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Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice:


Please be aware this review contains spoilers, read at your own risk. 

Pride and Prejudice: the canon of English literature. It’s a text that transcended time, and which will likely to continue. It’s the creation of Mr. Darcy – every reader’s fictional lover. It’s the text that sets into motion the turbulent tale of a cross-class relationship, whilst bringing to life the average day for a Regency woman. Pride and Prejudice was the very first classic I ever read for pleasure. I won’t lie and say I enjoyed every single minute of it – I had to read a summary after every chapter in order to understand what was happening, and I also found it very difficult to get into it. But with a little perseverance, I can now say it’s one of my favourite novels of all time.

One thing I loved about Pride and Prejudice was the sense of community, more importantly that sense of family, that was embedded in very aspect of the novel. The dynamic of the Bennet family was a weird, yet equally endearing one. The patriarch, Mr. Bennet, was a laidback and somewhat withdrawn figure – he is passive when it comes to his crazy wife and children. The matriarch, Mrs. Bennet, is a fickle being, bent on marrying her children off to rich bachelors. She’s quite an irritating character; I often found myself wanting to fling my book across the room every time she talked, but I had to restrain in order to prevent book damage.

The five sisters were all the antithesis of each other. Jane, the eldest, was a neutral character. Easily liked, and most probably the only normal one of the bunch. Her natural beauty and kindred spirit is what makes the an endearing characters, and, luckily, that doesn’t go unnoticed. Mary is over-scrupulous and very withdrawn; I feel like there is a hidden depth to her – I was disappointed when she hardly appeared in the novel, and when she did it was only to swoon over the disagreeable Mr. Collins. Lydia and Catherine are the most distasteful characters, Lydia being the worst. Both are very self-involved, girlish, naïve when it comes to men, and quite frankly, are some of the most immature girls in literature. Finally, Elizabeth, who is my favourite. She’s intelligent, sharp witted, challenging and just really lovely. Combined all these characters together, you get a wonderful portrayal of a universal family. Due the heavy mix of characters, you’re never bored when reading a family orientated scene.

If the chapters weren’t occupied by the Bennet family, they were instead engaged with Mr. Darcy and co. The former is an idealised, romanticised, mysterious, somewhat Byronic figure every reader seems to swoon over – this included me at the start (I’ve obviously learnt the errors of my ways, but I still admire his character). What I enjoy the most about him is his character development. He starts of as an arrogant and proud character, prejudiced against those of a lower-class which is seen through his refusal to dance with Elizabeth. However, as the novel unfolds, we start to see him in a different light. It’s revealed that he acted certain ways in order to protect the ones who close to  him. He’s a deeply caring character, yet is stuck trying to be the man society wants him to be. Have your first impressions on him (get it? Pride and Prejudice was originally titled First Impressions), but don’t let them persist and filter a negative view on him. Not to excuse his behaviour, but I suggest looking at things from a 19th century perspective – this is an aristocratic man, who lives in a society that is governed by strict and prejudiced rules. Is, therefore, his actions justified? That’s for you to make your own mind up.

Taking a step back from the characters, one thing I really enjoyed about Pride and Prejudice was the portrayal of class. Something that fascinates me about reading classics, or watching nostalgic television shows like Downton Abbey, is the outlook on class. It really gives you, as a modern reader, an insight to how much of an important decider class was for relationship, etc. I particularly enjoy reading class-cross relationships, thus meaning Pride and Prejudice is the perfect novel for me. I like to analyse the struggles they go through, the prejudices they receive, and so on. It’s intriguing how scandalous it was, yet in modern times it’s perfectly acceptable. Austen explored class in a interesting way, it wasn’t predictable, yet it wasn’t boring either. This was definitely a defining quality of the novel.

Words cannot describe how much I love this book. It’s completely worthy of its canonisation, and its ever-growing audience. It’s an interesting insight to womanhood, relationships and family in the Regency period. I’m glad this was my first Austen book, and I’m looking forward to making my way through the rest.

Thanks for reading, Lauren Xx


5 thoughts on “Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice:

  1. GAH!! I love this book SO MUCH! I HATED it when I read it the first time, but I revisited, & read Claire Tomalin’s biography on Austen, & I COMPLETELY changed my mind. Austen is CRAZY revolutionary — & yet her novels are also completely delightful to read. Have you read Sense & Sensibility by Austen? That one’s my absolute favorite. I’ve read all her major novels. ❤


    1. I have read Sense and Sensibility, although it wasn’t my favourite. Rated it 3 stars (I think). I’ve just bought her nephew’s memoir on her, so very excited to read it and learn more about Jane herself!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve heard that the memoir is QUITE JADED and tries to make her out to be a perfect angel. I was planning to read that to get to know her, but people suggested I read Tomalin instead…

        Yeah, hardly anyone thinks Sense & Sensibility is her best. For some reason it fits me perfectly. I adore the contrast between Marianne & Elinor. 🙂


      2. Ah, I didn’t know that! I’ll have to give the Tomalin one a go then. I liked the emotional side Austen brought out in her male characters in S&S – very refreshing to see! 🙂


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