As you guessed, this blog post is about the (extremely) famous book of Jane Austin: Pride and prejudice. I just love this book: instead of writing a novel about love at first sight, the author wrote some kind of “-I don’t like you -me neither” story. If you’re getting tired of the “Romeo and Juliet” stereotype, take a look at this book!
So…The scene takes place in the 19th century. It basically talks about Elizabeth Bennet, a daughter from an upper middle class family and Mr. Darcy, a rich and arrogant aristocrat. Mrs. Bennet has four daughters and desperately tries to marry them off to some wealthy man. When Mr. Darcy moves next door, it’s to good to be true! Quickly, the Bennet’s daughters are introduced to him but it seems he is quite an unpleasant man to be around…He acts like a complete jerk and the situation turns out to be really tense between him and Elisabeth.
We studied a few weeks ago two extracts of “Pride and prejudice”. It was quite interesting and I thought I might share it with you…
Chapter 3 : (extract)
The first extract talks about their first meeting and how it all started. One evening, there was a party; a party Mr. Darcy attended. He was new in town so within five minutes, all kinds of rumors had spread about him and (most importantly) his money. Guess who was interested? Mrs. Bennet! She introduced her daughters hoping one of them would catch his eye but soon, the mysterious, handsome and polite man turned into some horrible and disagreeable person. He wouldn’t dance, had pride and was arrogant! Elizabeth, her, was a bright girl, a very lively person! She also delighted in anything that was ridiculous and had a few prejudices… She didn’t have any particular grudge against Mr. Darcy until he said she was “tolerable but not handsome enough” for him. Yes, on top of everything, Mr. Darcy doesn’t seem to have much tact! Anyway, it’s the beginning of a great hatred between both of them. Let’s notice that from the beginning, the author gives a very subjective description of both characters in order for us to see them the way they see each other.
Mr. Bingley was good looking and gentlemanlike; he had a pleasant countenance, and easy, unaffected manners. His brother-in-law, Mr. Hurst, merely looked the gentleman; but his friend Mr. Darcy soon drew the attention of the room by his fine, tall person, handsome features, noble mien; and the report which was in general circulation within five minutes after his entrance, of his having ten thousand a year. The gentlemen pronounced him to be a fine figure of a man, the ladies declared he was much handsomer than Mr. Bingley, and he was looked at with great admiration for about half the evening, till his manners gave a disgust which turned the tide of his popularity; for he was discovered to be proud, to be above his company, and above being pleased; and not all his large estate in Derbyshire could then save him from having a most forbidding, disagreeable countenance, and being unworthy to be compared with his friend.
Mr. Bingley had soon made himself acquainted with all the principal people in the room; he was lively and unreserved, danced every dance, was angry that the ball closed so early, and talked of giving one himself at Netherfield. Such amiable qualities must speak for themselves. What a contrast between him and his friend! Mr. Darcy danced only once with Mrs. Hurst and once with Miss Bingley, declined being introduced to any other lady, and spent the rest of the evening in walking about the room, speaking occasionally to one of his own party. His character was decided. He was the proudest, most disagreeable man in the world, and every body hoped that he would never come there again. Amongst the most violent against him was Mrs. Bennet, whose dislike of his general behaviour was sharpened into particular resentment by his having slighted one of her daughters.
Elizabeth Bennet had been obliged, by the scarcity of gentlemen, to sit down for two dances; and during part of that time, Mr. Darcy had been standing near enough for her to overhear a conversation between him and Mr. Bingley, who came from the dance for a few minutes to press his friend to join it.
“Come, Darcy,” said he, “I must have you dance. I hate to see you standing about by yourself in this stupid manner. You had much better dance.”
“I certainly shall not. You know how I detest it, unless I am particularly acquainted with my partner. At such an assembly as this, it would be insupportable. Your sisters are engaged, and there is not another woman in the room whom it would not be a punishment to me to stand up with.”
“I would not be so fastidious as you are,” cried Bingley, “for a kingdom! Upon my honour I never met with so many pleasant girls in my life, as I have this evening; and there are several of them, you see, uncommonly pretty.”
“You are dancing with the only handsome girl in the room,” said Mr. Darcy, looking at the eldest Miss Bennet.
“Oh! she is the most beautiful creature I ever beheld! But there is one of her sisters sitting down just behind you, who is very pretty, and I dare say very agreeable. Do let me ask my partner to introduce you.”
“Which do you mean?” and turning round, he looked for a moment at Elizabeth, till catching her eye, he withdrew his own and coldly said, “She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me; and I am in no humour at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men. You had better return to your partner and enjoy her smiles, for you are wasting your time with me.”
Mr. Bingley followed his advice. Mr. Darcy walked off; and Elizabeth remained with no very cordial feelings towards him. She told the story however with great spirit among her friends; for she had a lively, playful disposition, which delighted in any thing ridiculous.
Chapter 6 : (extract)
In this second extract, a twist: Mr. Darcy’s changing his mind about Elizabeth Bennet! As much as he hated to admit it, she looked pretty and smart…They were still at a party (another one, yes!) and during this event, Sir William (Elizabeth’s uncle) asked Mr. Darcy if he would dance with his niece. Darcy was very surprised, especially when the young lady refused him a dance…That he did not expect! (Well…too bad for him right?)
Occupied in observing Mr. Bingley’s attentions to her sister, Elizabeth was far from suspecting that she was herself becoming an object of some interest in the eyes of his friend. Mr. Darcy had at first scarcely allowed her to be pretty; he had looked at her without admiration at the ball; and when they next met, he looked at her only to criticise. But no sooner had he made it clear to himself and his friends that she had hardly a good feature in her face, than he began to find it was rendered uncommonly intelligent by the beautiful expression of her dark eyes. To this discovery succeeded some others equally mortifying. Though he had detected with a critical eye more than one failure of perfect symmetry in her form, he was forced to acknowledge her figure to be light and pleasing; and in spite of his asserting that her manners were not those of the fashionable world, he was caught by their easy playfulness. Of this she was perfectly unaware;—to her he was only the man who made himself agreeable nowhere, and who had not thought her handsome enough to dance with.
“My dear Miss Eliza, why are not you dancing?—Mr. Darcy, you must allow me to present this young lady to you as a very desirable partner.—You cannot refuse to dance, I am sure, when so much beauty is before you.” And taking her hand, he would have given it to Mr. Darcy, who, though extremely surprised, was not unwilling to receive it, when she instantly drew back, and said with some discomposure to Sir William,
“Indeed, Sir, I have not the least intention of dancing.—I entreat you not to suppose that I moved this way in order to beg for a partner.”
Mr. Darcy with grave propriety requested to be allowed the honour of her hand; but in vain. Elizabeth was determined; nor did Sir William at all shake her purpose by his attempt at persuasion.
“You excel so much in the dance, Miss Eliza, that it is cruel to deny me the happiness of seeing you; and though this gentleman dislikes the amusement in general, he can have no objection, I am sure, to oblige us for one half hour.”
“Mr. Darcy is all politeness,” said Elizabeth, smiling.
“He is indeed—but considering the inducement, my dear Miss Eliza, we cannot wonder at his complaisance; for who would object to such a partner?”
Elizabeth looked archly, and turned away. Her resistance had not injured her with the gentleman, and he was thinking of her with some complacency, when thus accosted by Miss Bingley
We also dedicated a small part of our lesson to the british society:
(picture credit: gppr deviantart – no copyright infringement intended; for educational purposes)