Thursday 28 January 2016

Reviewing the Classics #1 Pride and Prejudice

Something that I’m constantly wanting to do is read more classic novels. As an English Literature graduate, I have of course read my fair share of classic novels, from Charlotte Brontë to Mary Shelley. But there are many more out there that I have not yet read and would love to read. I thought that keeping a schedule and creating a section on my my blog to review the classics would be the perfect way to give me the motivation to do this! As classic novels are usually quite lengthy, and the archaic language can make them somewhat difficult to get through, I have decided that I will read and review a class novel once every two months on my blog! If you have any recommendations for classic novels that you think I absolutely have to read then please leave them down in the comments! For my first post, I shall be reviewing Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

Goodreads Summary:

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife." 

So begins Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen's witty comedy of manners--one of the most popular novels of all time--that features splendidly civilized sparring between the proud Mr. Darcy and the prejudiced Elizabeth Bennet as they play out their spirited courtship in a series of eighteenth-century drawing-room intrigues. 

When I told my friend that I had got through five years of studying English Literature without once reading a Jane Austen novel she was actually shocked. I actually have no idea how a Jane Austen novel has never come up in my studies, despite having studied novels from the Brontë sisters, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, Herman Melville, Oscar Wilde and F. Scott Fitzgerald just to name a few. I thought that this needed to change! So I have started with what is arguably Austen’s most popular novel, Pride and Prejudice.

I have somehow avoided watching any of the movie adaptations of this book, and the only thing I had heard of it was that there was a character named Mr Darcy who everyone thought was the best man in the world. I have actually heard people saying how they would love to marry a man like Mr Darcy, so I went into the book thinking he would be perfect and have no faults. I was actually shocked that he was extremely condescending and thought that he was too superior to dance with Elizabeth. Why would people say he was the perfect man when I thought he was a huge asshole? I loved that the book instantly had me questioning something and changing my expectations of what the book would be like. It instantly made me understand the title of the book, with Mr Darcy obviously being the pride and Elizabeth being the prejudice.

I always love when two characters hate each other but then grow closer, and even though this is a classic novel I still enjoyed watching that happen. The change that both Mr Darcy and Elizabeth go through to overcome their faults was interesting to read, and I loved that Mr Darcy realised his faults and changed his ways. It gave an important message that people can change, and just because they have done something bad in the past which they obviously regret, they should be given another chance and not have someone constantly bring up the past. I loved that Elizabeth allowed herself to have feelings for Darcy once he showed her kindness and that he could be selfless.

i really didn’t like Elizabeth’s mother, as it was obvious that she didn’t care about her daughters happiness, she only cared about getting them married off. It was interesting to see that to her a woman was worthless unless she had a husband. I found it funny how much she hated Mr Darcy, but the minute Elizabeth told her he had proposed to her, she changed immediately and started saying how tall and handsome he was. I did however like Mr Bennett as he seemed to genuinely care about his daughters, especially Elizabeth.

I did however feel as if there were too many characters to keep up with, and I was getting confused over who was related to who. I did love the main characters though, and I loved how as the book progressed I started to like Mr Darcy and realise why women see him as the perfect man. However, he is not perfect. He has many faults but he tries to work to overcome them which is why I ended up enjoying his character. He is not someone who enjoys attending balls and dancing with lots of women, which makes him come across to some people as being rude and I empathised with him for that. I loved that although he at first saw Elizabeth as an inferior, she soon becomes his equal who he both admires and respects. I loved how his proposal was so different than Mr Collins’ as it was obvious that Mr Collins had no respect for what she wanted at all, and took her refusal of his proposal to mean that she was playing hard to get and that she should keep asking her. However, when Mr Darcy’s proposal was rejected he accepted it, and although he explained why he had acted badly to her, he did not keep trying to get her to marry him, which I loved as it showed he cared about what she wanted rather than being selfish like Mr Collins had been.

Although I am not usually someone who enjoys romance novels, I did enjoy reading this book more than I thought I would. I definitely want to read more Jane Austen books in the future!

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