Thursday, November 20, 2008

Oh my dear Mr. Darcy...

There are some books I wish I could crawl into.

Pride and Prejudice is one of them. And I don't know why.

cover of the 1898 editionI crawl into Alice in Wonderland because I often associate myself with Alice. Not quite grown up, lost among the mad, searching for home. The characters are whimsical and ridiculous and colorful, even on the black and white pages. Everything is frightening but she is able to keep her cool and keep moving. When I was young, I thought that this was an attribute of all English girls. "Well would you look at that, I've grown to the size of a house. Oh how bothersome."

I crawl into the Harry Potter series, any Lia Block books, The Wizard of Oz and just about any faerie tale.

I have never been interested in Jane Austin until this book. I have never been interested in that time period or the language of that era. But this book has entranced me! I feel like I have arrived at the party a bit late... but better late than never.

Perhaps it's the unspoken rules of conduct. Gentlemen treated ladies with respect. Quiet visits in the parlor. People were polite and conversation was an art. But then again, the fiery part of me throws up her hands in frustration and screams, "What is wrong with you people!?", then runs over to Darcy and makes out with him in front of Lady Catherine de Bourg while giving her the finger.

Or maybe it's just the slower pace life went. Music. Books. Conversation. It sounds just lovely. There's time to breathe, time to think. Time for men like Darcy and Bingley. And time to consider, instead of fast moving, make a decision now now now!!
This diagram, or map, illustrates the relation...
I know that Elizabeth is one of my favorite characters of all time. I want to be like her. (As you might recall my stance on fictitious heroes, she is perfect for the job.) She is smart, confident, defiant in her time and not interesting in bagging a husband. Nothing seems to bother her. When Darcy insults her looks, it's not devastating. She laughs him off as a rude man and moves on. What grace! And most of all, she's funny. She slips in a jab or two into polite conversation so only those most astute would catch it. If I were ever to have children, a girl, I would read this book to her so she might absorb Elizabeth a bit.

I know what happens. I've seen the mini series and the movie. But as I read, I still wring my hands in worry that Darcy and Elizabeth won't end up together. I yell at my book, "Get over yourself! Tell him how you feel!". But that's why it's such a great book; it makes you feel and get emotional about the characters.

But mostly, I love this book because through all the muck, human idiocy and heartache,
two people come together and find love. What's more uplifting than that? (and to all you crazy Austen-ites, yes, that's how I read it. I think she did believe in love. Perhaps not syrupy romance or soul mates, but love? Yes. It's not all cynical and laughable. So bugger off. )

Could it happen to us? Perhaps. Who am I to say? When I get to England and meet my Darcy, I'll let you know.
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