I think it’s kinda little funny that I didn’t actually get the ‘prejudice’ part of the book’s title until I finished it. Then I put it down, lay back, and actually thought about it: ‘Ohhh! Darcy was prejudiced!’ Or maybe it’s meant to be more over-arcing than that — an observation of society at the time — who knows.
You’ll have to bear with me, because I never really learnt how to dissect books. School was a bit backward like that: I learnt how to speak Elvish, but actual critical textual analysis… not so much. I also never learnt how to ‘grammar’ either, by the way (which is why you might sometimes see some ‘odd’ idiosyncrasies in my writing style). It’s kind of fun though, inventing your own grammar as you go along, not held back by rules nor regulations or run-on sentences! [... -S]
Anyway, back to Pride & Prejudice, a book about smouldering, slow-burning passion. It’s all about Darcy and his interactions with Elizabeth — it’s told from her point of view of course, but the entire chemistry relies on the catalytic import of Mr Darcy. I dog-eared every ‘fiery’ exchange (of which there are many) and about 90% of them are between Elizabeth and Darcy. The rest of the book, when Darcy isn’t about, actually falls a bit flat.
There’s a period of about 50 pages, half way through or so, where not much at all happens. Well, stuff happens, but it doesn’t involve Darcy — it’s the few chapters after Bingley and his entourage return to London. We’re suddenly thrust into a life of… mediocrity. Lydia hits on some boys. The other girls help their mother. Blah blah blah — I was actually bored until I realised that Pemberley is in Derbyshire: so Elizabeth is going to bump into Darcy on his own stomping ground… here we go then!
The rest though; the rest is magic — from the moment Darcy delivers that fateful letter to Elizabeth while treading the grounds of Rosings. Elizabeth’s growing love for Darcy is so damn smooth and delivered so naturally (or realistically) that we soon find our love for him equal to hers. Yes, by the end I was nursing a serious crush on Darcy. Surely I am not the only boy to experience, as the final exposition takes place, some rather intense, er, feelings? If I had to fault their love (I suppose many would call this one of the greatest love stories?) it would have to the forced circumstance or mitigating factors of their relationship: Elizabeth’s hatred for Darcy at the beginning of the book is completely over the top. Sure, Elizabeth is meant to be ‘wild’ (another point that is really driven home early on), but it just feels forced. I guess Jane Austen needs to get us to a valid ‘start point’ for the love story as quickly as possible — perhaps she wanted to write the falling-in-love portion, and didn’t want to simply start the book with Elizabeth already hating Darcy? At least with the introductory meetings/balls at Netherfield we get a lot of the Jane/Bingley storyline — actually, after Netherfield, the story makes way for Elizabeth and Darcy, so I GUESS the story is actually crafted rather well.
How about that, you were just treated to an internal monologue.
Something should be said about the ye olde English too. Chuse, shewn, staid, to-morrow, twelvemonth! Then the grammar and punctuation — God, it’s pretty crazy. Em dashes everywhere (and double em dashes, which I’d never seen before), semi-colons used as commas or periods, depending on the clause (see, I make it sound like I know grammar, but I don’t really) — and my personal favourite, exclamations not marking the end of a sentence: God! if only Darcy had shewn his true colours in the first twelvemonth of our mutual acquaintance. I haven’t seen sentences like that since Shakespeare — not that I’ve read many classics mind you.
If I felt authoritative on the matter, I’d give this one 9 out of 10 — as I don’t, and I’m not, I will simply recommend you read Pride & Prejudice.
I’m going to try and share a few of my choice snippets from the book (I’ve already done a few on Facebook). Maybe I can ‘microblog’ them, not on Twitter, but here… hmm!
Next book: Catch-22