A review of sorts. I try to read this classic once a year. I am a Janeite–a fan of all things Austen. Pride and Prejudice is my favorite book to read. I even started collecting different editions of the book. Why own multiples of the same book? That’s how much I love it. This year’s reading I found some new things that left an impression.
Nearly half way through the book Mr. Collins says, “My dear Charlotte and I have but one mind and one way of thinking. There is in everything a most remarkable resemblance of character and ideas between us. We seem to have been designed for each other.” This hit me during my read because I never before connected with his character but I feel that Mr. Collins and Charlotte are a great couple that are completely overshadowed by Elizabeth/Darcy and even Jane/Bingley.
Are we all not looking for someone we share similar interests with? I read somewhere recently that as we age we tend to seek out friendships with individuals that are able to identify with the stage in life both parties are experiencing. As we grow so do our friendships, molding and changing along the way.
The next selection is another oversight on my part. I never found Mary (one of Elizabeth’s sisters) anything but dry. During my latest reading I found myself chuckling at something Mary says to her sister, Lydia. Lydia and Kitty just returned from fetching Jane, Elizabeth, and Maria from Mr. Gardiner’s home in London (the Bennet’s uncle). Lydia is telling the others about her trip on the way to pick up her sisters and tells Mary that she wishes she had joined Kitty and her. Mary replies, “but I confess they [pleasures of the journey] would have no charms for me–I should infinitely prefer a book.” Austen writes that Mary’s reply to Lydia was a solemn one but I imagine Mary capable of a bit more sarcasm–Mary, just a girl after my heart.
Austen’s characters are timeless, even today you can identify with them. Jane is the eldest Bennet girl, quiet and sweet. If I were a Bennet sister I would be Jane. This quote about Jane describes me fully. “But her mind was so busily engaged, that she did not always know when she was silent.” I think that Jane is often labeled as quiet when a better term would be pensive.
Elizabeth has many qualities that I identify with but the one I relate the most to is demonstrated in this quote: “think only of the past as its remembrance gives you pleasure.” She, like myself, does not dwell on what has happened.
“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, nor to worry about the future, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
― Gautama Buddha
This last quote before I end is Darcy recounting to Elizabeth when he fell in love with her. It is a perfect end to one of my favorite books.
“I cannot fix on the hour, or the spot, or the look or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun.”
― Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
I tried many moons ago to read and understand this book and it was lost to me, it was not until I experienced a bit more life that it had an impression on me. If you’ve tried to read this novel before and failed, I say, try again in a few years before completely giving up on it.