The April A to Z Blogging Challenge is where a few thousand bloggers post every day of the month (except Sundays) using a different letter of the alphabet. My theme is: “What I Love About Pride and Prejudice.”
Y is for Young
“Young ladies of her age are sometimes a little difficult to manage…” –Jane Austen Pride & Prejudice
Being a Young Adult fiction writer, I think I should point out that Pride & Prejudice is ALL about the young people. Anyone….ehmm….old in the story (save the Gardiners who are angels from Heaven) is pretty much ridiculous. Case in point: Mr. & Mrs. Bennet plus good ‘ole Lady Catherine de Bourgh.
Instead of harping about what importance youth was to Jane Austen’s storyline, I thought I would share some quotes containing the word YOUNG and/or YOUTH from the book.
“Why, my dear, you must know, Mrs. Long says that Netherfield is taken by a young man of large fortune from the north of England…” –Mrs. Bennet to Mr. Bennet on page one of the book.
“He is just what a young man ought to be,” said she, “sensible, good-humored, lively, and I never saw such happy manners!” –Jane to Elizabeth about Bingley.
“Mr. Darcy, you must allow me to present this young lady to you as a very desirable partner.” –Sir William Lucas offers up Elizabeth to Mr. Darcy as a dancing partner as she crosses the room.
“It is amazing to me how young ladies can have patience to be very accomplished as they all are.” –Bingley to room at Netherfield when Elizabeth was staying there to be near an ill Jane.
“But I can assure the young ladies that I come prepared to admire them.” Mr. Collins to Mrs. Bennet upon arriving at Longbourne.
“I do assure you that I am not one of those young ladies (if such young ladies there are) who are daring as to risk their happiness on the chance of being asked a second time.” –Elizabeth to Mr. Collins upon refusing his marriage proposal.
“You will hardly bear to be long outdone by Jane. Now is your time. Here are officers enough at Meryton to disappoint all the young ladies in the country. Let Wickham be your man. He is a pleasant fellow, and will jilt you creditably.” Mr. Bennet to Elizabeth regarding how a female likes to be crossed in love.
“But really, ma’am, I think it would be very hard upon younger sisters, that they should not have their share of society and amusements, because the elder may not have the means or inclination to marry early.” Elizabeth speaking her mind to Lady Catherine.
“The situation of your mother’s family, though objectionable, was nothing in comparison of that total want of propriety so frequently, so almost uniformly betrayed by herself, by your three younger sisters, and occasionally even by your father.” Darcy to Elizabeth regarding his concerns in marrying her.
“She is my youngest girl, but one, my youngest of all is lately married; and my eldest is somewhere about the ground, walking with a young man, who I believe, will soon become part of the family.” Mrs. Bennet to Lady Catherine, bragging.
“I am no stranger to the particulars of your youngest sister’s infamous elopement. I know it all; that the young man’s marrying her was a patched-up business, at the expense of your father and uncle.” Lady Catherine to Elizabeth when she came to insist Elizabeth not marry Darcy.
“If any young men come for Mary or Kitty, send them in, for I am quite at leisure.” Mr. Bennet to the house after Jane and Elizabeth have become engaged.
I searched for these quotes, picking the ones that most intrigued me. Afterwards I laid them out in sequential order and discovered something. Reading them this way almost tells the whole story. Obviously, youth is important to the book. It is the lives of these young people, some more mature than others, that are the focus of Pride & Prejudice.