Thursday, November 1, 2012

On 'Pride and Prejudice'

Jane Austen was first introduced to me by the 2005 movie adaptation of Pride and Prejudice starring Matthew McFadyen and Keira Knightley. I was very much drawn to the story that I almost read the book. But being not much of a reader then, the temptation was not enough to overcome my indolence and induce me in doing the act. I satisfied myself by watching more films and miniseries based on the other works written by Austen such as Sense and Sensibility, Emma, Persuasion and Mansfield Park. I felt like by just knowing the story through these adaptations, I could pass myself off as an Austenite. Haha. But when my group in Goodreads decided to have P&P as the book to be discussed for the month of October, I knew it to be my perfect motivation to finally, truly, be acquainted with Austen's fictional world.

Originally, I only saw P&P as a love story between a man and a woman of different classes in society. They weren't much in love at the beginning because of misleading first impressions but eventually grew on each other after realizing these first impressions to be untrue. This, I got from too much watching and swooning over Matthew McFadyen's version of Darcy.
(Photo below was shamelessly taken from a site during my fangirling days teeheehee)

Not so romantic scene in the book but too much for the heart to bear in the movie!

However, upon reading (and multiple viewing of BBC's 1995 miniseries adaptation starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle which is more loyal to the book), I figured that it focused on the different characters, their merits and flaws, and the society of that time. P&P is set in 18th- and 19th-century English countryside.

What a perfect pair to play Lizzy and Darcy!
I liked the book, yes. Austen's storytelling is witty and enjoyable. To my surprise, it is also easy to read--a good thing because it somewhat diminishes my fear of the classics! Though the language, filled with words which are now considered archaic, can be quite difficult and even required me to re-read passages, it just needs a little getting used to. Once I got the hang of it, transporting to Longbourn/Netherfield/Pemberley came easily. I stood at a corner in one of the balls, cringing at Lydia's boisterous behavior and wincing at Mrs. Bennet's outspoken manner of broadcasting her matchmaking schemes. I put up with the blabbing Mr. Collins with his rehearsed speeches and profuse compliments. I laughed with Mr. Bennet as he ridicules his silly wife and daughters. I witnessed Darcy and Lizzy's battle of wits, admiring them while keeping the score.  I despised Mr. Wickham after learning all the lies he spun. I giggled as Darcy lost his composure when caught by surprise of Lizzy's tour to Pemberley (think Colin Firth!) I rejoiced when Bingley finally made his proposal to sweet Jane. I raised an eyebrow to the neighborhood's comment that the Bennets are the most unfortunate when rumors of Lydia's elopement spread, which so rapidly changed to the Bennets being the most blessed when Jane became engaged to a gentleman with five-thousand-a-year! And I cheered Lizzy on as she fends herself against Lady Catherine de Bourgh's insults and slanderous accusations.

Pride and Prejudice attempts to capture the social scenario during Jane Austen's time and I dare say she did a magnificent job. (This isn't called a classic for no reason!) Her themes transcended time and her ideas so intelligently put that I can't help but admire the way she dissected pride, vanity, civility, among others, through heated debates between the two main protagonists. I confess I found those parts dragging at first but after times of reading again and again, I found some sense in me to somehow have my own interpretation of it. Even her characters transcended time and place. In fact, the arrogant leading man who is all goodness inside and the stubborn leading lady who speaks her mind and unconsciously draws guys towards her are characters still very much used today.

Now that I have finished my first Austen and found it agreeable, I'm determined to devour more of her books in the future. Who knows, I might become a legit Austenite!

Rating: 4/5


  1. Classics rock! There are a lot of classics that are surprisingly easy to read, and this is one of them. And oh, this reminds me that I have to see the 2005 film adaptation. There has been a debate on who's the more convincing Mr. Darcy, and I want to know which part of the fence should I be siding. :D

    1. I might read Little Women next. Or Atonement. :) I like both Matthew McFadyen's and Colin Firth's takes on Darcy. Torn pa rin ako until now! HAHAHA Do watch the 2005 adaptation and tell me what you think! :)

  2. Oh how I remember how you fangirled over this.:D

  3. Waaah. Matthew McFadyen is sooo gwapo! Better than Colin Firth! I have to see the 2005 movie adaptation! :)

    1. Haven't seen the 2005 adaptation but already kilig with Matthew (first-name basis!)? How much more if you've already watched his take on Mr. Darcy!! :D