I don’t like romance stories. Just walking through the romance section of a bookstore and seeing the covers of two lovers about to passionately kiss makes me cringe and want to gag. HOWEVER. I’m obsessed with Pride and Prejudice and allow it to be my one exception. The first time I read Pride and Prejudice I fangirled way too hard over Mr. Darcy and was ready to make t-shirts that said “I ship Lizzy & Darcy”. The second time I still fangirled way too hard, but also shifted my focus to some other less shallow topics.
I enjoy reading classic novels, primarily because a lot them have issues that end up revolving around misunderstandings (I’m looking at you Hunchback of Notre Dame). In this case, it’s resting bitch face.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen follows the story of Elizabeth (Lizzy) Bennet. She is the second of five daughter of a family with little wealth. Her mother wants them to marry rich, and jumps at the chance when two rich and eligible bachelors come into town. This results in the encounter and acquaintance of Lizzy and Mr. Darcy. She ends up hating him because he acts like he’s too good for everyone, and he’s standing around shy and unwilling to make an effort to participate in activities.
First impressions are important, but are they ever accurate? Mr. Darcy is actually a very sweet human, but he suffers from resting bitch face. He’s shy and keeps to himself if he doesn’t know anyone, which results in him being seen as prideful (being super rich doesn’t exactly help his case). Meanwhile, Lizzy judges people based on their appearance and demeanor (aka the title. Amazing). Basically almost everyone in the book is judging everyone for the wrong reasons and everyone is being seen in the wrong light.
Except Miss Bingley and Lady Catherine de Bourgh who are actually horrible people.
Despite my aversion towards romance, Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorite novels. It covers important sociological issues such as class struggle and gender expectations. Plus, it’s not aggressively a love story. There is a love story, and I’m obsessed with it and get super giddy about it, but ultimately it’s about a young woman who realizes her own prejudices and how they’ve obstructed her view of society. At first you agree with all her apprehensions. But as the story continues, you both learn how being pessimistic and stubborn and even prideful can get in the way of seeing people for who they really are.
Yes, this is still a love story. But more importantly, it’s about self-discovery, and learning to be humble and putting aside one’s pride. And if you happen to be into both, then this is perfect for you.
“Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinions of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us.”
“The more I see of the world, the more I am dissatisfied with it, and everyday confirms my belief of the inconsistency of all human characters, and of the little dependence that can be placed on the appearance of either merit or sense.”
“But the misfortune of speaking with bitterness is a most natural consequence of the prejudices I had been encouraging.”
“When I said that he improved on acquaintance, I did not mean that either his mind or manners were in a state of improvement, but that from knowing him better, his disposition was better understood.”