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Shvoong Home>Books>Pride and Prejudice Review

Pride and Prejudice

Book Review   by:kanya     Original Author: Jane Austen
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Pride and Prejudice--the classical story of a proud man attracted to an equally proud young woman—also depicted the finest details of the social structure of nineteenth century England. The property laws of the time had dictated that certain properties must be under male control and if the owner was not lucky to have a son, it would pass on to the nearest male relative. Mr. Bennet, an intelligent man was the hapless owner of such an entailed property and a less than intelligent wife. He had the responsibility of finding husbands for his five daughters –and his last three daughters though had beauty lacked the other three brains, bank and birth. The subconscious knowledge that their standing in the marriage market not very favorable made the girls desperate for male company except one –Elizabeth-the second -the heroine of the story. Jane the eldest was beautiful and was to be married first according to the tradition. Her parents were in the lookout for a rich bachelor when Mr.Bingley --an ideal candidate had come to stay at Netherland Park as tenant. The worried father sensing a potential son-in-law visited the newcomer and cultivated a friendship. It led to Jane’s getting an invitation; for a ball at the rich mans place. Elizabeth had accompanied her sister. There, she met the impudent Mr. Darcy –the star attraction of the party exuding the qualities desirable in single man--wealth, looks, education and nobility of birth. The bachelor was Bingley’s friend and his sister’s heart’s desire. Young and intelligent Elizabeth was looking forward to some entertainment at the party. But it turned out to be a test of her patience. The arrogant Caroline - Bingleys sister showed her displeasure openly at her brothers attitude to Jane. She was fiercely protective about Darcy and left no stone unturned to make Elizabeth unwelcome. But her nemesis was the hero himself. Darcy refused to dance with her and hinted that she belonged to a social stratum unacceptable to his taste. The intelligent girl was hurt. She decided to hold herself equally high as the arrogant man but started noticing him keenly. Opportunities followed soon. Jane was visiting the Bingley- residence and had fallen ill there. Elizabeth had to come and stay with the family to nurse her. The dynamic side of the ordinary girl had captivated Darcy. Elizabeth had come spattered in mud –traveling the village road, braving the rain. But while living with rich Bingleys, she displayed no interest in the wealthy bachelor and avoided him deliberately. Darcy was accustomed to female attention and the indifferent treatment had challenged his ego. He started using opportunities to know her better. Deep emotions closeted beneath his aristocratic haughtiness got unlocked and his young heart desperately sought the company of an ordinary girl, gifted with extraordinary intelligence. The fire of passion was ignited but head and heart was moving in different directions –for both the parties. Elizabeth tried to forget Darcy by going out of the way to befriend Mr.
Wickham , a militiaman staying temporarily near her village. Darcy went through a silent struggle and convinced Bingley to move out of the village and maintain distance from Jane. But the outer distance did not cure them of inner turbulence. Few months after, when Darcy chance met Elizabeth at a common acquaintances house, Elizabeth was visiting- it revived with added intensity. He started visiting her regularly. His pride of nobility was fighting a losing battle against his emotion—that demanded the company of Elizabeth, the ordinary girl. Confused and defeated he offered her the honor of being his wife- abruptly and in impolite manner. Elizabeth was shocked and humiliated by the tone of his proposal. She regretted him and showered a tirade of allegations; both real and falsee. She accused him of separating Jane and Bingley and added that even if he were the last man on earth she would prefer to be unmarried than marry him. Confident of his marital worth and desperate in emotion Darcy had overlooked the option of being rejected. The refusal had brought him down and he started correcting his mistakes. Determined to win her back, he wrote her a long letter giving reasons for apparently irrational prejudice against the commoners—the greedy attitude of a certain man towards his sister. Maintaining anonymity he convinced the opportunistic militiaman Wickham to marry Elizabeths foolish sister, who had eloped with him but was unable to achieve the status of his wife without sufficient financial persuasion. Elizabeth had always cherished the intelligent side of Darcy and secretly begged for his recognition. Ego had made her refuse his proposal but she was robbed of happiness. After throwing away the only man, who gave her intellectual fulfillment, a blank was created in her. She left her friends house and tried to busy herself in family matters. In the next meeting both hero and heroine were mellowed. Elizabeth was in Pemberley, Darcy’s own estate. She had come to visit the estate after making sure that Darcy was out and received favorable reports about his nature from caretaker. Darcy appeared unexpected on the scene and played her escort. The forcibly doused passion rekindled in both and led to the entirely predictable ending of marriage. The fiery exchanges between a proud man and an ordinary woman had kept book in forefronts of bookstores for the last 200 years.
Published: August 24, 2005   
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