Tuesday, March 22, 2011

One of my obsessions is Pride and Prejudice. 

I keep the a DVD of the 1995 version in my laptop half the time. It makes for a soothing bedtime story.
And it is a sort of fairy story, I think. An especially guilty pleasure of mine is reading fanfiction. No I don't have anything posted of my own so don't bother to try and find it. Yet. Or not.

Jane Austen set the tone for romance stories to come with this particular tale. 
While I am  no literary critic and have very limited access to journals that might give me further insight into such things, I do have my own theory as to its timelessness: It is but another story of anima and animus projection, and the journey taken by two people to withdraw those deceptive parts of themselves back into themselves where they belong. In non Jungian language, Pride and Prejudice is about overcoming one's 'ideals' about men/women in order to truly love. For that is what mature love is about: loving the person who is, not the one you wish them to be. So who are the hero and heroine and what is their story? For those who do not know them, I give you: one Fitzwilliam Darcy, dashing albeit diffident man of wealth and consequence, and Miss Elizabeth Bennet, lively country gentleman's daughter with fine eyes. On this occasion, however, let us focus on Lizzy.

So is Lizzy a Wierd Chick? Sometimes I think so, sometimes not. For those in her sphere, I think an argument can be made that she is. She is frightfully clever, and doesn't mind speaking up, both traits that proper ladies did not claim in that era if they wanted to get a man. She does not possess all the arts that might allure a man of consequence to her: she doesn't speak multiple languages, it seems she doesn't draw, she has never had a governess nor been to a finishing school. She certainly doesn't come with a generous dowry and her family is definitely eccentric. She doesn't have a figure that is the ideal of the day- it 'lacks symmetry', which means it doesn't look like this (which is to say- the supermodel look of the day).

Neither humble means nor eccentricity were helpful in the quest to land a gentleman of her station in England her day. Oh and lest I forget: she loves to walk miles and miles and doesn't care if she gets dirty. These are all the qualities which would cause the ladies and gentlemen of her society to find her a little unrefined, not to mention, financially unworthy. 
Perhaps this may cinch the argument that Lizzy is indeed a Wierd Chick: That day at Hunsford, she refuses his proposal! Again, for a woman who could certainly benefit from such a marriage financially (both for herself and her family) she refuses because, at the time, she does not love him. She does not see many good qualities already. She is rightfully offended by his awkward declaration and tells him so. While many would like to say they'd stand up, I think that it takes particular wit and will to actually do so.
These are characteristics of the Smart Chick variety of the Wierd Chick.While some Smart Chicks are not as confident or as charming, Lizzy is. But the thing that many if not all Smart Chicks have in common is that they are just too smart for some potential partners. Cleverness can be off-putting to people whether the relationship is romantic or platonic, or otherwise. Lizzy's cleverness would not allow her to make any decision that went against her ideals. She was so clever, in fact, she didn't realize the fallibility of some of her said ideals. Does she figure it out in time? Suffice it to say, Lizzy is admirable because she does. For those Smart Chicks who speak out and let their intelligence show, it is gratifying to think that at least *someone* (like Mr. Darcy, and her dad, oh- and her sister Jane, and her Aunt and Uncle Gardiner, and Georgianna....) appreciates us.