“I cannot fix on the hour, or the spot, or the look, or the words, such laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun.”
I have tried to read P & P before but I never quite got past the first few pages, let alone an entire chapter. The language at the start is a little tough to get used to, but once you do get past that first chapter it begins to look like poetry. Austen creates a unique voice for each of her characters, and you begin to realize who is speaking before you even get to the “he said” “she said”. Like I said before, once you get into “the groove” of Austen’s language and her writing style, it is hard to leave the world of Elizabeth Bennett at the end of the day.
The language aside, at the heart of it, this novel is a bit love in all it’s many forms. I must confess that I had seen the movie prior to reading the novel so I had a bit of a heads up as to the plot. As is usually the case, not everything was in the movie as was in the novel and vice a versa. I was pleasantly surprised to see the turmoil that Elizabeth Bennett feels upon realizing she is in fact in love with the very man she swore she could not stand even more fleshed out in the novel. Even though there are a quite a few “love stories” within the novel, Jane and Mr. Bingley, Miss Lucas and Mr. Collins, Lydia and Mr. Wickham; the story at the center is ultimately about Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. These names are now so widely known that you even mention Mr. Darcy and I’m sure a few women go weak in the knees.
I must say that, thus far, Elizabeth Bennett is my favorite female protagonist. She is a strong willed woman who will be damned if she lets the whole of society tell her how to behave. This is not to say that Elizabeth does not conform to the role she has been placed in as a woman in this time period, but in the ways of love she knows that she has to make her own decisions and even goes so far as to refuse a decent marriage proposal because she can not stand the man. Her father says, of her final proposal;
“I know your disposition, Lizzy. I know that you could neither be happy nor respectable, unless you truly esteemed your husband; unless you looked up to him as a superior. Your lively talents would place you in the greatest danger in an unequal marriage. You could scarcely escape discredit and misery. My child, let me not have the grief of seeing you unable to respect your partner in life. You know not what you are about.”
I flew through this book and am very happy that it was on the list, since that reason forced me to pick it up for the umpteenth time in the first place. I can honestly say that I am excited now to read all of the other Austen novels that are on “The List”, and if I’m not mistaken all the big ones are on there. Austen has a way of sucking you in to the world that she creates and you are not disappointed on the other side. She writes strong female characters that any woman can relate to and male characters that see those strengths and do not shy away from them. She is a beautiful and brilliant writer and I can’t wait to say that I have read all of her books.
(On a side note; I have never read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. I have heard that its quite hilarious and maybe once the list is complete I shall pick it up.)