Pride And Prejudice 6 Essay, Research Paper
Pride and Prejudice: Is it possible?
The novel Pride and Prejudice, written by Jane Austen during the nineteenth century, describes the trials and tribulations of five sisters of marrying age. The story is based in England around the turn of the century, and upon careful review, we find that many of the events do not reflect the time period. The relationship between Elizabeth and Darcy, and the Lydia-Wickham affair, are not realistic. Despite the fact that the novel is fiction, it is questionable that such events could take place.
When Darcy first lays eyes on Elizabeth after she is pointed out to him by Bingley, his statement is not that of love, nor of fondness, rather it is one of complete disgust.
She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me; and I am in no humour at present to give consequence to young ladies slighted by other men.
From Darcy s reaction, we can only imagine what he really thinks of Elizabeth, but we are given a very good idea. This is not love at first sight, there is no attraction between the two, there is nothing at all.
Elizabeth has an equal reaction to Darcy. When she overhears the comments he has made about her, she is anything but drawn to the man.
Mr. Darcy walked off; and Elizabeth remained with no very cordial feelings towards him.(pg.12)
The two seem destined to become worst enemies, in fact they seem to become anything but a couple in love, which is exactly what they end up to be.
Soon after their original meeting at the ball, Elizabeth and Darcy s paths cross again. This time it is at the home of the Bingleys where Darcy is staying, and where Elizabeth comes to visit Jane, her ill sister. When Darcy see her this time, his reaction to her is quite different:
he was forced to acknowledge her figure to be light and pleasing; and in spite of his asserting that her manners were not those of the fashionable world, he was caught by their easy playfulness.(pg.22)
I find it hard to believe that his impression of Elizabeth could change so drastically within a matter of days. Elizabeth, on the other hand, has a more reasonable reaction. She made no notice of Darcy s reaction.
perfectly unaware; to her he was only the man who had made himself agreeable nowhere, and who had not thought her handsome enough to dance with.(pg.22)
Elizabeth s reaction is believable. It is the reaction that I myself might have. While Elizabeth stays quite distant from Darcy, Darcy finds himself more attracted to her. By the end of the evening Darcy has grown quite attached to her. While sitting quietly, Miss Bingley asks Mr. Darcy what he could be thinking about so intently. His response is one that surprises Miss Bingley:
My mind was more agreeably engaged. I have been meditating on the very great pleasure which a pair of fine eyes in the face of a pretty woman can bestow. Miss Bingley immediately fixed her eyes on his face, and desired he would tell her what lady had the credit of inspiring such great reflections. Mr. Darcy replied with great intrepidity, Miss Elizabeth Bennet. (pg.25)
Am I to believe that Mr. Darcy has grown from being mildly disgusted by Elizabeth s presence, to being madly in love with her? It all seems quite unbelievable.
More unbelievable is Elizabeth s changing reactions to Mr. Darcy. Once annoyed by his presence, hurt by his rejections, she too finds herself becoming more attracted to Mr. Darcy. While her realization takes much longer than that of Mr. Darcy, it happens just the same.
Elizabeth does not devote her full attentions to Mr. Darcy, and she does have some distractions along the way, mainly her attraction to the mysterious Mr. Wickham. But after all is said and done, Elizabeth always turns back to Mr. Darcy and his allure. Elizabeth never confirms her attraction for Darcy, never comes out and says that she loves him. When Mr. Darcy proposes to her she turns him down.
In vain I have struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you. Elizabeth s astonishment was beyond expression. She stared, colored, doubted, and was silent.(pg.160)
Despite the fact that Mr. Darcy s proposal is refused, his declaration of love forces Elizabeth to confront her true feelings. Elizabeth keeps any and all feelings towards Darcy to herself, never revealing how she truly feels. This all changes, however, when one afternoon Elizabeth is paid a visit by Lady Catherine de Bourgh, Mr. Darcy s aunt. When questioned about her feelings towards Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth is forced to admit how she truly feels.
Whatever my connections may be, said Elizabeth, if your nephew does not object to them, they can be nothing to you. Tell me once for all, are you engaged to him? . . . I am not Lady Catherine seemed pleased. And will you promise me never to enter into such an engagement? I will make no promise of the kind.(pg.297)
Despite her previous statements, Elizabeth does have feelings for Darcy. These are not just feelings of attraction, she has fallen in love with him; something that had previously seemed impossible. And as many stories end, Elizabeth and Darcy profess their love and live happily ever after in his castle on the hill. Yes, it is a happy ending, but is it realistic. How can two people grow from hating each other to falling in love? It is something that does not happen in real life.
Another event that I find to be beyond belief is the Lydia-Wickham affair. Lydia Bennet, Elizabeth s younger sister, runs away with Mr. Wickham a man twice her age. Despite the apparent age difference, and the fact that Mr. Wickham has a history of running away with younger woman, Lydia still runs away with him. It is not the event that I find so unbelievable, as it is perfectly fathomable for a young girl to think with her heart and not with her head, but rather the family s reaction to the event. This is a very serious event. Often times the man would run away with the woman, refuse to marry her, use her, and then leave her. The man would usually be unscathed; the woman however would have her reputation destroyed, be disowned by her family, and with no other option, end up being a prostitute. It is a life altering event. I find it hard to believe that Ms. Bennet is so desperate to have her daughter married, that she is willing to except her running away with an older man. It isn t realistic. Elizabeth is the only one who s reaction seems fitting. She is horrified at the match.
Brother-in-law of Wickham! Every kind of pride must revolt from the connection. He had to be sure done much. She was ashamed to think of how much.(pg. 272)
The rest of the family has a different opinion. They are very accepting, and welcome Lydia with open arms. It almost mocks the seriousness of the event. The family s reputation would have most surely been ruined, and yet they welcome their daughter back? I find it to be very unbelievable.
While Pride and Prejudice is a wonderful book, and it gives us insight into the mannerisms of the nineteenth century, there are many events that I find to be unbelievable even 100 years later. The relationship between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy adds to the fantasy aspect of the fiction novel, but again we are forced to question whether these events are possible. If Elizabeth and Darcy did not fall in love, would we be left wanting them to be? Would we feel something is missing? The Lydia-Wickham affair is completely unbelievable, and it is discussed to lightly to be realistic. The family s reaction is not one that would normally be expected. As unrealistic as the book seems, it may be that The Victorian Era in which the book was set, is so different than the world today, that short of becoming a historian, there is no way that I could fully understand the characters and their motives.