It is a truth universally acknowledged, that this line is probably one of the most well known in all literature.
Aaah, the classics. Reading one makes you want to sit down in bed with a cup of tea on a window ledge while the rain comes down. OR sit in the middle of a field when the temperature is exactly 70 degrees fahrenheit with a picnic.
OR read it like me when you’re sneezing and coughing and lying with your only friends the water bottles and the tissues.
Yes it’s spring. Yes I didn’t get sick all winter. YES I’M SICK NOW.
A couple of warnings before you might think about attempting to read this book. It is not for the faint-hearted: the sentences are super long and it’s like trying to translate Latin where the noun and the verb are basically 3 lines apart. Also you’ll begin to ship the characters hardcore. And if you’ve read it don’t deny that you haven’t shipped the characters. DON’T DENY IT
Anyways, enough warnings. LET’S GET TO THE REVIEW.
Pride and Prejudice tells the story of Elizabeth (Lizzy, Lizzie, Eliza, whatever) Bennet, who is a witty and relatively forward young lady of the 1800s in England. She is the second daughter in a very, very dysfunctional family with her 4 sisters as well as her two incredibly-bad-at-parenting parents.
Lizzy’s older sister, Jane Bennet, is the kindest soul on the planet – she literally loves everyone and can’t bear to think badly of anyone (it’s almost sickening). Lizzy’s three younger sisters are Mary, Kitty, and Lydia, who get progressively crazier as the age decreases. Mary is a stuck up girl who attempts to do everything and be wise and fails rather miserably. Kitty is weak-minded and follows Lydia’s crazy tramping. And Lydia… Between chasing after soldiers and screaming rudely at rich dudes I’m not sure if there’s anything other than cotton balls in her brain.
(^kinda irrelevant gif but it’s my favorite gif of all time so whatever)
Lizzy’s mother is basically the older version of Lydia: foolish, gossipy, and only focused on getting her daughters married. Lizzy’s father is a truly terrible husband who basically hates all social customs and slows down the process of getting his daughters married off simply because he likes reading more than social events. #parenting101
Anyhow, the story begins with a rich young SINGLE man named Bingley who comes into the neighborhood where the Bennets live, causing a giant freakout because OH MY GAWD IT’S A RICH HANDSOME YOUNG MAN LET’S POUNCE ON HIM AND GET HIM TO MARRY OUR DAUGHTERS EEEEEEE.
I’m not even kidding that’s basically how it goes down. Kind of. Not really. Whatever.
Anyways, Bingley and the Bennets attend this one dance (I forget who the host is) and Bingley brings his friend Darcy. Bingley and Jane really hit it off from the beginning, while Darcy completely offends Lizzy and causes Lizzy to hate him immensely.
Darcy eventually falls in love with Lizzy (good job man), and he tries to woo her. However, Lizzy still completely hates Darcy so it’s a giant mess. Oh yeah, she also gets like 3 other suitors in the meantime (all of which are either stupid or terrible people).
MY THOUGHTS TIME!
Pride and Prejudice is a witty and hilarious book. It’s one of those books that you’ll really enjoy reading while looking like a literary BOSS at the same time. There are light and funny parts where you’ll laugh out loud (unless you’re dead inside), and then there are parts that are deeply profound. The main characters in the book, Lizzy and Darcy, both undergo intense changes where they are forced to confront their flaws of pride and especially prejudice (haha see? see? the title is relevant).
In a way, this discovery of the deep-rooted and flawed nature of prejudice is similar to the lesson of “imagining others complexly” in Paper Towns (you can read my review on it here). Elizabeth’s prejudice against Darcy due to a single phrase that he muttered causes her to be incredibly blind in her judgement of him, his actions, his family, and his relations.
Elizabeth begins to imagine Darcy as a one-sided villainous character and (quite hilariously) misinterprets everything that he says and does. However, eventually Elizabeth realizes how mistaken she was about everyone and everything, and her belief gets shaken.
Prejudice is dangerous – it clouds our judgment and perception. It hurts us and the people around us. Lizzy’s prejudice only affected a small number of people, but what happens when prejudice goes global? Well…
*cough* racism *cough* sexism *cough* classicism *cough*
Good books teach you a lesson. Great books make you discover yourself. The best books help you discover yourself AND change yourself to benefit others. TAKE THE LESSON THAT PRIDE AND PREJUDICE GIVES US.
And now it’s time for my favorite adaptation of the book for people too lazy to read but who still want the nuances and wittiness of the book and who are okay with binge-watching for 24 hours… whew that was a long run-on sentence.
THE LIZZIE BENNET DIARIES!
The Lizzie Bennet Diaries are a web series on YouTube which makes Pride and Prejudice into a modern vlog-style adaptation. You’re probably like yeah, yeah, you probably only like it because it’s YouTube but LET ME TELL YOU A THING IT’S AMAZING.
First of all, the web series stays incredibly true to the book: I would go as far as to say it probably stays truer to the book than the 2005 movie (although probably not the 1995 TV series). Second of all, the actors are amazing and essentially flawless. Third, some of the more minor characters get fleshed out a lot more (which is actually very interesting FYI).
UGH it’s just perfect.
Now go forth and read or watch whatever you want.