Pride and Prejudice

I think i may have put this off long enough and the time has come for me to make an admission that I really don’t want to make.  For both the 1% Well-Read Challenge and the Classics Challenge I read Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice.  I finished the book a few weeks ago already but haven’t really got to the point where I want to put my thoughts on this book on the web.

Alright, so I don’t think I need to provide you all with a synopsis of this most famous Austin tale.  I think I’m that last living soul that’s read the book.  I’m sure you all have a story you could tell about Austin and a connection to one of her books.  I have no such story, other than being the last person on the globe to read this book.

I’m glad I waited so long to read the book but truth be told I didn’t like it.  Okay, okay, put your stones down I bruise easily.  You’re more than welcome to hate the fact that I didn’t enjoy Pride and Prejudice but hear me out.  It wasn’t due to the writing it was the story itself.  The characters weren’t people I could connect with, they were elitists and, all though I can be a hopeless romantic, the idea of getting married to better your social status is dumbfounding at best or fall head over heals for someone you really don’t know baffles me.

Rather than going on and on about this because I’m sure many of you are gone already never to return after hearing this punk speaking poorly of Austen I’ll just end this post.  If you’ve made it this far would you mind explaining to me what it is you like so much about the book?  Or if you’re like me, and willing to be a book outcast, you could tell me that you don’t like the book too.

On to the next book.  And thanks for putting those stones and rotten food down!


11 thoughts on “Pride and Prejudice

  1. Well, you’re in good company…Charlotte Bronte didn’t like her either, thought her characters weren’t passionate and stormy enough..I’m paraphrasing here. Ralph Waldo Emerson recoiled from her for the same reason that you did; he found her “vulgar”, by which he meant crass and common because of her characters’ interest in everyone’s income. And of course there was Mark Twain who remarked that everytime he read Pride and Prejudice he wanted to “dig Jane Austen up and beat her soundly with her own shin bone” But I have to wonder: If he disliked her, WTF was he doing reading Pride and Prejudice so often? Maybe it’s because he was in a houseful of women…

    I don’t know how I feel about Austen…I was introduced to her work back in the summer of 85 when I took an eight week course on her novels. Six novels in 8 weeks, plus I was taking an American Renaissance class and reading Hawthorne and Melville. So I remember that summer’s reading less than fondly because of the frantic pace.

    Given your reaction to P and P, you’re lucky you’re not here for book group. Yesterday, we decided to read Persuasion by your favorite woman haha and watch The Jane Austen Book Club. Mitzi wanted to read and watch JABC, but some people rebelled and said they’d rather read an acutal Austen novel. It all takes place Sept 7th.

    This comment might be a little long, but at least no sticks or stones or rotten cabbage/kimchi thrown your way!

  2. I quite enjoy Jane Austen, but I can see how others might not feel the same way. I was always a little bit uncomfortable at the fact that Elizabeth changes her perception of Mr Darcy only after seeing his rather large house. There is something not quite right about that.

  3. Of COURSE her characters are elitist. That’s kinda the point. Jane Austen wrote to critique the society she lived in. A fact that is obviously missed by the modern Austen movement.

    Oh, and I don’t really relate to the characters in P&P either. That’s why I think I like Sense and Sensibility better.

  4. P & P is pretty much a neat, tidy little romance novel, so I don’t think you have to hold your head in shame that you didn’t like it.

    As far as why I like the book:

    I like the characters and think that poor Elizabeth’s humiliating family is just hilarious. I like the romance between Elizabeth and Darcy, how it takes her a while to come around to see what a nice, albeit socially awkward guy he is. I’ve seen the BBC and recent American remakes of the book and loved them both. Normally I’m not one to fawn over historical novels, but something about the dresses and the dances and the biggest concern in your life being to find a rich husband just tickles my fancy.

  5. When I read P&P last year, I didn’t get the hype at all. I tried Northanger Abbey and liked it much better. Then I watched the movies for both on PBS and found the movie helped me appreiciate P&P a bit more, but it may have been Colin Firth’s Mr Darcy that helped. I prefer Bridget Jones which is really just a version of P&P. I found the book dragged on so long, with all the silly sisters.

    (Some of those Austen fans are pretty intense. I know why you flet you needed to duck)

  6. I’m a longtime Pride and Prejudice fan, and although I can’t really concur with your opinion, I can definitely see why her works might not appeal to some people. Its not shameful that you dislike her.

    What I think IS shameful are those fanfiction spinoffs of Pride and Prejudice… don’t get me started on those.

  7. I like the social satire, personally. Austen seemed to realize that she couldn’t actually change the rules of the game, and would have to deal with them as they were, but she could at least poke fun at them, which she does with great wit.

    And for what it’s worth, I don’t think it was the big house that changed Elizabeth’s mind, but all the testimonies to Darcy’s character. My biggest problem is reconciling the Darcy of the beginning of the book with the softer, kinder version that emerges later.

  8. I am a continent and almost two centuries distant from Jane Austen but I am happy to say that Pride and Prejudice is one of my favourite books. I first started to read it when I was just twelve years plus but could not read more than a few pages-just did’nt find it interesting. Then I started reading it again a year or two later. That was was way back in the early nineteen fifties when I was studying in Women’s College of Aligarh Muslim University,India.And At my second attempt I found the book just fascinating. In spite of a continent and two centuries distance I could relate very well to the book perhaps because I came from a large family and because the ties between relatives and the neighbours were quite strong at that time. Another reason was that like Mrs. Bennet for most Indian mothers the most important responsibility was to get their daughters married.I can very well understand that for those brought up in these times of nuclear families, and even next door neighbours being strangers in Metro cities, and with live-in relationships it would not be easy to appreciate a book like Pride and Prejudice.

    If I start giving all the reasons why I like Pride and Prejudice so much I will end up writing a book myself. But one reason I like it is that Darcy is a man who does not let his pride and ego come in the way of self introspection and consequent changing himself for the better after Elizabeth’s outburst.

    As regards bybee’s comment about Charlotte Bronte’s not liking Jane Austen either, I would just refer to Virginia Woolf’s cmparision of Jane Austen and charlotte Bronte in her book ‘A Room of One’s Own’.Needless to say that she considers Jane Austen a writer of much higher calibre than Charlotte Bronte.

    Lakshmi Bhargava

  9. jane austin is my favourite writer. she has so good charme writing that you can read her books all day and nevr be tired I love her very very much

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