My A to Z of Pride and Prejudice – Letter L

Pride-and-Prejudice_LOVE(I hope you notice the change in the header…it goes with today’s L theme and will be on the posts for the rest of the month. Who suspected Darcy had dimples? ♥)
 

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.

L

L is for LOVE!

“She began now to comprehend that he was exactly the man who, in disposition and talents, would most suit her. His understanding and temper, though unlike her own, would have answered all her wishes. It was a union that must have been to the advantage of both: by her ease and liveliness, his mind might have been softened, his manners improved; and from his judgement, information, and knowledge of the world, she must have received benefit of greater importance.”  –Jane Austen Pride & Prejudice

Marriages in the 1800s were not always love matches. The idea that we have to care for our future partner is a somewhat new concept. In the Regency Period, the gentry were supposed to marry out of family duty and to maintain reputations. Affection was something that came later.

If Jane Austen agreed with these standards, she would have had Elizabeth Bennet marry Mr. Collins. Here was the perfect chance for Lizzie to keep her family home “in the family.” She couldn’t bring herself to comply. Who could blame her?

There are plenty of weddings taking place throughout the story. Charlotte Lucas marries Mr. Collins. Lydia Bennet marries (…ehmmm) Mr. Wickham. [SPOILER – HA!] At the end of the book Jane marries Mr. Bingley and Elizabeth marries Mr. Darcy.

The first two are not love matches. Charlotte, not being a romantic, weds to secure her future. Lydia and Wickham marry because he is bribed by Mr. Darcy. Jane Austen makes it clear that these marriages are not happy.

Jane and Elizabeth, though, do marry for love. Even with the rocky first steps the couples face in the beginning work out for the best. The misunderstandings between Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy work to make the love that they feel for each other strong. Because they had to work for it, perhaps they have to value it more.

Love

Elizabeth and Darcy wed in BBC 1995 mini-series Pride & Prejudice

All of Jane Austen’s novels finish with at least one loving marriage. That is the happy ending her characters strive to achieve. She herself never married. Much has been written about her engagement to a wealthy man who was friends with her family. The reports are that it lasted one day before she called it off. There are other stories that suggest she was deeply in love with another man, but his lack of wealth and family responsibilities kept them from marrying. In Jane Austen’s time real affection wasn’t considered necessary for a successful marriage, but it’s clear from the stories she wrote that she knew that it took more than just money. Jane Austen knew that love was crucial for happiness.

Pride and Prejudice is considered one of the greatest love stories ever told. Jane Austen wrote about a girl who refused a comfortable marriage (thank goodness) because she couldn’t respect or love the man who offered. She would hold out for affection over fortune. Lucky thing is, she got both.

Could it be that our ideas today of romantic love come from Jane Austen? What do you think? I LOVE your comments and remarks!

 

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Categories: Thoughts, Uncategorized, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

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10 thoughts on “My A to Z of Pride and Prejudice – Letter L

  1. I know I certainly expect too much from love due to Jane Austen’s incredible stories, I should really lower my expectations! But then, who doesn’t want their own Darcy or Bingley? 🙂

    • I never expected to find Mr. Darcy because as far as I’ve seen, he doesn’t exist. I just wanted to find someone I could love, respect and help me maintain (financially) a life. That, I have.
      Pride and Prejudice is a fantasy…a lovely idea. I bet it was Jane Austen’s fantasy too. And, in the end, she never found Mr. Darcy either.
      I wish you luck in love!

  2. Jane Austen certainly knew how to write a great love story and great leading characters. She contrasts true love with love for the wrong reasons a lot, too, which I find interesting. I’m so glad we don’t have the pressure to marry for family like there used to be.

    • I so agree about how far we’ve come. Back then, affection came later. Now, we expect to be crazy in love before we marry. Thanks for commenting!

  3. Unfortunately, I do have incredibly high expectations on love, in part because of my youthful fascination with Austen. But it didn’t keep me from marrying a Wickham. After a very turbulent two years and a very messy divorce, I will not settle again. Granted, like I’ve said before, I’m more of a Wentworth (or even a Tilney) kind of girl versus a Darcy, but there is a modicum of standards I am no longer willing to compromise on. I know there are good men out there (my sister has one of the best), but if it’s not meant to be for me, then a happy spinster I will be!

    • I honestly don’t think you need to start with the word “unfortunately.” It sounds like you have every reason to keep your expectations high.
      Fortunately, if you don’t find Capt. Wentworth, you can be happy with yourself.
      Thanks for continuing to come by!

  4. Liz Blocker

    I didn’t know that about Austen, actually. I knew that she never married, but I didn’t know that it might have been because she couldn’t marry the man she loved. That throws so much light on her books…

    • The movie, starring Anne Hathaway & James MacAvoy, called Becoming Jane (it is wonderful) is based on a book about this time in her life. I’m sure they took poetic license to make the film have more of a beginning, middle and end, but the book (same name) is pretty much historical information.

  5. I like the comments as well as your interesting post. If a person waits for the perfect man to come along, it will never happen, as is the case of 2 spinsters I know. Work with the selection out there, and chose someone who will make you happy, as we all have faults. Nice theme. AtoZer http://www.writer-way.blogspot.com

    • I really agree. If I waited for Mr. Darcy, I doubt I would be as content in my life. Also, who’s to say if I found him that I would be his Elizabeth?

      For me, Jane Austen is the secret fantasy I read. I never expect it for myself.

      Thank you for stopping by!

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