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Sunday, October 23, 2005

cover of Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice is delightful books worth re-reading every couple of years-- and, apparently, worth making into a movie or mini-series at least every decade or so (and much more frequently, of late). It's the classic story of the man (Mr. Darcy) and woman (Elizabeth Bennett) who despise each other almost as soon as they meet (hate at first sight), both on account of their pride, although with differing motivation. But, of course, in the course of the book, they gradually fall in love, and eventually discover that they are actually perfect for each other.

Because I have read this book many times before, I found myself focusing on more peripheral aspects of the plot, and noticing new things. Of particular interest to me was the villain, Wickham. From the description in the book, it seems clear that, not only does he have good manners and seem "amiable"; he must also be incredibly good-looking, because all of the Bennett sisters (even the more sensible Elizabeth) notice him from across the street and are immediately dying to meet him. I also wondered about his lying, when he first talks to Elizabeth-- does he really believe what he's telling her, or is he just an incredibly good deceiver and manipulator? It made me wonder, a little bit, and made him seem like more of a plot device, like Don John in Much Ado about Nothing-- the wicked villain, who is absolutely evil through and through, but without much apparent motivation.

I was also a little more intrigued by Jane than I usually have been; she's too angelic, too good, and therefore a little unbelievable. But I love the relationship between Jane and Elizabeth; they are equals, and love each other dearly, even though they are fairly different in character, and Elizabeth is a bit more clever and perceptive. I particularly enjoyed the scenes when Eliza teases her; Jane is trying to believe good of everyone, and suggests that perhaps they were simply deceived, but then Elizabeth responds that even if that is the case, they must still think ill of someone, because someone caused the deception.

I think it would be fun if a movie version of Pride and Prejudice actually portrayed Wickham as the most attractive man in the film (but, of course, Darcy is the romantic lead, so they always have to cast someone gorgeous). It would also be interesting if the movie could follow Elizabeth's perspective, so that to the audience, Wickham truly seems like the good guy, and Darcy the proud, selfish villain-- until the truth is revealed to Elizabeth. Of course, it wouldn't be much of a surprise, because most of us already know the story. But familiarity certainly doesn't keep a good story from being entertaining.

Title:Pride and Prejudice
Author:Jane Austen
Date published:1813
Number of pages:292
Notes:Repeat reading.


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