Important Background Info:
I was not expecting to like Pride and Prejudice, because I am not a huge romance fan. I dislike it in general unless it’s well done in a God-honoring way, and doesn’t take over the main plot. I read Pride and Prejudice in 2020 for the first time because some friends of mine loved it, and I was surprised at how much I loved it. I’ve read it at least three times, if not four.
I presume you at least have a general idea of the summary of Pride and Prejudice, but I shall put it here just in case. It’s long, so if you don’t want to read it skip down to the next section “what I liked”
Everyone in or around Longbourn is excited by the news that Mr. Bingley, a wealthy, kind and handsome young man is moving to a nearby manor house. None more than the Bennet sisters. When they finally get a chance to meet him at a ball, everyone is charmed, especially Jane. He stands in direct contrast to his friend Mr. Darcy, who manages to offend everyone in the vicinity, especially Elizabeth, who overhears an insult about her, and is determined to despise him. When a regiment of soldiers in stationed near Meryton, and one of those soldiers, the dashing and charismatic Mr. Wickham reveals to Elizabeth his opinion about Mr. Darcy and the way he believes Mr. Darcy treated him, Elizabeth is sure it’s just more proof of his arrogance. But unbeknownst to Elizabeth, Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy has started to fall in love with her (much to the disappointment of Mr. Bingley’s sister). Meanwhile, the Bennet family’s cousin, Mr. Collins, has come to town and done his best to fall in love with one of the girls (and make one of the girls fall in love with him). When he proposes to Elizabeth, Mrs. Bennet (who’s only goal is to get her daughters married) is elated. When Elizabeth turns him down, it doesn’t take much for him to switch to their friend Charlotte Lucas.
With Mr. Collins out of the way, Elizabeth can now watch how her sister (Jane) and Mr. Bingley are proceeding in their relationship. When someone accidentally drops a hint about marriage to Mr Darcy, and Mr. Bingley goes to London on a business trip (with his sisters and Mr. Darcy) and they soon receive a letter saying he isn’t coming back. A heartbroken Jane goes to stay with her aunt and uncle and Elizabeth goes to see how her friend Charlotte is doing, still secure in her disgust for Mr. Darcy (whom she is sure separated her sister and Mr. Bingley). Much to her surprise, Mr. Darcy is in the area as well, come to visit his aunt, the Lady Catherine De Bourgh, and keeps running into Elizabeth on her walk, despite her telling him it was her favorite spot to walk. Then one day, he proposes to Elizabeth, who finally gets her chance to tell him all the reasons she dislikes him. He leaves town but not before giving her a letter that explains everything she’d accused him of (mistreating Wickham, separating Jane and Bingley), exonerated him, and even left a reference for her to ask. Elizabeth feels ashamed, finally forced to confront her prejudice (just like her comments forced Darcy to confront his pride).
Upon arriving at home, Elizabeth realizes Jane is still down, and Lydia – her flighty younger sister – is more enraptured by the soldiers than ever, and worse, is invited to go with them to their next place by one of her friends. Elizabeth cautions their father against letting her, but he dismisses her advice with a rather flippant response. She meet Wickham again after realizing he’s the one to blame and not Darcy. It’s awkward, and when he tries to bring up his grievances, she turns him down with a comment that lets him know she may know the whole story. Finally relieved from the craziness at home by a trip with her aunt and uncle, Elizabeth travel up to Derbyshire where, her aunt and uncle want to visit Pemberly, Darcy’s estate. Elizabeth feels perturbed, but, on being assured that no one was living there consents to going, and does manage to enjoy the tour for the most part – she keeps being reminded of Darcy, and seeing a different side of him than the one she remembers, painting him in as a wonderful man. She starts to feel kindly towards him, and ashamed about the way she treated him, when they actually run into him on the Pemberly grounds.
Awkwardness, embarrassment and the like instantly crash over her, but, to her surprise he is kind and gentlemanly, without much trace of the pride that used to mark him so. He even asks her to allow him to let his sister visit her, an honor for which she is much surprised. After a few days she grows more comfortable, and even begins to like him. Unfortunately, their list at Pemberly is cut short by a letter from Jane informing her that Lydia has run off with Mr. Wickham to get married. Her agitation grows upon reading her second letter, which informs her that now they are anxious to know if they really did get married, because there is now no evidence that they actually went to get married. They’ve just disappeared. Elizabeth is in shock and running to find her aunt and uncle when Darcy appears, has her send a servant instead, and does what he can to help. Elizabeth and her aunt and uncle leave Pemberly as fast as they can, and make it back to Longbourn. Mr. Gardner instantly leaves to help find Lydia, and Elizabeth is left to wait anxiously. Fortunately Lydia is found, she and Mr. Wickham are forced to marry. Lydia upon coming back home, accidentally lets drop that Mr. Darcy was there, and Elizabeth, desperately wanting to know more, writes to her aunt for the particulars.
It’s revealed that Darcy searched for, found Lydia and then paid all of Wickham’s debts and arranged for their marriage. Bingley and Darcy come back to Longbourn, and Jane and Bingley’s love is renewed. They get engaged. Darcy reveals he still loves Elizabeth, who now confesses she loves him as well, and both couples get married.
What I liked:
Wow that was a long summary! There was more story to the book than I was expecting when I summarized it, and I think I may have missed a few things. Oh well! At least you know the gist!
One of the things I liked about Pride and Prejudice was the humor. It’s not a comedic book, but it is witty, and it kept me chuckling as I read it. I also liked the two main characters, Darcy and Elizabeth, and reading their transformations from prideful and prejudiced to humbled and open-minded. I also enjoyed reading about how they really started to care for each other. Jane was such a sweet character to cheer on. Everything was tied up nicely with a satisfying bright red bow, and it’s one of those happy feel-good stories to read.
Content Concerns/Things to know:
Please note that I read laser focused on looking for content concerns so that I can write this review. It’s going to seem like there are a lot, but often they’re incredibly easy to gloss over or miss, and they’re not as concerning within the context of the story.
Lydia gets married in a church, and one of their relations, Mr. Collins, is the head of a parish. He’s rather pompous and ridiculous, prone to postulation, and upon hearing what Lydia did said: “you ought certainly to forgive them, as a Christian, but to never admit them in your sight or allow their names to be mentioned in your hearing.” That sentiment, of course, is touted as ridiculous, with the comment “that is his notion of Christian forgiveness!”
I mean – it’s Pride and Prejudice. The plot is centered around people falling in love!
Lydia runs off with a officer she likes and lives with him for two weeks before they are found and forced to marry.
People fall in love and get married. Marriage is basically the whole goal of the story.
It’s occasionally mentioned that someone has a fine figure, or a man will comment that one women has an exceptionally fine figure, and when one women is trying to impress Mr. Darcy/get him to like her, she walks around the room to show off her fine figure and ability to walk. He calls her out on it.
This is basically the extent of it. There is no kissing, and absolutely no touching, other than dancing.
Nothing to put here, though in one of Mr. Collin’s foolish letters to Mr. Bennett, he says it would be better if his daughter had dies than bring such grace shame to their family. Mr. Collins is a very odd person.
After Lydia runs off, Mrs. Bennett wants to know who’s going to fight to make the officer marry Lydia (there’s no fighting).
God’s name and the Lord’s name is taken in vain multiple, times. Like maybe eight?
Other things to know:
A few different card games are played which involve lottery tickets and placing bets.
Lydia is a great study for what not to do. She’s an abominable flirt, cares only for clothing and guys, and is a terrible influence on her sister Kitty. None of this is stemmed by their parents, either, despite warnings from Elizabeth, and (maybe?) Jane. Her behavior is touted as sad, and ridiculous. One of Lydia’s schemes involves dressing a male as a female as a joke.
Mr. and Mrs. Bennett aren’t necessarily great parents – they don’t stem Lydia, and have a somewhat distant marriage, with it being noted that Mr. Bennet married her for her beauty and then realized she was flighty and foolish, which led to him being a withdrawn father and husband. Unfortunately Mrs. Bennet doesn’t see anything wrong with Lydia, and, in fact, she almost encourages her. Mrs. Bennet’s one desire is to get her daughters married, and everything she says and does comes from a self-centered viewpoint with this goal in mind. She is gossipy and makes improper comments in public. As an example of her character, she delights in the fact that Jane has to ride horseback Bingley’s, because then it might rain and Jane might have to stay the night (not caring that Jane could get sick.) and when Jane does get sick, she’s more delighted than she is concerned about it because it means she must stay at the house longer. The book points out the results of a broken marriage and uninvolved parents.
In a discussion about the amount of money Mr. Darcy had, one young whippersnapper declares he would drink a bottle of wine a day if he had that much. An adult does tell him that would be too much, and she would take the bottle away directly if she saw him at it.
Elizabeth tells a couple falsehoods, some of them covering up Lydia’s poor behavior.
Characters gossip, and show Pride and Prejudice, though they have wonderful character arcs and improve drastically at the end. (😁 See what I did there? 😏)
I don’t know why, but I love Pride and Prejudice. Elizabeth is a fun character and I like Mr. Darcy. I enjoyed seeing how they both changed, and their back and forth relationship is really fun to read about. Jane’s simple sweetness was a refreshing part of the story, and I couldn’t help but roll my eyes at Lady Cathrine, Mr. Collins, Mrs. Bennet, Lydia and the rest of the ridiculous cast of characters. Jane Austen’s wit kept me chuckling throughout as I read it, and even though it’s lighthearted, there’s enough depth in the book to cause me to pause and think.
Charlotte tells Jane that “in nine cases out of ten a women had better show more affection than she feels.” What do you think about this advice? Is it true/wise?
Consider what Lydia did. Now days, something like that wouldn’t cause such a stir, but back then it was huge. Why do you think moral standards have changed? According to the Bible, was what Lydia did right?
Consider Lydia’s behavior. Why do you think she acts like this? Why does she consider running off with Wickham a good joke?
Charlotte says that “happiness in marriage is a choice.” What do you think about this statement? do you agree?
Why do you think Mrs. Bennet isn’t a great mother? What does all of her decisions and comments stem from?
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Not included due to the unfortunate happenstance of God’s name being taken in vain.
Taken from amazon.
“Few have failed to be charmed by the witty and independent spirit of Elizabeth Bennet in Austen’s beloved classic Pride and Prejudice. When Elizabeth Bennet first meets eligible bachelor Fitzwilliam Darcy, she thinks him arrogant and conceited; he is indifferent to her good looks and lively mind. When she later discovers that Darcy has involved himself in the troubled relationship between his friend Bingley and her beloved sister Jane, she is determined to dislike him more than ever. In the sparkling comedy of manners that follows, Jane Austen shows us the folly of judging by first impressions and superbly evokes the friendships, gossip and snobberies of provincial middle-class life.”