Pride and Prejudice: How a Classic Novel Taught a Fourteen Year-old to love Period Pieces.
When I was a sophomore in high school I had the great privilege of taking my end of the year exams early as I was in the running to be on the honor roll. Of course, with three awards and, back then, with five of us competing for a medal, it was a competition. I eventually found out that I placed fourth and that meant I was not part of the commencement exercise, which was practiced daily. I also could not ‘hang’ with my other classmates since I knew the answers to the exams they were currently suffering through. With our ‘fifth’ out sick, I was left alone for two weeks and nothing to do in my school’s library. I spent that time, instead of being bored senseless, changing my life. How? By reading Pride and Prejudice for the first time.
NO ONE FORGETS A FIRST TIME
I looked upon it with suspicion born from countless hours spent forcing myself to read and enjoy Shakespeare. Delivered in the monotonous voice of a less than enthusiastic teacher, I felt that anything written before the 1990’s would make me snooze. (No worries, I have since then grown a tremendous appreciation for the Bard’s works, but I do digress). But as my librarian was a tremendously strict lady, who didn’t allow people to sleep in her precious domain, I viewed the book as a less evil alternative to staring blankly into space.
From the very first word, I was hooked. The book gave a tremendously good first impression with its opening, ”It is a truth universally acknowledged that a man in possession of fortune must be in want of a wife." It was a concept so different from what I grew up knowing that I could not put the book down. Ask my best friend about it since I forgot to meet her for lunch that day.
A ROMANTIC’S DREAM
Any romantic who reads Pride and Prejudice would probably spend days gushing about the totally dreamy Mr. Darcy and how they’d want to meet one someday. But while I had romantic fantasies (Hello, adolescent girl still hoping for her first kiss?) I didn’t just dream about Mr. Darcy. I fell in love with the entire thing. From the sweet and beautiful Jane Bennett to the out of place ugly duckling, Mary and even the condescendingly rude Lady Catherine of Rosings Park.
If you’ve fallen in love you know what a tremendous rush it is and reading (and consequently rereading) the classic was no doubt my first experience regarding love. While I was, and still am, a mystery story lover, Pride and Prejudice converted me into full blown love of period pieces whether in print or on screen.
DID YOU SEE ALL THAT FABRIC?
Yes, the book has outdated values and traditions in terms of relationships between men and women, but that’s what made it so attractive to me. The way they dressed was beautiful and the language they use makes the most eloquent of today’s speakers sound like a slang-speaking toddler.
Anyway, even if you don’t like romance you won’t exactly hate this book. It’s all about human interaction in a time long gone and to my way of thinking, it’s an accurate view of little slices from that time period. To this day, like I said above, I still maintain a tremendous love of period pieces. Of course, being my first, I have a special place for Mr. Darcy and his Lizzie in my heart and have yet to get tired of them (I never will)!
This is the 2005 movie adaptation of this timeless classic. It's not completely faithful to the book but the imagery is beautiful and the soundtrack is worthy of a few lazy days for daydreaming.
This is the first out of six episodes from the 1995 BBC miniseries. It's long but for anything else, it has Colin Firth as the gorgeous Mr. Darcy. (I know I didn't resist.)
Jane Austen wrote 5 other novels and this one is as beautiful as Pride and Prejudice.
Here's a sample of the beautiful soundtrack of the 2005 version,