“There are few people whom I really love, and still fewer of whom I think well. The more I see of the world, the more am I dissatisfied with it; and every day confirms my belief of the inconsistency of all human characters, and of the little dependence that can be placed on the appearance of merit or sense.”
Genre: Romance Fiction
Author: Jane Austen
Year of Publish: 1813
“Who made you fall in love with literature? Was it Charlotte Bronte, Thomas Hardy or Jane Austen?”- Christian Grey. I guess I made my choice ages ago when I first picked Pride and Prejudice. Even the name in itself made me curious about the wonders that it was going to unfold for me. This book has been with me for ages now and each time I decide to reach for it again, the story somehow seems to be different from the last time. As a kid, I simply tagged it as a love story where love found its way to bring closer two opposite people and entangle their lives together in a way that they were bound to be together. I didn’t grasp that the basic narration was something way beyond the mere tag of fantasy that I placed on it.
Years later I had the chance to re-encounter the old friend but this time as a movie adaption of the book with the beautiful Keira Knightley in it and as a teen undoubtedly it was the movie that reminded me of love but oddly made me aware of the social backdrop in which the narration was set. The strength in the character of Elizabeth Bennet was so astounding. The portrayal of different layers of characteristics of women made me realize that I have probably encountered such traits and ways of thinking in women around me. That depiction was not just simply the art of fiction but a page taken out from the daily lives of the women in our society. The realism this time that hit me was different. Also, I noticed that Elizabeth was strong but flawed at the same time. She did have her pride and prejudice against Darcy till the end and the fact that only when she was able to see past it all was the moment she realized that she is madly and completely in love with him. Just the fact that the protagonist of the novel is strong but vulnerable, smart yet so flawed. Unlike the lead characters that we are used to seeing in the movies, the perfect human being, this imperfection felt like a breath of fresh air.
Fast forward to the present me, re-reading the novel after the last encounter and I just realized that yet again a character seemed strangely different. This time it was the character narration of Darcy, who seemed as the arrogant but shy prince charming by me all along. The knight and shining armor saving the day in the end and made the strong-headed Elizabeth fall in love with him through his persistence. Honestly, the character sketch that I just presented is flawed in way more ways than the character actually in itself. He was more of an awkward nerd really than a strong prince charming and it was funny just how uncomfortable he could be in just about any situation (something I guess I strongly relate to). But most importantly he was privileged and obnoxious, two words that he probably never had heard of, being the desirable bachelor he was. Elizabeth made him realize that this privilege comes with responsibility and the selfless nature of true love. Darcy made the efforts to move past the toxic masculinity that our society till date preaches and used his privilege to tackle a difficult situation not becomes he wanted to impress a woman rather he felt responsible for the situation in the first place. He knew he could have avoided the situation from becoming that bad and felt responsible. To think he saw past the privilege and the prejudices that came with it is what made Elizabeth change her mind. She never fell in love with the Darcy she initially met but with Darcy that by the end of the story was altogether a different person and that is some amazing character development right there my friend.
The simple love story to a child was way more complex to the adult but then that is love isn’t it. This novel became the perfect example for many things for me but most importantly it taught me the lesson- that as we grow our perception toward things and situations changes and that is okay. That’s what growing is all about- change.