Saturday, July 27, 2013

In Which I Discuss My Impression of Pride and Prejudice

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 Apologies for my lack of post of any sort, but this one has been in the works since I was about halfway through the book. Busyness with life has been a prevalent force in my lack of posts, but this one is finally done and ready. Enjoy, and hopefully you will hear more frequently from me in the near future.
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 Several months ago Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice celebrated its two hundredth anniversary. Fans reread their worn copies, had P&P adaption marathons, did their blogs posts, and paid homage to the classic. I, meanwhile, chuckled a little, enjoyed some posts, and let the date go by relatively unnoticed.

 About four years ago I watched the 1995 adaption of Pride and Prejudice for the first time. I was interested at first, but after a couple of hours I felt like things were being dragged out and the miniseries was too long. Several months later I saw the 2005 adaption and felt like that adaption seemed rushed. I saw the dreaded 1940 adaption and liked it better. I do love old black and white movies, you know. Besides, Greer Garson was Lizzy in that adaption. Ahem.

 So, three movie adaptions later I was not a fan of Pride and Prejudice. Several other Jane Austen movies later and an introduction to Elizabeth Gaskell movies, made me not a huge fan of Jane Austen and a lover of Elizabeth Gaskell. Elizabeth Gaskell's works seemed more realistic. Before you JA fans give up on me, I did watch BBC's 2009 adaption of Emma and loved it. It is still my favorite Jane Austen film.

 In February my writing class teacher gave me a clipping from magazine about an essay contest about Pride and Prejudice. "Okay," I thought, "I'll read Pride and Prejudice and see if I like it in book form enough to write an essay about it." Dubiously I downloaded an ebook of P&P onto my iTouch and began reading it while my sisters and I were driving to get ice cream about a month later. I read a couple of chapters on the way to the store and then several more on the return trip. By the time we returned home I was surprised to find myself enjoying it- I mean enjoying it a lot.

 About two weeks later I was able finish the book. I enjoyed it a lot. The novel carries a charm that does not carry over onto the screen, or it is something that I missed. From the now famous opening line to the closing lines, the book is engaging and enjoyable story, but it still offers some good lessons.

 Lesson number one, and probably most obvious, is that you should not judge people by their appearance. Lizzy takes the appearance of Mr. Darcy and judges him by it, concluding him to be very proud, snobbish, and unsociable. This first conclusion leads her to quickly take the side against him in regards to Wickham's story, without even stopping or being willing to hear the other side. After seeing Darcy in his home territory, Pemberly and surrounding area, she saw a different, much more friendly and comfortable man who was generous and kind, but just and still proud.

 There are other lessons, but I want to talk about the two main characters, Lizzy and Darcy. Lizzy is proud, vain of her "ability" to judge people's character, and looks for the best in people she is determined to like and looks for the worst in people she is determined to dislike. She is humbled when she reads Darcy's letter and then looks back, acknowledging her vanity and prejudice. Darcy, meanwhile, is uncomfortable and distant in unfamiliar settings, he is proud, and acknowledges that he finds it nearly impossible to forgive people who have done wrong, once his good opinion is lost, it cannot be regained. He can be too proud on many occasions and interferes sometimes too much with his best friend's life, though with the very best of intentions, but he does own up to this last bit and is genuinely sorry.

 Yes, so, I am much more fond of P&P than I was at the beginning of the year. The book has a hard to describe charm that the film adaptions lack. I will never be one of those die-hard, continually rereading the novel and watching the film P&P fans, but I did greatly enjoy the novel and will probably reread it again in the future. And for all those who have not read the book but saw the films and did not quite find them to your liking, perhaps you should give the novel a try. You might never love the film adaptions like some, but the novel's charm is at least worth one read.

- Hanne-col

2 comments :

  1. Oh my, Hanna! I just read this review, and why, I am not a huge fan of Pride and Prejudice either!

    The book is really well written, I admit - and so witty and fun, but it never warmed my heart or "captured" me the way everyone keeps raving about. I didn't like the 2005 movie very much at all, and the 1995 miniseries dragged too much.

    In novel form, "Persuasion", "Northanger Abbey" and "Mansfield Park" are my favourite of Jane Austen's novels - they are really beautiful! Emma 2009 miniseries is my favourite Austen adaption too.

    But I also am a huge Elizabeth Gaskell fan, so this made me super happy to read :).

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    1. YES! I am glad there is someone else out there that agrees with me about Pride and Prejudice. It's not that it isn't good, it's just overrated among her other excellent novels. Of all the P&P adaptions, the 1940 black and white film with Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier is my favorite. It may not be the most faithful to the books, but I enjoy it the most and I love how Olivier gave Mr. Darcy's more of a sense of humor. Though, I will confess I plan on giving the 1995 miniseries another shot sometime in the future. It's just so long.

      I haven't read Persuasion or Mansfield Park yet, but those are two I would definitely like to get to this year. So far Northanger Abbey is my favorite.

      And Elizabeth Gaskell for the win!

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