The April A to Z Blogging Challenge is a month long event where I, and more than 2000 other bloggers, will post every day of the month (except Sundays) using a different letter of the alphabet. The theme of my posts will be “What I Love About Pride and Prejudice.” Click the link above or the A to Z badge in my sidebar to visit other participants.
“And your defect is to hate everybody.”
“And yours,” he replied with a smile, “is willfully to misunderstand them.” – Jane Austen Pride & Prejudice
It may come as no surprise to you that earlier drafts of the book we now know as Pride and Prejudice were called First Impressions. The story is all about the perceptions founded in the beginning of the acquaintance of Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet and how these “first impressions” hold off the romance that later develops.
At their very first encounter, even before they were introduced, Darcy insults Elizabeth by calling her looks “tolerable.” Now, Elizabeth was eavesdropping on his conversation with Mr. Bingley and it appears he had no idea she could hear them, but no matter. He wounded her ego. This colors her view of him for the greater part of the story.
This instant dislike of Darcy makes it easy to find fault in everything he does. It also allows Elizabeth to easily be swayed by George Wickham in his aversion of the man. Her fire of dislike for Mr. Darcy is easily fueled.
Even after he starts to change his mind on his feelings for her, Elizabeth holds true to her grudge. It is only after the disaster of a first proposal that both she and Darcy start to loosen the prejudice they have for each other.
In a way I’m like Elizabeth. It’s not that I’m always clever or witty (sometimes, maybe). What I’m getting at is that I can be fairly biased. Especially when it comes to the romantic story lines I want to read. My preference is for there to be some misunderstanding or circumstances that keeps the two people apart.
Tension. That is my favorite thing about Pride and Prejudice. That tension is what has kept readers for two centuries awake all night turning the pages. If it’s weren’t there, the story would be flat.
Like Mr. Darcy, “my good opinion once lost is lost for ever.” If the writer makes the romance to easy, I lose interest and will move on to the next book. Luckily, Jane Austen always delivers on that front.