romance

still searching for my mr darcy: reading pride and prejudice

Although the photo this week is Curiosity, it is still The Cat manning the ship. Due to extenuating circumstances (namely helping my mum with her veggie garden and seeing Sammy J and Randy live) I was unable to get in front or behind a camera this week.

My copy of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is a ratty looking book with a vibrant green cover and a garish pink spine. It is easily one of the most hideous books on my bookshelf and a bit of an eyesore. But this is one of my most dearly beloved books and one I will never part with.

This is the first book I bought for myself in a different country and has ended up being more well-travelled than some members of my family. A resident on three different bookshelves in three different Australian states, as well as being a trusty handbag companion through San Diego, San Francisco and a short stint in Las Angeles, my copy of P & P has seen me through all sorts of life stages and emotions.

Some girls have travelling pants, others have diaries, and I have this book. Taped together and dog-eared, I am surprised this faithful classic is still holding together.

So, after finishing another session of uni, I got a little nostalgic and flicked through the pages again. As always, I fell madly in love with the book, the emotions, and of course, Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy.

Elizabeth Bennet was my second fictional female role model (the first being Hermione Granger). She is strong, intellectual and feisty, not to mention, brave, passionate and just downright amazing. She passionately defends her beliefs, protects and cares for her friends and doesn’t succumb to the gender and social norms of the period.

Every time I read this book and look at the women in my life, I am always proud and thankful to have such strong female influences in my life, from my sweet Jane Bennet-like sister to my loyal Charlotte Lucas Collins best friend. The book explores a variety of female characters, each one having value despite their less than favourable qualities. Best of all, because of this, they are realistic. 

Similarly, Mr Darcy isn’t your dashing, blonde Prince Charming, but a brooding, moody and mysterious creature. I was not impressed with Darcy for the majority of the novel, my allegiance firmly placed with Elizabeth.

However, just like Elizabeth, after a few frustrated exclamations and irritated outbursts, I found myself charismatically swayed to a little fondness. He is represented as human and like everyone else, makes mistakes, evident in his judgement and under-estimation of Elizabeth Bennet, an error he pays for.

There is a reason Jane Austen is revered in the literary community and Pride and Prejudice is a classic. This book and these characters were game changers in my life and easily influenced the beliefs and passions I have today. I can’t imagine ever dating anyone who I couldn’t have an intellectual conversation with, and I think this book is one of the reasons why.

From the girl who is still searching for her own Mr Darcy,

The Cat