Monday, July 17, 2006

P & P

"Upon the whole... I am well satisfied enough. The work is rather too light, and bright, and sparkling; it wants [i.e. needs] shade; it wants to be stretched out here and there with a long chapter of sense, if it could be had; if not, of solemn specious nonsense, about something unconnected with the story: an essay on writing, a critique on
Walter Scott, or the history of Buonaparté, or anything that would form a contrast and bring the reader with increased delight to the playfulness and general epigrammatism of the general style". - Jane Austen on Pride & Prejudice...The most read and re-read novel in the English language.

Mrs. P writes: "...Anyway, on to Eliza Bennet and FitzWilliam Darcy. The authoress of the piece you cite brings up Eliza's curious remark of liking Darcy more when she saw his home Pemberley. Many readers take this remark as proof that Eliza's a gold digger after all. But to do that, in my humble opinion, is very illiberal and a complete injustice to the complex characters Miss Austen has created..."

The Mayfair take: My Dear Mrs. P, as we know, Miss Austen's work is one concerning human nature, viewed though the window of a small provincial section of English society. These, of course are not romance novels, they are character studies. Miss Bennet isdefinitelyy not a gold digger, the story is one of misunderstanding due to bad first impressions. (Notice the title, the original title of the novel was "First Impressions") Later, as the characters of Eliza and Mr. Darcy come to know each other, and understand their true feelings for one another, their opinions of one another change from the initial impression. In modern parlance Eliza felt that Mr. Darcy was a snobbish, stuck-up prick, and Mr. Darcy thought Eliza a bumpkin and a gold digger. While at Mr. Darcy's home, Eliza is impressed by Mr. Darcys polite behaviour more than the display of his wealth. She would not sell herself for money and position, and Mr. Darcy realizes his attraction to someone who could care less about his money and titles, but is only interested in whether or not he is a good man. His first proposal, which was refused, was so condescending and rude, that any one with a modicum of self respect would refuse. She was angry at him for his attitude toward her and her family. Again, in modern parlance, he acted as though he was doing her a favor. Although in his defense, can you imagine Mrs. Bennet as your mother-in-law? Mr. Darcy just did not understand women, and in choosing Eliza, he had more than met his match.

So I believe you are correct, in my humble opinion. Does anyone else see this differently? Anyone? Anyone?