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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A little sea-bathing would set me up for ever!

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Spoiler Alert: Plot Summary
So there are 2 sisters that count, and 3 others who are very silly. There's a ridiculous mother, a witty father, and two lovely gentlemen. One is very proud (Mr. Darcy) the other is very sweet (Mr. Bingley) and though it takes the whole book for everyone to get together, Darcy and Elizabeth (one of the sisters that counts) and Bingley and Jane (the other sister that counts) finally end up married. One silly sister (Lydia) manages to run off with a completely inappropriate man (Mr. Wickham) and almost ruin her entire family's lives, but Mr. Darcy (secretly) saves the day because he's totally crazy about Lizzy, and everything ends up okay. Throw in one crazy relative who is simpering to the point of vomiting (Mr. Collins) and who happens to be the future owner of the Bennet family's estate (the sisters are Bennets) and one crazy aunt (Lady Catherine de Bourgh, Mr. Darcy's aunt) and you pretty much know the whole story.
Spoiler Over: Continue Here

First, allow me to apologize for not blogging yesterday. I'm sure you were all on tenterhooks waiting for me to blog and I LET YOU DOWN! Right? Right.

On to random comments...

- One of my favorite moments in this book is when Mr. Colllins proposes to Lizzy, and her mom tries to force her to accept, and her father says, "From this moment you must be a stranger to one of your parents. Your mother will never see you again if you do not accept Mr. Collins, and I will never see you again if you do." Go, Mr. Bennet!

- Elizabeth says at one point, "What are men to rocks and mountains?" I agree! Who needs men when you can hike in the great outdoors, and explore the lake country?

- Lydia says "I am sure I shall break mine" in reference to her heart, when she thinks of the officers leaving town. She is so petulant and obnoxious. It really does make for a great character. This is also the origin of the title for this post - Mrs. Bennet says that sea-bathing would set her up for ever in reference to the fact that she wants the whole family to go to Brighton to follow the officers. She is so... special. What an interesting mother.

-Darcy tells Miss Bingley to shut up, basically, when he says that Lizzy is one of the "handsomest women of his acquaintance." Take that, Miss Bingley, you conniving little snot.

-Darcy comes upon Lizzy when she first finds out about Lydia running off with Wickham, and he is so sweet! I have nothing more to say about this. Other than that it is one of my favorite moments in the book.

-Mr. Collins writes to the Bennets and says that Lydia's death would have been preferable to the shame she brings on the family. Thanks for sharing, Mr. Collins.

-I love when Mr. Bennet says that Kitty can't leave the house until she can prove she's spent at least 10 minutes of every day in a rational manner, and Kitty starts crying because she thinks it's such an overwhelming request. Can you prove that you've spent at least 10 minutes of every day in a rational manner?

-Lizzy's aunt realizes Lizzy's in love with Darcy perhaps even before Lizzy does herself, and references wanting to spend more time at Pemberley (Darcy's house) once her niece is settled there. Made me think of my aunts, and how much I love all of them, and how I could see them making similar knowing comments about my future.

-Mrs. Bennet winks at her daughters to get them to leave the room so Bingley can propose to Jane, then denies that she has done anything of the sort. What a hilarious woman. ('Why would I wink at my own Daughter?')

-Lady Catherine de Bourgh yells at Lizzy and tells her she must not marry Darcy (before Darcy has proposed a second time), and screams, "Are the shades of Pemberley to be thus polluted?" Little does she know (little did he Know? Little did he know?) that she sets in motion the future reconciliation between Darcy and Elizabeth. Ha! Take that, Lady Catherine!

-I love that when Elizabeth and Darcy finally get together, they tell no one. They spend the evening with family, and keep their engagement secret. Jane is the first to know that evening, and the rest of the family finds out the next day. I like that Darcy and Elizabeth keep their love to themselves at first.

-In the book, Lizzy tells her father that Mr. Darcy went completely out of his way to hunt down Wickham and force him to marry Lydia (because, he claims, he knew that Wickham was not to be trusted. Wickham tried to do the same thing with Darcy's little sister Georgiana a while back. WE know that he does it because he loves Lizzy and hates to see her suffer.) I like that this happens in the book, because it's one of the few things that doesn't make it to the BBC 5-hour movie version, and I think it's crucial. It's what really makes Mr. Bennet realize that Darcy is incredible and wonderful and deserving of Lizzy.

And at the end, we get to spend a chapter with Lizzy and Darcy while they're happy and just existing at Pemberley. I think there's nothing I hate more than a book that has a happy ending, but no follow through on what life really looks like for the main characters at the end. Happily, this book did not fall into that trap.

Last, but not least, I'd like to mention that the copy I read was apparently the same one I read when I was, oh, perhaps 13 years old, and has random comments written here and there. I seem to have been in a phase where I decided it was appropriate to write in books (I still come down both ways on that topic) and wrote quite frequently in the margins. I'll leave you with my two favorite comments:

"Well, you're uglier anyway" in response to Miss Bingley saying something snotty about Lizzy and "Ah! I'm melting! He's so sweet!" in response to something Mr. Darcy said to Lizzy in a letter.

Okay, I know I said I was leaving, but last comment. For real. I must give a shout out to my lovely ladies, my very own Bennet family. This book is near and dear to my heart because I have shared it always with not only my 2 dear sisters, but the lovely Light ladies as well, Anna and Becca and Marah. And my mother, and my second mother, Mrs. Light, neither of whom are even remotely awful in the way that Mrs. Bennet is, but are rather lovely and wonderful and full of baked goods and warmth and smiles. Thank you for being my Austen family - I will always treasure you all.

On to Fitzgerald...

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