Sunday, September 4, 2011
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Second chances are wonderful.
This is the first book in my project of Rereading the Classics.
This novel is a machine of ingenious plotting . Nothing is wasted -- not a sneeze or ribbon purchase. Carriages are always pulling up and gossipy people excitedly disembarking, moving the story along.
The impetus to the plot is that Bennet sisters need husbands. And, Mrs. Bennet, their ignorant pushy lively mother, is both the strongest force for this, as well as one of the strongest obstacles. At least she always understands what’s at stake.
The book is a serious of scenes and locations in which our hero Mr. Darcy and our heroine Elizabeth, who have a bad first meeting, are constantly thrown into contact with each other. The plot is woven so skillfully into the story that the reader doesn’t question why three men, Mr. Bingley, Mr. Collins and Mr. Wickham, who are all connected to Mr. Darcy, then become intimately connected with Elizabeth, do not know each other. Mr. Bingley introduces her to him, Mr. Collins provides an opportunity to meet him again, and Mr. Wickham gives Darcy the chance to do Elizabeth a really huge favor.
The characterization is also perfect, leaking down to every minor character. The dialogue fleshes out the characters, for there really is not any description. If Jane Austen were alive today, she’d be writing for television.
Darcy thinks he’s better than everybody else and Elizabeth is too eager to let everybody know she thinks they’re absurd. These weaknesses are the flip side of their strengths.
The place names are great, Longbourn, Meryton, Netherfield Park, Rosings and them of course, the pinnacle, Pemberley. I think if you read a hundred throwaway romance books, you would recognize the connections to this book.