When Elizabeth Bennett meets Mr Darcy, it’s fair to say he doesn’t make the best first impression. Arrogant, condescending and aloof, he’s everything the spirited and clever Elizabeth despises – and that’s before he breaks her sisters heart.
But why, then, do her thoughts turn to him again and again? Slowly, Elizabeth starts to realize that her first impression may have been wrong. But by then it may just be too late…
Expanding on the blurb, Elizabeth Bennet and her five sisters live in a period of time where the main aim of a lady’s life is to marry. To marry for money, to marry for estate, to marry for the sake of your family; but rarely, to marry for love. So when the wealthy Mr Bingley arrives at Netherfield Park along with his sisters and his friend Mr Darcy, Mrs Bennet begins to hear wedding bells. A ball is held, as they often are in these stories, which gives the Bennett’s a chance to meet their new neighbours. Mr Bingley begins to show an interest in Jane Bennet, and she is all too flattered by the attention. Meanwhile Elizabeth Bennett has the pleasure of meeting Mr Darcy, an arrogant, and rude man, that insults Elizabeth at their first meeting.
One day, when Jane visits the Netherfield estate she is caught in the rain and falls ill. Elizabeth, stubborn as she is, marches straight over to tend to her sister, allowing for further encounters with Mr Darcy, which lead to her becoming even further confused by his sense of character, and his obvious attraction to her.
Upon meeting the soldier Mr Wickham, who is well acquainted with Mr Darcy, Elizabeth tries to get him to fill in the blanks for her. He describes his negative relationship with Mr Darcy and how he was mistreated, and in some respects conned by him. This leaves Elizabeth outraged and even more certain that he’s a wicked man.
However, a turn of events means that Mr Bingley, his sisters and Mr Darcy leave Netherfield Park, leaving Jane behind confused, heartbroken and without a proposal. Elizabeth is adamant that Mr Bingley did not leave of his own accord but was influenced by his sisters and the arrogant Mr Darcy.
Throughout the book Elizabeth continues to have run ins with Mr Darcy, and tries to find the truth behind why Mr Bingley left Netherfield Park. But the more she talks to him, the more her first accounts of him, and others impressions of him don’t add up, and soon Elizabeth begins to realize that maybe first appearances aren’t always what they seem…
So I was somewhat stumped about how to go about reviewing this book. After all, how do you review a classic that’s every inch has been reviewed and analyzed by intelligent people all over the world? The only answer I came up with, was honestly; in my traditional Becky way. So I’ll try to ignore the fact that this book is a classic and review it objectively. 🙂
This book is first and foremost a romance, and secondly an observation of early 19th century society and the role that pride and prejudice plays within it. I thought the plot was structured well, it slowly builds throughout the book and the affection between Mr Darcy and Elizabeth slowly builds with it. However, at points I did find myself getting a bit bored. There were some sections that seemed unnecessarily drawn out, without much actually happening in the scene.
My favorite thing about Pride and Prejudice is the witty banter between Elizabeth and Darcy, I found it extremely entertaining, and superior to the banter you get in more current books.
I thought that the character development was also extremely good. I could picture exactly what Elizabeth Bennett looked like as well as a really strong sense of her personality. She was also realistic, which is something that personally, I find very important with characters in a book. (I know it’s fiction, but no one really wants to read about a perfect individual who has nothing to learn and no flaws.) Equally, Mr Darcy, Jane, Lydia and Mr and Mrs Bennet were also well very well developed characters. That being said, they weren’t particularly characters I liked, could relate to, or looked up to, and I disliked quite a few of Elizabeth’s characteristics; she was too quick to judge people, and often quite ignorant. That being said, I found her character fascinating for these very reasons.
I do like Jane Austen’s writing style. I was surprised actually by how easy I found it to follow the story compared to books such as Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë which left me feeling quite confused in places. However I tended to lose the plot of what was going on if I was trying to read in the noisy school library, or with music in the background. I did notice while reading this book, that certain aspects of her writing have become a little dated. At times, she tells you how the character feels, rather than showing you how the character feels. I found this slightly annoying but as a reader/observer it was also quite interesting to see how writing has developed since 1813, and lets face it, the use of old language is what makes classics, classics!
One more thing I would like to say, is don’t be put off reading the book Pride and Prejudice because you weren’t really bothered by the film version/s or TV dramas. This is what I did. I’ve always quite liked classics such as Sense and Sensibility or Jane Eyre on-screen, but was never really that bothered by Pride and Prejudice. As per usual, the book is much better than the film. The saying ‘never judge a book by it’s cover’ should definitely be changed to ‘never judge a book by it’s movie’.
Writing Style: 4/5
Character Development: 5/5
Would I recommend this book? Yes