Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

 

It seems like  the characters in a Jane Austen novel don’t have much to worry about. But Austen’s characters don’t have it that easy: without a good dose of social skills and emotional resilience they get killed long before the finish.

Pride and Prejudice revolves around the love adventures of the five Bennet sisters, and especially to those of the elders, Elizabeth and Jane, who have a lot to do with their worshipers (the arrogant Mr. Darcy and smiling Mr. Bingley). Firstly, is for the sisters and their husbands an excellent observation and interpretation ability required. Without the ability to open conversation once before you are well and truly engaged, becomes any social gathering an emotional minefield of subtle hints.The danger of misinterpretation of these hints is effectively demonstrated by Darcy, who Janes friendly behavior towards Bingley as indifference designates and with this, brings their romance in great danger.

Also essential are good manners, read: respect for others, even for those lower down the social ladder than yourself. With Austen bad things happen to people without good manners. Lady Catherine de Bourgh, Darcy’s aunt and the most senior yet rudest character in the book, sees her long-cherished wish for him to marry her own daughter go up in smoke. Darcy’s own attempts to win her only start to pay off as he abandons his arrogance after a disastrous first proposal and gets a more warm, polite and respectful attitude.

Of course, Darcy’s change has something to do with the behavior towards his love for Elizabeth, but the persistence of that love is dependent on a third important feature: the ability to honestly and objectively look at yourself. When Darcy is confronted by Elizabeth with his unacceptable behavior, he responds not resentful or angry, but he sees his mistakes immediately. On the other side, Elizabeth is also confronted with herself. “Until this moment I never knew myself,” she thinks as she realizes how much she has been guided by a wounded ego. And she is willing to be honest with herself, and to revise her opinion of him.

Pride and Prejudice is not really material for sweet, predictable chick flicks, as you might expect. The plot, which is full of intrigues, lies and misunderstandings, only at the end comes together like a perfect puzzle, like in a detective. Also, the book is full of high social comedy. But on an emotional level the novel seems most like a hard action film, where explosions and natural disasters have been replaced by the dangers of personal and moral shortcomings. Austen only gives you the finish line – a happy marriage – with blood, sweat and tears. It is a disaster, with love.

 

Justina Abdalla

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