Monday, 19 October 2009

Pride and Prejudice Question 19

Well, I do admit it's difficult to pick out just one passage/section out of the book. I would have picked most of the ones you picked, as they're really hillarious. I like this passage, both because it's funny but also it's an unusual moment in which we suddenly see Elizabeth from Darcy's perspective.

"I cannot talk of books in a ball-room; my head is always full of something else."
"The present always occupies you in such scenes -- does it?" said he, with a look of doubt.
"Yes, always," she replied, without knowing what she said, for her thoughts had wondered from the subject..."

Exquisite! A few skilful strokes of the pen, and you have it!

And now to my new question:

Pride and Prejudice Question 19

Jane Austen is often praised for her knowledge of human character. If you had to choose a character in P&P who was the most “human” in the sense of being someone you could easily meet in the world today (and isn’t typical of a particular time or period), who would that character be and why?

10 comments:

  1. Hmmm . . . another tough question. There are so many characters in the book that are true to life. I think Elizabeth would be the character I would most likely meet in real life. A caring sister, who is fun, witty, but has a good moral sense. She also can have a bit of a mean streak when she picks on other people. I have a couple of friends and a sister that are modern day Elizabeth's.

    Austen did such a fantastic job writing a three dimensional portrait of Elizabeth that it is easy to imagine being this character or knowing her.

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  2. Austen's knowledge of human character was so good that I believe that you could meet many of her P & P characters today. The rules of society have changed, but human nature hasn't. Lydia and Wickham, people who live for themselves and their own pleasure; Mr. Bennett who lets his family fend for itself, these are people you could meet today. On the other hand, you probably won't meet Charlotte Lucas of Lady Catherine again. They were definitely porducts of their time.

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  3. I agree with Laura--Elizabeth, Elizabeth, Elizabeth! Jeannette, I wonder if we still meet a version of Charlotte Lucas. I have a friend who once told me that she came very close to "settling" and marrying an "ugly, strange man" because she thought that was the best she could do, and it was better than being alone. It was ridiculous--she's beautiful and very smart, but her self-esteem wasn't so great when she was younger. Women may not need a provider as desperately as they did back in Jane's day, but I think some do settle like Charlotte did, sadly. (Fortunately, my friend did not marry the weird guy and ended up falling in love with another good friend, and they're both very happy!)

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  4. What about Aunt and Uncle Gardnier? I think they could be anyone's aunt and uncle today. Very low key (and in the background) but willing to take you on an "adventure" and be the voice of reason when you just can't talk to anyone else. Plus Uncle Gardnier was willing to go to the ends of the earth to find Lydia and was such a comfort to Mrs. Bennet. Ideal relatives!

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  6. Unbelievable, I tried to correct the typos in my earlier post and repeated them a second time. Sorry everyone!

    And, yes, I wish I had an Uncle Gardiner somedays.

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  7. I have a friend like Jane Bennet. She is naive, friendly to everyone and always tries to think best of everyone even though I think that deep inside she knows if someone is not the "good guy". I have know her for over a year now and even though me and my other friends gossip about other people she is always trying to defend the others.

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  8. I think Jane Austen left us with so many "human" characters that could easily translate today.

    Elizabeth Bennet certainly. I do agree with Charlotte Lucas - - I have met more people than I care to admit who have "settled" in relationships, taking what they believe is the best they can get. Not for the same reasons Charlotte did, obviously - - but settled nonetheless. And I have met a few who would never be cnosidered romantic, like Charlotte.

    I agree with Jeanette's naming of Wickham. He and Willoughby would certainly be easily found today. Not necessarily for taking a girl off to marry but certainly to break her heart or "spoil" her without intention of taking the relationship further.

    I also think Emma Woodhouse could be found today, as so brilliantly parodied in "Clueless" - - a nosy matchmaker who is so busy being in other people's lives that she can't clearly see her own.

    I also think a bit of Anne Elliot can be found in each one of us - - mainly because we always remember our first love. It certainly wouldn't be unusual today for a 27 year old woman to still be single, unlike in Jane Austen's time.

    I must agree with the general consensus - - Aunt and Uncle Gardiner were wonderful!

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  9. I must be drinking out of a half-empty glass today but I see more Caroline Bingleys, Louisa Hursts, and Kitty Bennets than anything else. The catty, snobby rich girl is not a stereotype for nothing...they're out there ready to stomp their way to the top of the heap.

    And Kitty--vain, pretty, unambitious, spineless, but basically a good girl who could be guided if she had a parent or sibling who cared to try.

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  10. Wickham. Take away his fancy military clothes and proper English and you've got the modern day twenty-something male! haha I know a number of these 21st century Wickhams myself.

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