Man meets woman, man loves woman, man woos woman and finally woman gives in. This hackneyed story line is what Pride and Prejudice in short is about and yet 400 years later it is considered to be one of the greatest love stories of all times. What is it that makes this book different?
"In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you."
Pride and Prejudice is a story set in times very different from our own. It has created the perfect portrayal of an ideal lady from a woman's perspective and can therefore appeal to almost any woman's imagination of herself. Elizabeth has slight flaws and that adds to making her character more idealistic. Elizabeth is not the most beautiful woman, in fact she is surpassed by her very own sister in beauty. She is not poor enough nor oppressed nor cheated in love to deserve sympathy from the reader. She is a bold, confident, attractive woman who isn't afraid to speak her mind. She has wit and humor than mere beauty that make her attractive.She is the kind of woman the female reader wants to be.
Then is brought in an almost perfect man with a slightly corroded edge that wants work. The famous Mr Darcy, who is swooned over by millions of female readers! Every woman dreams of meeting a Mr Darcy. The handsome, rich, proud man who is ultimately transformed into a caring, social being by a woman's influence! Mr Darcy, a social misfit, an image of haughtiness is tempted miserably by Elizabeth's wit and beauty much to her own initial shock and dismay. She gets to despise him while other women fawn over him. How then he falls from his haughty pedestal and gets dragged around by his emotions! How he is tossed and turned and lifted and crushed by his angst. The initial feelings of repulsion for the character, turn into pity and further into admiration and crescendos into an ultimate adoration. And since the sole object of this transformation is a woman who is not even the most beautiful, makes it a dream that almost any woman can hope to live. Which women wouldn't dream of being an instrument of such difference and the sole object of attraction to a powerful man. Isn't it a woman's basic instinct to correct and reform the wildness in a man by her beauty, charm and sense!
Add to it the social climate of the 1700's. Romance is literally oozing out of every page of the book. It seeps out through the lace trimmings of dresses, from the ribbons and bows of hats and the chariots and horses, from the castles and balls and the curtsies and bows and even from the humble cottage of Mr Colins. It is colored by bright streaks of beauty and life by the presence of the six young woman. Add to it a bit of comic in the form of Mrs Bennet, Mr Collins and Lady Catherine and it just about completes it.
That is Pride and Prejudice! A fantasy scrubbed and shone to brilliance by Jane Austen's sharp observation and painstaking rounds of editing, written sitting on a wooden desk by a feather quill. The ideality of the writer's imagination when colored by the readers own wistful longings of 'reality with a touch of fantasy' creates magic.
And that is why I am in love with Pride and Prejudice.