‘It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife’
The opening of Jane Austen’s ever-popular novel sets the tone of her sparkling comedy of manners and morals.
There are five daughters in the Bennet family and marriage is the only career open to them. there is naturally much excitement when two young men of good fortune move in the district. But before there can be a happy ending, the hero must conquer his overwhelming pride and Elizabeth, the spirited heroine, her prejudices against him. Only by taking the route to self-knowledge can they reach a mature understanding of each other and find lasting contentment.
If I had to pick one book to read for the rest of my life, It would be Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. A classic book that I could read for eternity. I read this book many times, to the point where my book is now falling apart. Yes this is a book for women. Is there a man out there that has read Pride and Prejudice? I will applaud him if he has done so. Even when my mother explained the plot to my father, he wasn’t the slightest bit interested. He would call them “fairy tales”. Then again, my father never understood Harry Potter. He would always call Harry Potter: “Mr Potty”, and would go on questioning “why would anyone read a book with a name like Potter?” Even I couldn’t answer that question. Then again, you should never compare Harry Potter to Pride and Prejudice. Pride and Prejudice would win by a clear mile.
Getting back to the point, Pride and Prejudice is a book filled with romance, reputation and class. Satire is richly used in this book amongst the characters of Mrs Bennet, Lydia Bennet and not forgetting Mr. Collins. These three characters portray a comedic yet foolish role to Pride and Prejudice, which in some ways make the book more enjoyable to read.
How can I talk about Pride and Prejudice without mentioning Mr Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet. Two of my favourite literature characters. The love that they have for one other towards the end of the book is breathtaking. I shall offer you all with my top two favourite quotes.
“That was only when I first knew her, for it is many months since I have considered her as one of the handsomest women of my acquaintance” Chapter 45
My most cherished Mr. Darcy quote:
“I cannot give you credit for any philosophy of the kind. Your retrospections must be so totally void of reproach, that the contentment arising from them is not of philosophy, but, what is much better, of ignorance. But with me it is not so. Painful recollections will intrude, which cannot, which ought not, to be repelled. I have been a selfish being all my life, in practice, though not in principle. As a child, I was taught what was right; but I was not taught to correct my temper. I was given good principles, but left to follow them in pride and conceit. Unfortunately, an only son (for many years an only child), I was spoiled by my parents, who, though good themselves (my father particularly, all that was benevolent and amiable), allowed, encouraged, almost taught me to be selfish and overbearing – to care for none beyond my own family circle, to think meanly of all the rest of the world, to wish at least to think meanly of their sense and worth compared with my own. Such I was, from eight to eight-and-twenty; and such I might still have been but for you, dearest, loveliest Elizabeth! What do I not owe you? You taught me a lesson, hard indeed at first, but most advantageous. By you I was properly humbled. I came to you without a doubt of my reception. You showed me how insufficient were all my pretensions to please a woman worthy of being pleased.” Chapter 58
If I could jump back in time, I would have loved to meet Jane Austen and share my enjoyments with her. If you are a beginner at reading classics; the first book I would recommend is Pride and Prejudice. Surely, you will fall in love with the characters as much as I have. If not, then please imagine Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy and Jennifer Ehle as Miss Elizabeth Bennet.