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.
“All! — What, all five out at once? Very odd! — And you only the second. — The younger ones out before the elder are married! — Your younger sisters must be very young?”
“Yes, my youngest is not sixteen. Perhaps she is full young to be much in company. But really, Ma’am, I think it would be very hard upon younger sisters, that they should not have their share of society and amusement because the elder may not have the means or inclination to marry early. — The last born has as good a right to the pleasures of youth, as the first. And to be kept back on such a motive! — I think it would not be very likely to promote sisterly affection or delicacy of mind.” –Jane Austen Pride & Prejudice
Today’s post is about sisters. In particular, the five Bennet girls: Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Catherine (Kitty) and the youngest Lydia. It is on these girls, their lack of fortune and their mother’s will to get them married well that the plot of Pride and Prejudice focuses.
I have already done full posts individually on Elizabeth and Jane Bennet. They are the two oldest, the most significant to the story and are best friends. Each couldn’t be more unalike, but they care greatly for each other. I’ll not say more about them except they are the most sensible Bennet girls.
The third Bennet daughter is Mary. She is described as ”being the only plain one in the family.” To make up for that, Mary “worked hard for knowledge and accomplishments” and “was always impatient for display.” Unfortunately, her abilities never reach her hopes. It’s Mary’s need to shine at singing and playing the pianoforte that are one part of the embarrassment Elizabeth feels at the Netherfield Ball.
Kitty (short for Catherine) is the fourth child, but she is more of a follower than a leader to her younger sister. She is described as “weak-spirited, irritable, and completely under Lydia’s guidance.” The story finds her mostly trailing behind Lydia in every scheme. She resents that Lydia gets to go visit their friend in Brighton and she is to be left behind.
Lydia may be the youngest Bennet girl, but in this story she is the most crucial to the story after Elizabeth and Jane. The description of her says that she is “a stout, well-grown girl of fifteen, with a fine complexion and good-humoured countenance; a favourite with her mother, whose affection had brought her into public at an early age. She had high animal spirits, and a sort of natural self-consequence…” It is Lydia’s self assurance combined with a lack of discipline from her parents that lands her in the dire situation with Wickham. She has no care beyond her own comfort. Spoiled and beyond silly, Lydia is a hinge that helps allow the door of criticism on Elizabeth’s family to swing open.
In a time where females of their station were supposed to be “accomplished” at all sorts of entertainments, the Bennet girls seem to be almost free spirits. They are all different, but rally together as family. It’s their lively spirit and what I would call realistic normalcy that makes me love these sisters so much.