Monday, 12 October 2009

Perfect Accord: Elizabeth loves Darcy! and Pride and Prejudice Question 12

What happened to you all? How did such perfect accord happen? jnaj, what did you do to them? Is it possible that there is absolutely no controversy about the question: did Elizabeth love Darcy??

I suppose, given that Pride & Prejudice provided the blueprint for one of the most basic plots upon which many romance novels afterwards were based, it makes no sense to question whether the hero and heroine really love each other.

So, without much ado, on to the next question, which is related, but which requires a little more work. [I did give you a break].

In my Fallen Angels Review guest blog, I talk about Pride and Prejudice as a blueprint, and compare it to the Cinderella story (scroll down the page to find it). In what way is Pride and Prejudice an archetypal love story, one that we see over and over in romance, and in what other ways is it totally unique? (reading the guest blog will give you a starting point, I hope).

9 comments:

  1. I am planning to comment here, but I want to let someone else go first. I feel like I "hogged" the stage yesterday. :)

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  2. As it is bedtime in the UK, it is time for me to post!

    I think that P & P may be seen as an archetypal love story in that both Darcy and Lizzie are waiting for that "perfect" someone! They aren't willing to settle, even if society deems it the right thing to do. Collins and Anne D. were both suitable matches according to the society's standards, but they were neither one enough to attract Lizzie or Darcy.

    You also see, as in most fairy-tale romances, that the protagonist(s) must overcome some obstacle: wicked step-mothers, enchanted castles. In P & P these obstacles are pride and prejudice. Both Lizzie and Darcy are transformed into better creatures by the end of the story and have each other's love as their reward.

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  3. OK, I'll go, because I think I can actually keep it short today. So many of the archetypal stories have women in passive or victimized roles. I love the way you talked about Cinderella, Monica! When they are strong, they're usually evil, like Cinderella's or Snow White's stepmothers, or even that woman in the red shoes story who ends up dancing forever in burning shoes. Elizabeth is a victim of being a woman in Regency society, in danger of being left destitute with her mother and sisters if their father dies before she can marry, and destined to marry poorly because she can't bring much money to the marriage. But she'd rather be poor than marry Mr. Collins, so she rejects her mother's "fairy godmother-ish" role when Mrs. Bennet throws the two of them together. And she turns away from the "handsome prince" with the huge fortune who can provide security for her whole family when she first rejects Mr. Darcy. She might have to get married to save herself, but by God, she's going to do it on her terms, and she's not going to marry someone she sees as an arrogant snob. And instead of being punished for it with a horrible ending, she's rewarded when Darcy changes for the better for her.

    OK, not as short as I'd hoped. Shutting up now.

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  4. Interesting to picture Mrs. Bennett as a fairy god-mother! :)

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  5. I used to be obsessed with the notion of P&P as an archtypal Cinderella story (rich prince, poor but good/beautiful girl who is worthy) but there were two elements that I couldn't make fit--the wicked sister(s) and Elizabeth's initial rejection of Darcy. While Mrs. B and Lydia/Mary/Kitty are silly and provide some hinderance, silly isn't the same as wicked. Furthermore, Jane Bennet is a positive ally, and no Cinderella story that I know of has a Jane B. kind of character helping/supporting/encouraging the heroine. And E. rejecting the prince because he's not good enough for her? Where is that in Cinderella? The girl has spunk!

    Then, I went through a phase where I saw it as an archetypal Beauty & Beast story. If I had to pick between the two, I would put P&P in the B&B camp although unlike the B&B legend, Mr. Darcy was not universally despised for outward appearance nor for his manners (e.g., Caroline Bingley thought him perfectly princely). But his effort to transform himself because of his love for Elizabeth is definitely B&B.

    There's no doubt that Austen was well read, and knew her Shakespeare and mythology as well as folklore. Just as NA is a sendup of gothic novels, P&P has enough classic fairytale elements that I doubt it's an accident (i.e., the subconscious at work) that they are there.

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  6. Darcy and Lizzy are trying to fing the "perfect" mates for each other. Just an average is not enought for them, they want the real thing.

    Like in fairytales, Lizzy has some obstacles on her way to happiness, her pride and prejudices. Also Darcy has the obstacles but with time they both notice that they were wrong.

    I don't see P&P as a fairytale, but I must say that it has so elements from fairytales.(Cinderella- Rich guy, poor girl, obstacles etc.)

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  7. Interesting concept, I hadn't really ever thought of P&P as traditional fairy tale. I can see how Darcy could be considered the "rich prince" with Lizzy being any number of fairy tale poor girls who are rescued. P&P really transcends this though. Lizzy rejects Darcy until she really knows his true nature. How much did Cinderella really know about her prince besides that she was attracted to him and that he was rich? Also the great wit and characters are beyond anything in a fairy tale.

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  8. I purposely did not read the other responses.

    It is like the typical love story, particularly many of the ones seen in movies today, in that the heroine and hero hate one another or dislike one another intensely for much of the book until they ultimately realize they are perfect for one another and fall in love, etc.

    However, this story is unique in that it is not about castles and wicked step mothers and that most of the obstacles are internal problems or flaws with the characters themselves. Moreover, the main heroine is strong and not a "victim." She has her own opinions and is not whining about finding a husband for the sake of finding one. In that way the unwillingness to compromise to societal norms is fantastic.

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  9. I really don't know why I even bother to comment. jnaj, Tracygrrrl, and others are able to state their answers with such depth and meaning.

    Rich boy meets poor girl. Family disapproves. Yada, yada, yada...Love conquers all.

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