It seems this is yet another book that sat on my bookshelf, unread, for far too long.
It’s strange how much a person’s tastes can change in just a few short years. When this book was assigned to 16 year old me in my English class, I had actually been looking forward to reading the book. But then, once I got the book and sat down to read it, I couldn’t get through more than a page before falling asleep. After a few tries I decided to just watch the movie (the BBC/A&E miniseries) and read the SparkNotes for the book and leave it at that. I was successful, probably because my teacher underestimated how easy it would be for someone determined to not read the book to still make it seem as if they had. And so, after getting an A without doing the work, (which, I am simultaneously proud and ashamed to admit, was often the case) Pride and Prejudice was left on the bookshelf to rot for the next five years.
Then, after deciding this was a book I probably should have read, I added it to the list of books for the 2YRC. A few days ago I slid the book from the shelf, wiped away the accumulated dust, and took a moment to breathe in the sweet scent that only comes from the pages of a long neglected book. If not for my other responsibilities, mainly school, I don’t think I would have been able to put this book down.
I have to admit, knowing the story ahead of time made it a bit more difficult to get into. The movie (the one with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle, not the one with Keira Knightley) was very faithful to the book, and except for the occasional scene I felt like I was reading the book for the hundredth time, rather than the first. The original barrier to my enjoyment of the novel, which was the outdated style and language, was not a problem here. I found it very easy to adjust to the way things were worded, and even found that the wording of my thoughts when not reading had begun to resemble that of the book!
It seems that most of the women who refer to Pride and Prejudice as one of their favorite books tend to identify most with the main character, Elizabeth Bennet. To be sure, it is very easy to identify with her, as she is a very independent and opinionated character, but as I read I found myself identifying more with Jane Bennet. When the entire town, including Elizabeth, find themselves siding with Wickham over Darcy without knowing the whole story, Jane is the one taking a step back and allowing for the possibility that there may be more to the story than what they’ve heard from Wickham. I like to think I would have done the same. I found out a long time ago that almost every story has two sides. To accept one side simply because you heard that one first would be foolish. Jane was the quietest, and the least likely to jump to a conclusion, and I tend to have the same temperament.
Well, that’s all I have to say about Pride and Prejudice, at least for the moment. Next book is War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells.