Summer Reads: PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by Jane Austen

7 Jul

Long before there was a “YA” category, there were still books young adults loved to read. Personally, the incomparable Ms. Austen has always and will always fit in that category.

 

I first read Pride and Prejudice when I was 12 – and fell in love. Elizabeth, Darcy, Jane, Bingley, Wickham. . .characters that have been replicated for generations now.

 

When I was young, I feel in love with Elizabeth, I saw so much of myself in her and justified her actions, thoughts, and words in everything she did regarding Darcy and those around her. Every few years I re-read the book (sometimes two times in a row because I hated for it to end) and saw the hero and heroine more and more on equal footing – something they both had to come to see for themselves.

 

It wasn’t until a few years ago that I saw the unbelievable – the FLAWS in Elizabeth. How her own stubbornness, judgementalness and a couple other -ness’s kept her from SEEING the man she loved. How her sharp tongue, while entertaining to the reader, was harmful to herself. How being clever is not always as uplifting as being kind.

 

And now…..the literary blasphemy: I love Colin Firth – he will always be Darcy to generations of Austen lovers, BUT, the Darcy I read years ago hidden in the stacks of my Jr High library was not he. Shockingly, as poor as the movie itself was (although I think for a 90min version, it wasn’t horrible, but why bother when the BBC has perfected the story already — oh yeah, money.)  Matthew Macfadyen played a closer Darcy to the one I knew in my heart.

 

That Darcy was not only prideful, but uncomfortable. Strangers, groups, and the woman he fell in love with against his own judgement made him anxious. The Darcy I loved was a combination of arrogance and anxiety. The scene where Elizabeth is playing the piano and he tries to tell her this — that scene was always Elizabeth’s downfall to me. The scene where a proud man lowers his shield away from his heart and feels the lance of her sharp tongue for it.

 

I’m sure your Darcy is even different than mine — So, which Darcy do you love?

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