt my former fellow sufferers will feel much betrayed. Much more importantly, however, Pride and Prejudice has turned in my mind during its course from being preoccupied with English society to the point of suffocation to being a simple and quite cheering love story. I have just finished the chapter in which Darcy and Elizabeth finally make their mutual feelings of affection known (as a result of Lady de Bourgh's ironic role) and although I know they'll become engaged at the end I really want to know how everything will play out and how wonderful it will all be down to the last detail. My problems with Austen's prose still stand, but these are minor and are almost entirely due I'm sure to the time in which she wrote. The revolting stories of English society have passed, as I said, and as to the book's elitism, this again is due only to the situation in which Jane Austen happened to be born. I have satisfyingly relegated that last issue of mine to purely a problem of setting, and my appreciation now for P&P is founded on its plot. I think I have really grown to love the story because of how lovely eveything is turning out to be, but there may also be the fact that I see a little of my own experiences in the story, and I see a lot of myself in Mr. Darcy. When you think about it, the basic ideas of unfounded first impressions and of love lost and then won again are certainly not original, but Pride and Prejudice is the classic to enshrine it all for the mass of humanity to be touched by it. I won't hesitate in saying the book makes me think about my possibilities for love in the future. I certainly am not bounded by the "sensibilities" of marriage in late 18th century England. I can only hope I'll find someone who can help me overcome my own stupid pride and hope we won't be separated by some stupid prejudice. (Image: some happy realities of 18th century England - entirely absent from P&P)