Up until yesterday, Pride and Prejudice was the most hated book in my library. In fact, I hated it so much I would have burned it, were it not for the sake of my close friend Katelyn, I would have done so. What changed?
Originally, I had three major complaints against Jane Austen’s legendary masterpiece. These were, to my fifteen-year-old mind, unforgivable grievances, and I simply could not see why some of my female friends enjoyed the book.
1: It has no action whatsoever.
The entire book is filled with balls, parties, conversations, dinners, and women gossiping. The lack of action made it extremely difficult to read the first time in early 2019.
2: There is little character development to speak of.
The only clear character development is that of Darcy, who goes from a prideful, shallow, self-absorbed, and quiet man into the Darcy that sweeps Elizabeth off her feet. Sadly, Austen forgets to develop any other characters, leaving a critical reader feeling rather disappointed.
3: There does not seem to be a clear plotline to the story.
While most stories have a clearly-set goal from the beginning (ie. Lord of the Rings, taking the ring to Mount Doom), Pride and Prejudice seems to lack this important detail. Ms. Austen simply takes you along for a comfortable, although confusing, ride.
These three factors prevented me, as a budding young writer, from re-reading the book. It seemed a waste of time to read again a book I had already deemed as mediocre at best. Thankfully, I was shown the error of my ways by a close friend of mine. She loves the story so much it originally annoyed me, but her constant dedication to its plotline and insistence in comparing me to characters eventually piqued my curiosity. Could it be possible I missed something?
With great apprehension, I returned to the classic novel. At first, I was unimpressed. My opinions of the writing had not changed. It still lacked action, character development, and a clear plotline.
But, as I continued to read, I discovered something: when you look past all of the writing errors that Austen accidentally committed, a lovely and heartwarming story is found, one that is, contrary to popular belief, relatable to both women and men. Through looking past the writing fallacies (which, although some excuse away with Austen’s period of writing, seemed unforgivable), I received several valuable lessons from this story.
1: Love can take you by surprise.
I’m not the only one to learn this. My parents’ relationship started most inexplicably. My dad would visit my mom’s house, but not to spend time with her or her beautiful sisters. No, my dad spent time with my mom’s parents, and through there, he found relationship with her entire family.
In the same way, Elizabeth finds an extremely unique love for Darcy, born through the fires of anger and the cooling waters of forgiveness. Darcy finds possibly the strangest love for the woman whom he calls “rather plain” upon their first meeting. Gradually, his love grows stronger as he finds values upon her that he never saw originally. His pride, however, keeps him from showing this until finally, in an epic climax, he confesses his love to Elizabeth…only to get rejected.
No, this is not how the story ends. There is more. If you’re curious, read the book.
2: Pride is a man’s worst enemy
Obviously, a book with the title “Pride and Prejudice” must contain ample amounts of both adjectives. These particularly describe the Pride of Mr. Darcy and the Prejudice of Elizabeth, the story’s main characters. Darcy’s Pride is, sadly, the cause of Elizabeth’s Prejudice, which brings about my point- Pride is, to a young man in search of love, the biggest downfall. Every single woman you throw your attention upon will find your faults, mostly by accident. Men, if you want even the slightest chance with a woman, make sure to curb your Pride and humble yourself. You won’t regret it.
“Pride is, to a young man in search of love, the biggest downfall.”Tweet
3: Prejudice is also a man’s worst enemy.
Turns out men can have multiple worst enemies. Nothing is worse than finding out that your crush hates you, and for good reason, it seems. She talked to your buddy and you owe him a ton of money. Not only that, your dad told you to give him money and you refused. She hates you so much, in fact, that she refuses to listen to your side of the story and you are forced to write her a letter.
Yes, that’s exactly what happens in the story. I almost felt sorry for Darcy. If it weren’t for the fact that he is, to put it blatantly, a jerk, I probably would have. He completely deserves the Prejudice he receives, although not at the level Elizabeth presents it. If a woman doesn’t like you, you have two choices: find someone else, or engage in the most difficult process of your life in trying to woo her. Darcy chooses the second.
4: Sisters are a woman’s best friend
In the possible event that a woman does not have a sister, close friends will suffice. As Austen shows us throughout the story, women’s relationships are not just important- they are crucial. Without relationship, many extroverted women will somewhat deteriorate, and for good reason. Sisters can be some of the most helpful people in the world, particularly in their advice. This works on both ends, in fact. I am blessed with two little sisters, and watching them grow up has taught me much about women’s minds. Ladies, don’t let go of your sisters. They are valuable.
While Ms. Austen may have melted my heart and possibly removed me from the “man club”, it has taught me several lessons, and I will cherish these until the day I die. If you have not had the pleasure of reading the greatest romance story of all time, I encourage you greatly to do so, no matter your gender.
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