Wednesday, March 30, 2011

{March Book Review} Back to the Classics!

Pride & Prejudice Jane Bennett, A Woman After My Own Heart
I’ve always been a lover of books and recently I’ve decided to go back and read some of the classics that I’ve forgotten about. When I read most of these books, it was to pass a high school literature exam. I usually wasn't reading for pleasure and thus, hardly enjoying the books. This journey through the classics has reacquainted me with Hemingway- who despite being a depressed alcoholic who took four wives and eventually also took his own life, is able to write the most beautiful love stories and even won the 1954 Noble Literature Prize; Fitzgerald-another troubled man and alcoholic who managed to write beautiful prose; and this month's author, Jane Austen, who gave us Pride & Prejudice. 

The last time I read Pride & Prejudice was my Freshman year English class at Ursuline. I’m fairly certain I resorted to class lectures for content and hardly delved into any of the book's themes and messages. Well this time around, it is completely different. It’s like re-watching Disney or Pixar movies as an adult and realizing all the subliminal messages and adult humor in the movies that completely went over your head as a child. Anyway, in reading Pride & Prejudice with a little more maturity and appreciation, I realize I can completely relate to the character Jane Bennett.

Jane is 22 when the book begins and is often compared to her sister, Elizabeth Bennett (the main character). Without giving too much away, let me get to my point: Janene develops feelings for a young wealthy gentleman, Charles Bingley.

Elizabeth and her best friend, Charlotte, start talking about the budding romance between Jane & Mr. Bingley and Charlotte suggests that Jane should show her affection to Bingley more openly, as he may not realize that she is indeed interested in him. Elizabeth dismisses the opinion—replying that Jane is shy and modest, and that if SHE can see it, Bingley must too, see how she feel.  Here is an except from the book:

It was generally evident whenever they met, that he did admire her and to her it was equally evident that Jane was yielding to the preference which she had begun to entertain for him from the first, and was in a way to be very much in love; but she considered with pleasure that it was not likely to be discovered by the world in general, since Jane united, with great strength of feeling, a composure of temper and a uniform cheerfulness of manner which would guard her from the suspicions of the impertinent. She mentioned this to her friend Miss Lucas.
"It may perhaps be pleasant," replied Charlotte, "to be able to impose on the public in such a case; but it is sometimes a disadvantage to be so very guarded. If a woman conceals her affection with the same skill from the object of it, she may lose the opportunity of fixing him; and it will then be but poor consolation to believe the world equally in the dark. There is so much of gratitude or vanity in almost every attachment, that it is not safe to leave any to itself. We can all begin freely—a slight preference is natural enough; but there are very few of us who have heart enough to be really in love without encouragement. In nine cases out of ten a women had better show more affection than she feels. Bingley likes your sister undoubtedly; but he may never do more than like her, if she does not help him on."
"But she does help him on, as much as her nature will allow. If I can perceive her regard for him, he must be a simpleton, indeed, not to discover it too."
"Remember, Eliza, that he does not know Jane's disposition as you do."
"But if a woman is partial to a man, and does not endeavour to conceal it, he must find it out."
"Perhaps he must, if he sees enough of her. But, though Bingley and Jane meet tolerably often, it is never for many hours together; and, as they always see each other in large mixed parties, it is impossible that every moment should be employed in conversing together. Jane should therefore make the most of every half-hour in which she can command his attention. When she is secure of him, there will be more leisure for falling in love as much as she chooses."
Okay, so my point…I am Jane!!! My mother always told me that you must dote on a man and constantly encourage him that you DO like him so he KNOWS and can openly express his feelings too. You have to tell him how you feel, hug him, kiss him, do the things he wants you to do, wear the clothes he likes to see you in, wear your hair the way he likes it, etc. I pride myself on being an independent self-efficient lady, but have I taken my independence too far? Life’s better with someone in it, isn’t it? Am I too prideful like the characters in this book? This is something I constantly struggled with in the past, playing games and playing hard-to-get and thinking “psshhh, not worth my time.”
I’ve since come to realize, this doesn’t work! I am currently beginning a new relationship and I’ve noticed that with this one, thing are different. We are able to express our feelings and be completely open and honest with eachother. It is quite refreshing and exciting and so far, going extremely well. Maybe my stubborn Jane days are behind me. To find out what happens with Jane & Mr. Bingley, well I suggest you pick up a copy of Pride & Prejudice (I’m a sucker for the Public Library or Half Price Books), pour a glass of your favorite wine, curl into bed and indulge in the young romances at the turn of the 19th Century. To find out what happens with me and mystery man…well stay tuned.


PS- Next month's book review - "Girl on Top: Your Guide to Turning Dating Rules into Career Success"

1 comment:

  1. have you read pride and prejudice zombies? its so fun, i think you would find it amusing. a good read!