Saturday, April 28, 2012

Book Review: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

It's a little known fact that Jane Austen had originally proposed a subtitle for this book (later shot down by the publisher): Pride and Prejudice; or Love Comes to the Chattering Women.

The plot of this classic work is obvious from the very first page: will the women stop talking long enough for there to be any action? This is implicit in Mr. Bennet's otherwise innocuous response to his wife's question about whether or not he wants to know the latest tidbit of gossip: "You want to tell me."
Even Mr. Darcy notes that this is the issue of the book, when he asks Elizabeth "do you talk by rule then, while you are dancing?" (pg 67). Elizabeth's response is one of extreme shock, as if the alternative had never even occurred to her. Why wouldn't one talk while dancing?

Perhaps the greatest moment of the book is (spoiler alert) when Lady Catherine comes to talk (of course) Miss Bennet out of her engagement with Mr. Darcy. Miss Bennet refuses, and in a surprise move Lady Catherine pulls a pistol and says "maybe you'd like to reconsider my suggestion." After 300 pages of conversation, this single action was so jarring a moment that I have no choice but to raise the star rating of this book to 3.

I guess what I'm saying is that in this particular instance I agree with Rat:

Pearls Before Swine

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