Pride and Prejudice is one of those rare books that I was not required to read in any of my English classes. Even while studying English in college, Pride and Prejudice was always absent from the syllabus. Given my love for the 2005 film, I don’t understand why I never read this book sooner.
I’m assuming a lot of readers have read this book since it is a classic, feel free to skip to my commentary. It will be marked with MY THOUGHTS in bold, followed by a star rating.
Pride and Prejudice explores the life of Elizabeth Bennet, the 2nd oldest of five children, and her life in Netherfield Park. Liza is stubborn and a bit headstrong, so when newcomers Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy come into town, Lizzie isn’t immediately taken by them much to her mother’s dismay. Although at a ball, Liza overhears Mr. Darcy’s comment to his friend about how unattractive Liza is, any curiosity about him fizzles out. However, Liza’s older sister Jane spends much of the night dancing with Mr. Bingley, and the two quickly become close friends. Sadly, for Lizzie, this means crossing paths often with Mr. Darcy, and his manners have not much improved since the ball.
On a cloudy afternoon, Mrs. Bennet sends Jane to visit Mr. Bingley, hoping that it rains, and her daughter catches a cold leaving her with no other choice but to stay in his mansion. Mrs. Bennet’s wish comes true, but Lizzie worried for her sister’s heath, treks off to Mr. Bingley’s to care for her sister. She arrives wet and muddy much to the displeasure of Mr. Bingley’s sister, who berates Liza’s appearance. Bingley’s sister hopes that denouncing Liza will make her look better in comparison in Mr. Darcy’s eyes. However, he is too busy admiring Liza’s determination to listen.
Back home, the sisters meet Mr. Collins, their father’s cousin, and the sole inheritor of the Bennet estate. Mr. Collins has arrived hoping to marry one of the Bennet sisters. Upon learning that Jane has her eyes on Mr. Bingley, Collins turns his attention on Liza and soon proposes to her. However, Mr. Collins is boring and annoying, so Liza turns down his proposal. Mr. Collins bounces back from Liza’s rejection and proposes to Charlotte Lucas, liza’s best friend. Lizzie is shocked about the proposal but ultimately aims to understand why Charlotte would marry a man she doesn’t love, which is valid because Mr. Collins was annoying me too, but Charlotte sites financial stability as her reason and Lizzie can’t fault her for it.
Meanwhile, Kitty and Lydia, the younger Bennet sisters, have been busy chatting up the militia officers who have arrived in town. Lizzie befriends Mr. Wickham, who is charming but loves to talk ill of Mr. Darcy, who he claims cheated him out of his inheritance. Given Mr. Darcy’s rude behavior up to this point in the novel, Liza has no reason not to believe Wickham.
Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy return to the city much to Mrs. Bennet’s dismay. Jane interprets Mr. Bingley’s actions as disinterest in marrying her, and although she puts on a brave face, Jane knows that the rejection is crushing her sister. While visiting the Collins, Mr. Darcy arrives and proposes to abewildered Elizabeth. Liza rejects him because up to this point, Mr. Darcy hasn’t shown much change, additionally, she cites him as the reason for Wickham’s misfortunes and Mr. Bingley’s disinterest.
Liza vows to avoid Mr. Darcy, going as far as to avoid the pathways he loves to trek in the mornings. However, Mr. Darcy catches her and gives her a letter where he informs her that Mr.Wickham is a snake and a con artist who is only interested in money. Darcy also confesses to telling Bingley to distance himself from Jane because he interpreted her shyness as disinterest. Liza’s feelings for Wickham quickly change, but she resolves not to inform her family about his true nature.
While visiting her aunt and uncle, the Gardiners, in Pemberley, they all decide to take a peek at Mr. Darcy’s estate. Luckily for Eliza, Mr. Darcy is absent on this day, so she saves herself some embarrassment. Mr. Darcy’s head servant has nothing but good things to say about him, which only confuses Eliza. However, while walking around his house, Liza begins to imagine what it would be like to live there and become Mrs. Darcy. On their way out, they run into Mr. Darcy who acts off, thus convincing Liza’s aunt that he may be kind to his servants but is ultimately ill-mannered.
Upon arriving home, Liza learns that her youngest sister Lydia has eloped with Mr. Wickham. She immediately feels guilty for not informing her family of his true intentions, and her guilt only festers as the days continue, and Lydia remains missing. Soon after, the family receives news from Mr. Gardiner that Wickham intends to marry Lydia on the condition that he receives an annual income. Mr. Bennet stresses about paying back his brother in law for interceding on their behalf. Lydia and Mr. Wickham arrive back to Netherfield, and Lydia brags all about her wedding and how she, as the youngest sister, is the first to have been married. Lydia lets it slip that Mr. Darcy had attended her wedding, and Liza puts her detective skills to work.
Liza presses her aunt for details of the exchange, and her aunt confesses that it was Mr. Darcy who agreed to pay Wickham an annual income. Lizzie’s feelings for Darcy bloom upon learning this and laments rejecting his proposals.
Mr. Bingley returns to Netherfield to resume his friendship with Jane, and he soon proposes to her. Mr. Darcy also returns, but he makes no attempts to speak to Lizzie although, it’s clear he very much wants too. Liza manages to get some small talk out of him, but the two are now awkward turtles around each other.
Out of the blue, Lady Catherine de Borough, Darcy’s aunt, visits the Bennets and takes Liza for a walk. Lady Catherine grills Liza about a rumor she heard of her nephew intending to propose to her. Lady Catherine insults Liza, sighting she is unworthy of her nephew because she comes from a family of nobodies while her daughter is the perfect match for Darcy. Liza becomes heated but ultimately tells Lady Catherine that she isn’t engaged to Mr. Darcy, but she cannot promise to reject his proposal.
Lizzie and Mr. Darcy finally find an opportunity to speak, and Lizzie expresses her gratitude to him for helping Lydia. Darcy is embarrassed but states he did it because Lydia is her sister. Darcy then confesses to still having feelings for her, and if her feelings for him have not changed, he vows to leave her alone. Much to his shock, Lizzie confesses she’s in love with him and is down to get married.
Naturally, Darcy is shook af but gets his affairs in order and speaks to her father the next day. Everyone is shocked at Liza’s sudden change of heart, none more than Mrs. Bennet, who has spent most of the book talking shit about Darcy. Liza convinces her father of her change of heart, and he admits that he wouldn’t have denied Mr. Darcy because the man makes good money. However, when Liza confesses that it was Darcy who interceded on their behalf, Mr. Bennet is truly impressed. Mrs. Bennet is delighted that her daughters are marrying well off as now she will have plenty to brag about to Mrs. Lucas.
Both Jane and Elizabeth settle not far from the other, and the two visits often. Lydia and Mr. Wickham annoy both sisters with their constant visits and continue to ask Darcy for money. For the most part, they all live happily ever after.
I loved Mrs. Bennet! She spends a majority of this book trying to get her daughters married, namely Jane and Lizzie. Mrs. Bennet doesn’t see marriage as a matter of the heart but rather as a way to live well and comfortably in the future. I can’t blame Mrs. Bennet for that, but I can laugh at the way she stresses herself out by going through great lengths to get her daughters engaged.
Namely, when Mrs. Bennet sends Jane to Mr. Bingley’s, hoping she’d catch a cold and have no choice but to stay over. I thought that was both hilarious and smart thinking! Mrs. Bennet may have been a product of her time, but I can’t help but love her and her antics regardless.
Elizabeth is one of those characters I loved entirely, although, who wouldn’t love Eliza. She’s loyal to her family, she’s stubborn, and most importantly, she understands her worth. When Mr. Darcy insults Eliza by denouncing her beauty, Eliza doesn’t play nice with him, from there on out, she’s very cold towards him. However, when Mr. Darcy proposes to her, Liza is shocked and angered because he hasn’t done anything to prove to her that he’s a good man, but when news of Darcy good deeds trickle down to her, she re-examines Darcy entirely. And it isn’t until the end when Lizzie is hopelessly in love with Darcy that she agrees to marry him.
I really love Austen’s humor and this book was a joy to read.
Some complaints I had about this novel are few. My main issue with this novel is that Austen doesn’t always describe things. There are many instances in this novel that I wished Austen had written in descriptions rather than just informing the reader. I wish Austen hadn’t written Lizzie confession this way. I wanted Austen to describe the expression on Darcy’s face, the way joy slowly encompassed it but this moment is glossed over.
I love the way that moment is portrayed in the 2005 film but to not have this moment in the book was truly disappointing.
Lastly, Mary Bennet is mentioned sparingly before disappearing to read somewhere. Mary’s a book lover, like many of us, but her absence in this book made me question why she even exists in this book. Although I love bookworms, I wish Mary’s character was developed properly.
That’s all for now. Until next time continue living in libros,
Side note but I find this picture on Pinterest and freaked out. It’s so beautiful and is now my wallpaper on my phone. I then Then I went on a quest to create a Pinterest board full of bookish wallpaper starting with this one. If you want to check out my board 🙂