Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice was one of the most delightful experiences in my undergraduate years. Even if I hadn’t taken the advance English course on Jane Austen in my senior year, I would have found my way to the book sometime later in my life, but it found me at the right time when I was beginning to distance myself from the longtime joy of reading.
Thanks to the academic writing advisor who offered me a completely new perception, my opinion of the book deviated from the common opinion that considers Elizabeth Bennet as one of the most impressive (?) romantic heroines. She is intelligent, yes, but she seems anything but romantic, for the relative lack of evidence of her ‘love’ for Darcy compared to Darcy’s sincere feelings for her. Didn’t she just fall in love with Darcy for his immense fortune?
“My dearest sister, now be serious. I want to talk very seriously. Let me know every thing that I am to know, without delay. Will you tell me how long you have loved him?”
“It has been coming on so gradually, that I hardly know when it began. But I believe I must date it from my first seeing his beautiful grounds at Pemberley.”
Eyes often complete the job ears fail. Elizabeth’s eyes awaken her to the fullest extent of his wealth her ears fail to sense. Elizabeth repulsed to Darcy’s background as ‘proud’ when she merely heard about it… But her opinion changed when she ‘sees’ about it. Her visit to Pemberly certainly strengthened her decision to marry him, but it certainly wasn’t her ‘only reason’: she would have married him anyway even if she didn’t visit his house, for her flattered knowledge of his feelings and her determination to correct her error. But no matter how many times I think about it, there is more rational aspect to their union more than the passion and purity of love. The marriage of Jane and Bingley seems puerer if it comes to ‘love’ as an emotion.
The discussion of the reason and passion in ‘love’ is further elaborated in Sense of Sensibility, another Austenian masterpiece. I usually couple the two novels together for the paralleled themes evident in their titles. It is difficult to decide which one I prefer. I will shortly post my should-have-been-written-already review for Sense and Sensibility.