Pride and Prejudice
Author: Jane Austen (1813)
jusco’s Rating: ★★★★★
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”
I love this first sentence, I really do. It’s so iconic and it rings true (though of course, it takes a little bit longer for Mr. Darcy to come to this realisation). I remember my first attempt at reading this classic novel 3 years ago – much too young to fully understand and appreciate it; I even found it long-drawn and (*GASP*) boring. It was only recently, when I re-watched the 2005 film starring Keira Knightley, did I decide to reread it, for I adored the film for its smart and eloquent dialogue. I’m quite happy to announce that I am now a bit more mature (subject to various opinions) and able to devour with pleasure, one of the greatest – no, I’d say the greatest romance novel of all time: Jane Austen‘s Pride and Prejudice.
At times extremely witty and humourous, at times excruciatingly emotional, Ms. Austen presents a brilliantly insightful study of humans through her legendary characters: foolish and flirtatious, wise and composed, sceptical and sarcastic, stricken and blinded by love, and of course, prideful and prejudiced. The story follows Ms. Elizabeth Bennet – a witty, independent and beautiful young lady – and her unusual relationship with Mr. Darcy – a cold and seemingly insensitive, handsome gentleman. There are plenty of other characters that add to the diversity: the fickle Mrs. Bennet who has decisively mastered the art of overreacting, Jane Bennet (Elizabeth’s elder sister) who can never find fault with anyone, Mr. Wickham and his mysterious past, Mr. Collins and his ridiculous antics, Mr. Bennet and his amazingly structured sarcastic remarks (my personal favourite), and many more. Despite such a wide range, each character maintains his or her own individualistic personality.
But the main stage is obviously set for Ms. Bennet and Mr. Darcy, both of whom start off with a rather bad first impression. I make no effort to hide the eventual ending; after all, Ms. Austen is famous for her romantic and happy endings, so it is rather obvious. But it is the development, the growth of these two characters that truly gives the novel necessary depth. It never ceases to be interesting or exciting. As the two realise their previously unforeseen mistakes, particularly blinded by their pride and prejudice, they undergo a transformation that ultimately decides their fate.
When you read Pride and Prejudice, you are easily swept into 19th century London, quickly facing various important issues. From class and wealth to marriage and morality, Ms. Austen provides a fabulous representation that is very true to that distinct time period. The rich and fascinating backdrop is a perfect setting for the events to unfold, for the characters to interact and ultimately, for love to triumph over all. A must-read.
WARNING: Will draw out the romanticist in you (yes, even the most testosterone-laden guys)