Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice is the most popular of Austen’s novels and the most re-told. Therefore, when I first read it quite a few years ago I was determined to not like it! When I look back on my feelings of the book, I thought Elizabeth Bennet was selfish, rude and not at all a heroine for women to be proud of. Now that I have read the book a second time, I am rather ashamed.

I think the reason the plot has translated so well to all sorts of different fan fictions and adaptations is because it is a story that can be believed in the modern day. Elizabeth Bennet is the second eldest in a family of five sisters. She is a good natured, pretty young woman who knows her own mind and is not afraid to show it. On first meeting the rich and exceedingly proud Mr. Darcy, she takes an immediate dislike to him, but who would blame her after he insults her quite openly? This dislike is carried on through most of the book, even as Mr. Darcy’s feeling towards her change.

When Elizabeth meets Mr. Darcy again in different society and gradually becomes more acquainted with him, she is confused by his changed attitude towards herself and his more pleasing manner with other people. Wondering whether she was too soon to judge him, she is upset by the idea that she might have wronged him by spreading rumours rather than facts about him to her friends. It is a story that we see all the time in films, books and real life; two people from very different backgrounds and situations in life trying to overcome their prejudices.

The characters are also quite easily found in today’s world. There is the annoying, nosey, loud and obnoxious mother who is constantly mortifying Elizabeth and her gentle older sister Jane. There were many times while reading that I wanted to shout at the drama queen mother, ‘SHUT UP!’. Jane Austen does have a certain talent for creating the most irritating and horrible characters. In the youngest sister you can find the flirt of the book, Lydia. She is her mother’s daughter, chasing after officers and being generally selfish and unladylike. More likeable characters such as Jane and Mr. Bingley, who according to Elizabeth are absolutely made for each other, cannot so easily be found in real life, but an Austen novel would not be the same without a couple of sensible, kind characters.

I can see why Pride and Prejudice has captured the hearts of many generations of women and can fully understand why Mr. Darcy is such a heart throb. Elizabeth Bennet is a favourite character among many and I tell my younger self off for not realising it! I think she is the most realistic of all the Austen heroines I have yet read about, with just enough spirit to excite the reader without being unkind or selfish. I am quite sure we will be seeing many more portrayals of her and Mr. Darcy in the future and look forward to it!

If you fancy discovering the world of Elizabeth Bennet, click the picture below to buy the book.

22 thoughts on “Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

  1. I love your take on the way you’ve reviewed this, it’s so refreshing! Especially the way you have linked why it might still be so popular today. 🙂 I am very new to exploring the ‘classics’ and Pride and Prejudice was the second one I read because of it’s known popularity.

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  2. This is my absolute favorite Austen only made more so after watching Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy in the BBC adaptation. Like you said I think its enduring appeal lies in the fact that it is as believable today as it was when first written. It’s fun to identify a Lydia or a Mrs. Bennet or any of the other characters in a social gathering! It’s surprising how little has changed in all this time.

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  3. I was determined this wouldn’t be my favourite book but it actually really is! I love that Elizabeth Bennett is a bit of a tomboy, walking miles across fields and getting muddy 🙂 I watched the BBC 1995 adaptation of the book this week (again) and love it just as much as ever, though it’s a shame it doesn’t expand on the end where the book gives much more detail. I’ll be interested to read your thoughts on the different dramatised versions.

    I’m on Sense and Sensibility at the moment – I started reading it before Christmas but got distracted and so started it again this week. Persuasion is next on my list 🙂

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    • I know, I really can’t understand how I could ever have disliked it! I’m hoping to have a Pride and Prejudice Adaptations 1995 vs 2005 post up soon. I have to admit that I much prefer the 1995 TV series.

      Enjoy Sense and Sensibility! If you get a chance, try the 1995 film of that, it’s very good. I’m just about to finish Mansfield Park and also got distracted over Christmas, but have been really enjoying that!

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  4. Hey, thanks for checking out my blog!
    My wife is reading Jane Austen, and I’m reading Wuthering Heights. Wondering if you recommended any great film versions of these books. We love to watch books in film, after we read them.

    Thoughts?

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    • Hi 🙂 Which Jane Austen is your wife reading? If she likes Sense and Sensibility, take a look at what I thought of two adaptations https://bundleofbooks.org/2011/12/27/adaptations-sense-and-sensibility/ . I’m also going to put up a post at some point in the next couple of weeks about the two Pride and Prejudice adaptations I’ve seen, but I’ll let you know now that it’s the 1995 TV series that I preferred. It was amazing!

      I’m afraid I wasn’t too keen on Wuthering Heights, but it looks as though there has been a recent film http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1181614/ I’m not so sure about the trailer though! I’d be interested to know what you think!

      Good Luck!

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      • Ha, this has been my week! I’m trying to get back into the swing of things…my wife is reading Jane Eyre, not a Jane Austen book…sorry;)

        After reading Heights I’m not sure a film adaptation can match the book! It’s pretty incredible.

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      • Oh right! In that case, have you tried the 1996 film adaptation of Jane Eyre with Charlotte Gainsbourg? I really liked that one when it first came out. I have seen a more recent BBC mini series from 2006 which was outstanding. I would definitely recommend that one! There is also a film that was released in 2011 which I haven’t yet seen. If you get a chance to watch that one, let me know what you think!

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    • I suppose because it is so popular, you have a lot of expectations when you read it a first time. This time I appreciated it a lot more! (Also, maybe I have just grown up a bit and understand it’s subtleties more!)

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  5. You have highlighted one of the things I love most about reading Jane Austen. You do pick up on different things each time, and react differently as you grow older.

    I haven’t time this month but I do plan to reread Pride & Prejudice next year.

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