Every well-read woman (and I imagine some men too) has a special, undying love for Mr. Darcy. He is the ultimate. Handsome, rich, and kind of an asshole. But an asshole who is willing to change for the one he loves! Okay, so he is super fictional and you will never find him in real life no matter how hard you look, but he’s real enough to make you give it a try anyway. He isn’t such an impossibility like trying to find a sparkly vampire or a ripped werewolf. Darcy is human with faults and issues to overcome and he does it for love.
I read this book for the first time in high school English class. I found it dreadfully boring…until that moment when Mr. Darcy proposes to Elizabeth the first time. Despite his un-gentlemanlike manner, all of a sudden it was riveting. I didn’t see it coming at all. They were so at odds, I totally thought as much as Lizzy did that he simply despised her and then there he is proclaiming his love. Totally hooked me and I flew through the rest of the book, hating on Lydia for being such a foolish slut and obsessing about when Elizabeth and Darcy would finally get together. Of course they did and it worked out perfectly for everyone.
I’m not a big fan of Austen in general. I’m more a fan of the idea of Austen. The idea of that time when to be middle-class meant you wore silly dresses and sat around all day doing needle-point. Perhaps you would go out on a call or someone would come visit you so you’d have someone outside of your immediate family to talk to and drink tea with for fifteen minutes. There was nothing you could plan for or amount to except for hoping that you would marry well. Well meaning that your husband had enough money to support you and your future children and hopefully he wouldn’t be too beligerant or unbearable. We can try to imagine that. Some people romanticize it I guess, but I don’t see much glamor in it. The only plus is that Mr. Darcy exists in that world, but seeing as he’s already taken… Well, I wouldn’t want to go back and risk ending up with a Mr. Collins. And no matter how bored we say we are, we can never be as bored as a woman in that time sitting in a straight backed chair all day, staring at fading wall paper. Boring. No thanks. But the idea of it is still fascinating – to imagine that people really lived that way and didn’t have choices in life or a twitter account. It’s almost as distant as imagining life in Narnia or at Hogwarts.
So we have the book to read, but generally what we want to do when we need a Pride and Prejudice fix is watch Colin Firth strip down and jump into a lake. Seriously, that miniseries is my favorite thing that takes six hours. I still get excited whenever Mr. Darcy appears, anxious and angry when Lydia runs away with Wickham, and choked up when Darcy shows how willing he is to do anything to secure Lizzy’s happiness. And really…Colin Firth is just the hottest Mr. Darcy there ever could have been. For real.
And then we have the lovely Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. I simply love that the title describe precisely what the book contains. Pride and Prejudice….and also zombies. As I have very clearly established in the past few blogs, I love books about zombies. And since I also love Pride and Prejudice…it was just perfect. I laughed consistently the whole way through and upon re-watching the miniseries the other day I found myself confused when Charlotte wasn’t turning into the undead. The Bennett sisters as martial arts experts bound to protect England from those foul creatures – simply hilarious. The characters remain true to their original form and the plot continues surprisingly accurately. A truly excellent read.
I don’t have any interest in reading any fanfiction style “sequels” to Pride and Prejudice. The book is so wholly satisfying. Elizabeth marries Darcy and they live happily ever after. That’s how I want to envision it. I don’t want any more conflicts, I don’t want them to disagree or quarrel, I want her to play the piano while he smiles and I want them to have beautiful children who will also grow up to be rich, well-respected men that girls will swoon over and beautiful, polished ladies who will have their choice of rich men.
Pride and Prejudice is the perfect romantic story. And I don’t even like romantic stories as a general rule. But this tale is timeless and riveting no matter how the world has changed since then and it makes me happy every time I read or watch. We all want to find our perfect match. And it sure would help if they could be as hot and rich as Mr. Darcy.
What does it mean to you?
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith