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Posts Tagged ‘jane in june’

Source: Personal library
Rating: ★★★★★

“How despicably have I acted!” she cried; “I who have prided myself on my discernment!  I, who have valued myself on my abilities! who have often disdained the generous candor of my sister, and gratified my vanity in useless or blameable distrust.  How humiliating in this discovery! yet, how just a humiliation!  Had I been in love, I could not have been more wretchedly blind.  But vanity, not love, has been my folly.  Pleased with the preference of one, and offended by the neglect of the other, on the very beginning of our acquaintance, I have courted prepossession and ignorance, and driven reason away, where either were concerned.  Till this moment I never knew myself.”

(from Pride and Prejudice, page 279)

I read Pride and Prejudice for the first time about a decade ago, and I just finished re-reading it.  My first thought after finishing it for the second time was, “Gosh, I love that book!”  Followed by a jumble of thoughts that included something like “Jane Austen is a genius,” “Mr. Darcy is so hot,” and “Does it mean I’m crazy if I have such a huge crush on a character in a book?”  (We won’t even discuss my love for Captain Wentworth.)  Now I know why over the weekend I was inspired to arrange all of Jane Austen’s novels, minor works, and letters in a decorative tin on my bureau.  When I don’t know what to read before going to bed, I can reach for Austen, which is comfort reading for me.  And no matter how much I enjoy all the sequels and re-tellings, there’s nothing better than reading the originals.

I’m sure you all know the plot by now, but since I’m recording my thoughts for posterity, I hope you will humor me for a moment.  And if you’re someone who hasn’t yet read Pride and Prejudice, I want you to turn off the computer, get your hands on a copy, and lock yourself in a quiet room for a few hours.  Seriously, you just need to read it.  But I digress.

Pride and Prejudice is the story of Elizabeth Bennet, a young woman with four sisters and a mother obsessed with marrying her daughters off to avoid the indignity of being thrown out of Longbourn when their father dies.  Mr. Bingley rents Netherfield and becomes Hertfordshire’s most eligible bachelor, and Elizabeth’s older sister catches his eye at the Meryton Assembly.  However, Elizabeth doesn’t catch the fancy of Bingley’s haughty friend, Mr. Darcy, and when she overhears him say something not so nice about her, she’s already determined to dislike him.

When the militia comes to town and the handsome, charming George Wickham befriends Elizabeth, she believes the things he has to say about Darcy doing him wrong.  Meanwhile, there is the matter of her ridiculous cousin Mr. Collins coming for a visit with the intention of marrying one of the Bennet girls, Elizabeth’s best friend, Charlotte, willing to marry pretty much anyone just to get herself settled, and Elizabeth’s parents and siblings, except Jane, going all out to embarrass themselves in public every chance they get.  Then, Bingley and his entourage quit Netherfield with no intention of returning, but Elizabeth learns the reason for Jane’s heartache when she crosses paths with Darcy during a visit with Charlotte and her cousin.  Elizabeth thinks she has it all figured out, and she has no qualms about putting Darcy in his place.  But is she too quick to judge?  Is there more to Darcy than meets the eye?

Even though I knew everything that was going to happen, it felt like I was reading the book for the first time.  I found myself cringing when Mrs. Bennet and Elizabeth’s younger sister, Lydia, behave badly, I shuddered when Mr. Collins sets his sights on Elizabeth, and I wanted to cry out “No!” when Mr. Bennet decides it was okay for Lydia to travel with Colonel Forster’s wife and the militia to Brighton.  I wanted to slap my forehead when Darcy tells Elizabeth how he feels about her against his better judgment, and I felt embarrassed right along with Elizabeth when she encounters Darcy unexpectedly at Pemberley.

I could go on for hours about how much I love this book.  There’s humor, with Mrs. Bennet being the most outlandish of them all; social commentary, with plenty of instances of unhappy marriages and how Elizabeth is determined to marry for love; life lessons, when you learn to accept your failings and try to change; and a cast of captivating characters, with those who grow over the course of the book, those who you can’t help but fall in love with, and even a few you love to hate.  I hope I’ve given those of you who haven’t read Austen yet a reason to give her novels a try.

Unfortunately, I’ve decided that it’s time to retire my old copy of Pride and Prejudice.  The book means a lot to me, having acquired it through “borrowing” money from my late father’s change dish.  Well, the front and back covers are starting to detach, and I managed to rip one of the pages when I stuck my bookmark in it.  Although I love the old book smell when I flip through it, I’m going to have to get a new copy.

Check out my reviews of other Jane Austen works:

Persuasion
Northanger Abbey
Lady Susan
The Watsons
Sanditon
Love and Freindship

Disclosure: Pride and Prejudice is from my personal library.

© 2011 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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During Jane in June, the month-long Austen-filled event hosted by Book Rat, I read Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen for the read-along.  Once a week, I answered the discussion questions Misty posed on her blog.  For those of you who haven’t yet read Pride and Prejudice, I hope these posts persuade you to give it a try.  For those of you who have already read the book, I hope you’ll weigh in with your thoughts.  Check out the last round of questions and other readers’ thoughts here.

Round 5: Chapter 52-End

1. In the first round, we asked for your first impressions (which, if you didn’t know, was the original title of the book). Having completed it, what do you think now? Were your first impressions justified? Were you completely wrong on anything, or surprised by any outcomes?

I don’t think I was surprised by the outcome the first time I read it.  Yet at the same time, as I re-read it, I got caught up in all the characters, and it was almost like I didn’t know what would happen next.  It’s hard to explain, but I guess what I’m trying to say is it’s a predictable story but always a magical read.

2. Discuss Lizzy’s apprehensions regarding Darcy, and her realization that she has fallen in love with him. Consider Lydia’s slip that Darcy was at the wedding, along with Mrs. Gardiner’s revelations; Lizzy’s thoughts that his actions must reflect his continuing love, coupled with her fears that he would never marry her now that Wickham is part of her family, etc.

If Lydia hadn’t mentioned Darcy being at her wedding, and Mrs. Gardiner had kept all the details to herself, what would have happened?  I’m sure Lizzy and Darcy would have the same happy ending, but with how quiet Darcy was being, it would have taken much longer for them to talk about their feelings.  After finding out how Darcy arranged Lydia’s marriage (even dealing with a man he abhors), Lizzy had to have known Darcy did it for her.  What other explanation could there be?  Watching them being so quiet and careful around one another and just knowing that there’s all this love…Austen did a great job building that tension!

3. Discuss Lady Catherine’s visit to Longbourn, and Lizzy’s showdown with her. Also discuss Mr. Bennet’s reaction to the rumors of Darcy’s feelings for Lizzy, and then his reaction when they prove to be more than rumors.

This is the Lizzy I know and love.  And Lady Catherine leaves with her tail between her legs, but she’d never show it, of course, being a proud lady and all.

As for Mr. Bennet, I think I remember Lizzy thinking that it wasn’t the right subject for her dad to joke about, but what could she say?  It’s not like she could tell her family that she’d turned down a proposal from Mr. Darcy.  Can you imagine the uproar Mrs. Bennet would create?  I do love how Mr. Bennet wants to make sure that Lizzy has feelings for Darcy and wants to marry him, even though he’d already given Darcy his blessing.  Still, it shows that he truly cared for his daughter’s happiness.

4. Discuss the way Darcy and Lizzy relate to each other at the end of the book, and Darcy’s second (much superior) proposal. Also consider sharing your thoughts on what you expect for their future.

What I noticed this time around was that Lizzy was so chatty at the end of the book.  Austen went all out with the dialogue, which makes me feel a little cheated when it comes to Persuasion and the lack of dialogue between Anne and Wentworth at the end (though his letter more than makes up for it).

I love how they are able to discuss their feelings and resolve to put their past actions behind them.  I like to believe they lived happily ever after at Pemberley and had an exciting life together, with much traveling, intellectual conversation, and passionate arguments.  I like to picture Lizzy still teasing Darcy when they are old and gray and Darcy still thinking she’s the handsomest woman he knows.

5. Give us your thoughts of the book on the whole. If you have read it before and/or read variations and sequels, what keeps you coming back? If this is your first time reading it, do you think you will read it again/read more Jane/read any variations or sequels? If you disliked it, don’t be afraid to say so!

It’s hard to put in words just how much I love this book.  There’s drama and humor and social commentary and an assortment of loveable characters (and even a few we love to hate).  I think I love the sequels and variations so much because I just don’t want to let go of this world.

6. Freeform!

Since it’s been a decade since I first read the book, I’d completely forgotten that the last chapter delves into the Darcys married life a bit and even shows what happened to the other characters after the wedding.  Austen really does provide a lot of stuff for the sequel/variation authors to work with!

What say you? Talk about P&P in the comments!

Thanks to Misty for hosting the read-along!

Check out my Round 1 responses here, my Round 2 responses here, my Round 3 responses here, and my Round 4 responses here.

© 2011 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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During Jane in June, the month-long Austen-filled event hosted by Book Rat, I will be reading Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen for the read-along.  Once a week, I’ll be answering the discussion questions Misty has posed on her blog.  For those of you who haven’t yet read Pride and Prejudice, I hope these posts persuade you to give it a try.  For those of you who have already read the book, I hope you’ll weigh in with your thoughts.  Check out the Round 4 questions and other readers’ thoughts here.

Round 4:  Chapters 43-51

1. Discuss Lizzy & the Gardiners’ visit to Pemberley.  Consider touching on the following: Lizzy’s first meeting with Darcy since the proposal; Darcy’s behavior, and his apparent willingness to continue their acquaintance through things like proposing she meet his sister; Lizzy’s renewed acquaintance with the Bingleys and their reactions; Lizzy’s reception from Georgiana; the Gardiner’s reactions to the whole thing.

I loved this section of the book.  Darcy obviously took Elizabeth’s criticisms to heart, and it’s so sweet how he treats her aunt and uncle so kindly and says he wants her to meet his sister.  Elizabeth is dumb if she doesn’t get it by now because what guy would want you to meet his sister if he was still smarting from your rejection?  I love how the Gardiners are curious about their reception by the master of Pemberley.  They know right away that Darcy is in love with Elizabeth, but of course, she’s the last to get it.  Miss Bingley is up to her same tricks, but I love how Darcy shoots her down by saying Elizabeth has long been the handsomest woman he knows.

2. Discuss Jane’s letter to Lizzy and the news of Wickham and Lydia, as well as the interaction between Lizzy and Darcy upon receipt of the letter.

I think it says something how Lizzy right away confides in Darcy when one would assume he’d be the last person she’d tell.  Of course, Darcy leaves abruptly and doesn’t tell Elizabeth what he’s thinking.  I just love how Jane can be so optimistic about the whole situation.  I’m torn between wanting to shake her and tell her to wake up and see Wickham for the slimeball he is and wanting to be just like her, sweet and amiable no matter what.

3. Discuss the marriage of the Wickhams, and how it all came about.  Consider Lydia’s slip that Darcy was there, the money involved, the Bennet parents’ reactions, etc.

No matter how amusing I find Mr. Bennet, his actions, or lack thereof, when it comes to Lydia always gets my dander up.  He goes home when Mr. Gardiner tells him to, and he’s glad that the whole affair was settled without him really having to do anything.  He even manages to tease Kitty about him laying down the law in response to Lydia’s antics.

It’s hard for me to say whether I would suspect Darcy’s involvement when learning about the money involved, since I’ve already read the book and know what happens.  I guess it could go either way — believing Darcy rushed out to take care of the Lydia/Wickham debacle or to simply get away from people who are beneath him.  However, seeing his character evolution, one could assume he isn’t looking down his nose at Elizabeth and her family.

Mrs. Bennet is the absolute worst, though.  She thinks Lydia’s marriage is something to brag about and immediately feels better upon hearing the good news, wanting to visit her neighbors and plan Lydia’s wedding clothes.  And she just doesn’t understand why Mr. Bennet doesn’t want to give Lydia any money for the new clothes.  She thinks the marriage erases all the mistakes that got them to this point.  What a delusional woman!

4. Discuss your thoughts on the whole of this section and where you think the book is going, or what you hope to see, if you haven’t read it.  If you have, think back to the first time you read it and answer accordingly, and contrast that to how you feel about it now.

Since Elizabeth just heard from Lydia that Mr. Darcy was at the wedding, one would assume that she’s going to find out why.  And the whole Jane/Bingley thing hasn’t been resolved.  I can’t wait for Elizabeth and Darcy to be in the same room together feeling the same way about each other.

5. Freeform.  Discuss whatever you feel about this section or the book so far.

I just love how it feels like the first time I’m reading this book.  I’m thinking to myself: Is the Bennet family ruined?  Will Wickham marry Lydia?  Will Bingley come back?  I sure hope Elizabeth gets a chance to tell Darcy she’s had a change of heart.  Even though I already know what’s going to happen.

I also found myself feeling really bad for Lydia this time around.  Of course, running away with Wickham was totally thoughtless and wrong, but she’s 16.  I bet we all can remember making really bad decisions at that age.  But unfortunately for Lydia, if she ever grows up (and I’m being optimistic Jane here when I say I like to think she will someday), she’s stuck with the consequences of an impetuous thing she did as a teenager.  We all know that being married to Wickham is not going to be a picnic.  So while part of me thinks she’ll get what she deserves, the other part of me thinks that it’s such a sad, sad situation.

What say you? Talk about P&P in the comments!

Stay tuned for the Round 5 discussion on Chapters 52-the end next week!
Check out my Round 1 responses here, my Round 2 responses here, and my Round 3 responses here.

© 2011 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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During Jane in June, the month-long Austen-filled event hosted by Book Rat, I will be reading Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen for the read-along.  Once a week, I’ll be answering the discussion questions Misty has posed on her blog.  For those of you who haven’t yet read Pride and Prejudice, I hope these posts persuade you to give it a try.  For those of you who have already read the book, I hope you’ll weigh in with your thoughts.  Check out the Round 3 questions and other readers’ thoughts here.

Round 3:  Chapters 30-42

1. Discuss the whole of Lizzy’s stay at Hunsford.  There are many great, famous moments in this stay, as well as memorable characters.  Discuss your highlights and low points (if any), your thoughts on characters like Lady Catherine and Col. Fitzwilliam, etc., as well as the new facets we see of the familiar characters.

The scene where Elizabeth is playing the pianoforte for Col. Fitzwilliam is among my favorites because she seems to like Fitzwilliam and Darcy moves closer to get a better view of her.  Hmm, jealous perhaps?

I found Lady Catherine so amusing this time around.  She seemed less horrid to me and more like an annoying grandmother than anything else.  Maybe it’s because I know her bark will be worse than her bite.

This line stood out to me: “Mr. Darcy looked a little ashamed of his aunt’s ill breeding, and made no answer.”  Interesting how he takes such a stance against Elizabeth’s mother and younger sisters when his own aunt behaves just as badly.

2. Discuss Darcy’s proposal.  Prompts: What are your feelings on this scene; what do you think of the behavior of both Darcy and Lizzy?  Contrast this to Lizzy’s first proposal from Collins.  Is Lizzy’s complete surprise believable, especially in light of Charlotte’s prolonged insistence that Darcy feels something for Lizzy, and the slight hints Darcy drops prior to the proposal?

It says something about Darcy’s station in life that he just assumed that Lizzy would say yes.  I didn’t expect Lizzy’s behavior to be much better than it was, given that she’d just learned of Darcy’s role in separating Bingley and Jane.  When you really think about it, there are many similarities between Darcy’s and Collins’ proposals.  Both beat around the bush, both expect Elizabeth to say yes, both are surprised when she turns them down, and both manage to insult her in some way.

If I was Elizabeth, I would have been surprised, too.  I’m not sure she interpreted Darcy’s attention like he’d meant for her, too, and she is too wrapped up in her anger about Bingley/Jane and Wickham to think Darcy might like her in a romantic way.  Also, Charlotte could have been wrong, and it’s not like you’d want to trust her when it comes to matters of the heart.  She married Collins for crying out loud!

3.  Lizzy has to this point turned down two proposals.  Share your thoughts on this from the prospective of the modern woman (presumably) you are, and from the prospective of a Regency gentlewoman.  Consider the reactions of the people in her life, especially Mrs. Bennet, if they were to find out.  Also, consider her rejections from the males’ perspectives.  Is Darcy (or even Collins) justified in being shocked to be rejected?

Well, given the concerns Lizzy should have about her future in the event of her father’s death, a Regency gentlewoman might have given more thought to each proposal before rejecting them.  Both men could have provided for her well, if you look at it from Charlotte’s standpoint of practicality over romance.  And it’s not like she could run out and get a job to support herself.  But from the standpoint of a modern woman, I have to respect Elizabeth for refusing to marry a man she does not love.  Today, we women have the power to accept or deny any proposal without thinking about our futures because we can choose from jobs in a variety of fields to support ourselves and can wait for true love.  We don’t have to think about our fortunes or the fortunes of the men proposing before making a decision.  Mrs. Bennet, of course, would not agree.

Darcy and Collins are men who believe they have a lot to offer Elizabeth, so of course, they are surprised when she turns them down.  However, Darcy loves Elizabeth, while she was Collins’ second choice, so I think Darcy should be more surprised and even hurt by the rejection.

4. Discuss Darcy’s infamous letter.  Does/did it change your opinion of Darcy?  Lizzy feels she has acted “despicably” and regrets much of what she said.  Do you have reservations about any parts of it, things you still think Elizabeth should hold against him?  If you could question him or react to him, what would you say?  Consider writing your own response letter.

Like Elizabeth, the letter changed my opinion of Darcy, but mostly with regard to Bingley and Jane because I had a feeling Wickham wasn’t all sweetness and charm.  I would still be a bit miffed that he separated Bingley and Jane, but he was looking out for his friend.  I’d actually be more angry at Bingley for just going along with Darcy’s advice to quit Netherfield.  If Elizabeth felt she was wrong, she should have found a way to tell Darcy, but of course, it’s hard to admit when you’re wrong.  It just goes to show how important open communication is in a relationship!

5. In the first response post, we asked ourselves about our opinions of Darcy and Wickham.  Give your opinion of the two now.  Also, reevaluate your opinions of Collins and Bingley, our other 2 “eligible” men.

Of course, I think Wickham is the good for nothing scoundrel he really is…and I know that he’s only going to get worse.  Darcy still seems a bit arrogant, but he also has shown himself to have feelings and a desire to protect those he loves.  Collins is still ridiculous, but he seems to get on quite well with Charlotte.  Bingley…oh, Bingley, why oh why did you listen to Darcy and leave Jane behind?  Man up and follow your heart.

6. Chapter 42 ends Volume 2 of the book.  As we did in the first round of discussions, take us through your thoughts of this volume.  If you had to read these as originally published, what would your reaction have been to stop here and wait for Volume 3?  What are the highlights so far, and what are you expecting to get from the final volume?  (If you’ve read the book, think back to your first time reading it.)

Volume 2 allows readers to get to know more about Darcy and uncover the reasons for Jane’s unhappiness.  It’s also the start of Elizabeth’s transformation, when she realizes she may not be as good as she thought at discerning other people’s characters.  If I didn’t already know what happens, I’d be eagerly awaiting Elizabeth and Darcy’s reunion in light of Elizabeth’s change of heart.  It ends with her and the Gardiners preparing to visit Pemberley, and even though Darcy isn’t supposed to be there, you know this is Austen’s way of bringing the two back together again because they don’t frequent the same social circles.  And you know Mr. Bennet allowing the foolish Lydia to go off to Brighton isn’t going to end well.  Elizabeth’s urging him not to let her go is a foreshadowing.

7. Freeform:  What else would you like to point out about this section?  What are your thoughts on the book so far?  Does it remind you of anything else, do you have weird things you associate with it, etc?

The first thing that comes to mind is Darcy’s letter.  It’s a really long letter that must have taken him hours to get just right.  I just find it interesting that he details everything in that letter.  Ah, those were the days!  I can barely get my husband to say two words about his day or do little more than sign his name on a greeting card.

What say you? Talk about P&P in the comments!

Stay tuned for the Round 4 discussion on Chapters 43-51 next week!
Check out my Round 1 responses here and my Round 2 responses here.

© 2011 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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During Jane in June, the month-long Austen-filled event hosted by Book Rat, I will be reading Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen for the read-along.  Once a week, I’ll be answering the discussion questions Misty has posed on her blog.  For those of you who haven’t yet read Pride and Prejudice, I hope these posts persuade you to give it a try.  For those of you who have already read the book, I hope you’ll weigh in with your thoughts.  Check out the Round 2 questions and other readers’ thoughts here.

Round 2: Chapters 18-29

1.  This section includes one of the most famous scenes of the book: Lizzy’s unexpected dance with Darcy at the Netherfield ball.  Consider their awkward conversation during the dance, combined with the feelings and understandings of each (especially for Lizzy, who recalls Darcy did not want to dance with her and found her only tolerable the first tme around, and who she thinks is responsible for the non-appearance of one Mr. Wickham…).  Discuss.

With Darcy, his desire to dance with Elizabeth shows that people can change their opinions after getting to know someone.  He thought she was only tolerable, but now he is drawn to her.  At this point, Elizabeth is so taken in by Wickham that she’s determined to dislike Darcy.  And of course, Darcy says just enough to get himself through the conversation, and his reserve doesn’t help his cause.

2.  And while you’re at it, describe the Netherfield ball in general.  Lizzy’s family seems out to make spectacles of themselves that night.  Give us your own play by play, relate to the experience, mock, etc.

I think this whole scene is brilliant because it shows the true colors of the Bennets all at once.  Mrs. Bennet is obnoxious, rude, and delusional; Mary is so out-of-touch with the reality of her lack of talent; Lydia and Kitty are ridiculous flirts; Jane is absorbed with Mr. Bingley; Mr. Bennet is amused with his family’s antics when he should try to rein them in; and Elizabeth is observant and embarrassed.  She does her fair share of gossiping and talking ill of people, but she seems to be more conscious of her surroundings and doesn’t broadcast her thoughts to the entire ballroom.  And Mr. Collins making his introduction to Mr. Darcy was both hilarious and embarrassing.

It seems Austen could be using this scene to show the spectacle that is the Bennet family and to show how much more refined Elizabeth and Jane are compared to the rest of the family.  It also highlights how Elizabeth and Darcy are from two different worlds, however much Elizabeth wants to distance herself from the foolishness of her mother and younger sisters.

3.  Nowadays, P&P is just 1 book.  But once upon a time it was comprised of 3 volumes.  Volume 1 ends with Collins engaged to Charlotte Lucas and the Netherfield party gone from Netherfield.  It’s almost like the perfect act-break, with everything in shambles.  Discuss your thoughts on the book to this point, and where you think it’s going (if this is a reread for you, think back to how you felt the first time around, and compare it to how you feel now).

Actually, my version of P&P is still in 3 volumes.  🙂

I don’t remember my thoughts on the book at this point from when I read it about 11 years ago.  But I do like re-reading it and knowing exactly where it’s going.  I’m anticipating all the fun scenes to come.

4.  The end of this section finds Lizzy and Jane split up, Jane to London to either reconnect or forget Bingley, and Lizzy to Hunsford to stay with Charlotte (Lucas) Collins.  What are your thoughts on this section?  On Jane’s reaction to London and her treatment by the Bingleys?  Of Hunsford and Rosings, and the much talked of Lady Catherine?

I feel so bad for Jane.  She is so good and tries to see the good in everyone, even when Miss Bingley sends her the letter saying they are leaving Netherfield with no plans to return.  She really thinks Miss Bingley values their friendship.  And then when she goes to London, she realizes she was wrong.  She doesn’t know what happened and she’s hurt, yet she still can’t bring herself to say anything bad about Mr. Bingley.

I love the scene when Elizabeth is visiting Rosings, and she just tells it like it is.  While Maria Lucas (Charlotte’s sister) is afraid of Lady Catherine, Elizabeth is the exact opposite.

5.  Discuss your thoughts on Wickham at the end of this section (when he is now rumored to be engaged to Miss King).  Think about Lizzy’s conversation with her aunt Gardiner, and Mrs. Gardiner’s cautions to Lizzy about falling in love.  Consider also, Lizzy’s reactions to Wickham’s pursual of Miss King and the light this puts on her feelings for Wickham.

Lizzy’s feelings for Wickham before she learns what he’s really all about are so interesting.  I get so caught up in the Darcy/Elizabeth romance that I forget all about how she initially felt about him.  I remembered they were friendly, but I’d forgotten how attracted to him she was.  Maybe because in my memories, Wickham’s nothing more than a scumbag.

I think it’s amusing that, at this point, she can’t fault him for going after a fortune because he doesn’t have one and she’s comforted by the fact that she’d be his first choice if money wasn’t an object.  Well, I guess that proves she was right when she told her aunt she wasn’t in love with him because if I was in love with someone who left me in the dust to run after a girl with money, I’d be pretty ticked off.  Either it’s because she doesn’t love him or she truly has a high opinion of herself, or a little bit of both.

6.  The rest of this section (through Chapter 29) is spent out of the company of the beaux for the Bennet girls:  Collins is engaged (and then married), Wickham has deserted Lizzy for an heiress, and Bingley and Darcy are out of the picture.  During this time, you get to know Elizabeth and Jane better, and understand their day to day life.  Discuss your impressions of the book during this time, when it is sans swoon-worthy men.

I really enjoyed this section of the book, especially the second time around.  You really get to see the difference between Elizabeth and Jane and how these differences help cement their relationship.  In Austen’s world, the women shine in the spotlight, and the men are in the background.  They might think they run the show, but it’s obvious who’s in charge. 😉

Also, it really emphasizes that women don’t need men to be happy.  Jane is happy and healthy despite being spurned by the Bingleys, and Elizabeth heads off to see Charlotte without dwelling on Wickham’s new attraction.

7.  Discuss the views of marriage in the book so far:  Jane Austen is often written off as someone who writes fluffy marriage books (jokingly by those who’ve read her, seriously by those who haven’t), but so far in the book, have there been instances of happy marriages?  Think about the Bennet’s marriage, Charlotte Lucas’ views on marriage, Lizzy’s reaction to Wickham & Miss King, Mr. Collins’ proposal, etc.

Great question!  Austen shows many different aspects of marriage in her novels, and they often are serious.  While Lizzy and Jane wish to make love matches, Charlotte is content to marry the buffoon Mr. Collins because she wants to be married and believes she’ll be as happy with him as she could be with anyone.  He’ll be a good provider, and she’ll have a good home, and that’s all that matters.  She was all about practicality over love.

Mr. Collins was encouraged by Lady Catherine to find a wife, and since he is to inherit Longbourn, why not just marry one of the Bennet daughters?  It might make the transition after their father’s death easier.  So sad that he waltzes in, settles on Jane, learns she is soon to be engaged, and just up and decides Lizzy would make a good wife.  Another instance in which love has no place in the marriage.

Wickham…well, he’s a whole different story.  From what we know about him right now, he might just be seeking a fortune.  Later on, you learn that he is after fortune, and marriage really isn’t part of the plan.

The Bennets seem to have spent 20 years tolerating one another.  Mr. Bennet seems annoyed with his wife most times, amused with her at other times.  I would have wrung her neck on the wedding night had I not killed myself during the courtship.  Is it a sign of a happy marriage when a husband hides in the library to get away from his family?

Mrs. Bennet seems like she’s all about marrying off her daughters and being the talk of the neighborhood with a wealthy son-in-law, but her focus on marriage is a serious one.  She knows that when her husband dies, she and her daughters will have nothing.  So by wanting to marry them off, she is thinking about what’s best for them.  However, she goes about it the wrong way, and I’m sure most people pity the unfortunate men to marry into the Bennet family.

What say you?  Talk about P&P in the comments!

Stay tuned for the Round 3 discussion on Chapters 30-42 next week!
Check out my Round 1 responses here.

© 2011 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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What would you say if you had a chance to write a letter to your favorite author?  Well, I had a lot to say to Jane Austen, specifically about using her novels as parenting tools.  If you’d like to read my Dear Jane letter, head over to Book Rat, who is hosting Jane in June, a month-long event celebrating all things Austen.

Also, in case you missed it, you can check out my guest post about all those Austen-related novels I have so much fun reading.

Thanks, Misty, for allowing me to take part in Jane in June!

© 2011 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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During Jane in June, the month-long Austen-filled event hosted by Book Rat, I will be reading Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen for the read-along.  Once a week, I’ll be answering the discussion questions Misty has posed on her blog.  For those of you who haven’t yet read Pride and Prejudice, I hope these posts persuade you to give it a try.  For those of you who have already read the book, I hope you’ll weigh in with your thoughts.  Check out the Round One questions and other readers’ thoughts here.

Round 1: First Impressions  + Chapters 1-17

1. Tell us a little about your experience with Jane: is this your first time reading Pride and Prejudice/Austen?  If so, what were you expecting going in?  If this is not your first Jane, what makes you want to read this again?

I read Pride and Prejudice for the first time in 2000 when I was pregnant with my daughter.  I had the house to myself all day and was kind of lonely, so I read it aloud for the noise and because it’s never too early for your kids to start reading Austen.  It was my second Jane Austen book, having read Sense and Sensibility was I was a senior in high school in 1995 (but I read it on my own, not in class).  Since then, I’ve read all of Austen’s novels, except Emma (which I’m slowly savoring), and I’m working my way through her minor works and letters.

I’ve been looking forward to re-reading Pride and Prejudice, mainly because I absolutely loved it the first time I read it and because I read so many variations of the novel that it’s nice to revisit the real story.

2.  Share your first impressions of the book so far.  What have the highlights been for you?  Any favorite parts so far?  Least favorite parts?  Things you found confusing?

Pride and Prejudice is one of my all-time favorite books.  Actually, it was my favorite until I read Austen’s Persuasion last year, and I’m sure as time goes on and I reread them over and over, these two books will continue to compete for the top spot.    Right now, I’m just enjoying falling in love with these characters again and remembering why I started reading Austen fan fiction.  I love the scenes at Netherfield where Elizabeth teases Darcy and all the while doesn’t realize Darcy actually is admiring her.

3.  Jane Austen is known for her memorable characters.  What do you think so far of the characterization?  Do any stand out to you?  If this is a reread for you, do you notice new things in the characters with each reread?  Do your favorite characters change with each reread?

In all of the Austen novels I’ve read, I love the exaggerated characters, the ones who provide comic relief.  Even though Mrs. Bennet has a right to be worried about her daughters’ marriage prospects, she’s so over-the-top that I can’t help but chuckle reading nearly every scene in which she appears.  Mr. Collins and Mary Bennet both crack me up, too, with their ridiculousness.  Of course, I love Elizabeth and her impertinence and Darcy and his secret admiration for Elizabeth and her eyes.  This time around, I’m noticing Jane Bennet more.  I’m more like Elizabeth, but I’d like to be more like Jane, seeing the good in everyone and not making assumptions.

4.  What do you make of the principal characters so far?  Do you relate to any particular one?

So far, I relate with Elizabeth the  most.  She sees right through Miss Bingley’s and Mrs. Hurst’s polite exteriors and knows they are merely tolerating the Bennets.  She’s not a goody-two-shoes, but she’s not an awful person either.  I love how she’s not intimidated by the Netherfield party’s social status and says what she thinks.  I especially love how she cares more about her sister’s health than her appearance and shows up at Netherfield all muddy and flustered.

5.  Discuss the eligible men of P&P: Impressions of Mr. Bingley, Mr. Darcy, Mr. Wickham, and Mr. Collins.

I have a soft spot for Mr. Bingley.  He seems a bit flighty, but he’s such a nice guy.  Mr. Darcy does seem a little stiff, but he seems more quiet and reserved to me than arrogant.  But after his comment about Elizabeth at the assembly and how she’s merely tolerable, I can’t blame her for not liking him.  Mr. Wickham seems charming on the one hand, but all woe-is-me on the other.  He doesn’t really want to talk ill of the Darcys, but of course, that’s exactly what he’s done.  And there’s always two sides to every story.  Mr. Collins is just ridiculous, and I couldn’t stand his prattling for a minute, never mind having to put up with him in my home for a long stay.  If he had as much money as Mr. Darcy, I’d still run for the hills if he wanted to marry me.

6.  Discuss the Bennet girls’ stay at Netherfield: What do you make of Mrs. Bennet sending Jane to Netherfield in bad weather?  Or Lizzy’s visit to her sick sister, and the interactions with the members of the Netherfield household, as well as their reactions to her?  Of the visit as a whole?

Mrs. Bennet is one crafty mama!  When she sets her sights on something, nobody better stand in her way.  She’s really serious about marrying off her dear beautiful Jane to Mr. Bingley.  Not sure how well Jane getting sick helped matters, given that it’s not said whether Mr. Bingley actually sees her while she’s in her sick bed (unless I missed it).  The whole visit seemed to merely provide an opportunity for Mr. Darcy to admire Elizabeth and Miss Bingley to become jealous whenever Darcy ignores her and looks Lizzy’s way.  I especially loved the scenes where Miss Bingley disturbs Mr. Darcy while he’s writing a letter and reading a book; she really doesn’t get that he’s not interested, or maybe she does (because she notices his interest in Elizabeth) but isn’t one to take a hint.

7.  Discuss Wickham’s revelation of Darcy’s character:  Judging solely on the text so far (not what you know of the story) do you believe the things Wickham tells Lizzy?  What impressions do you have of Wickham, Lizzy, and Darcy after this?

I’m not surprised that Lizzy believes Wickham, given that she’s only seen Darcy’s haughtiness and Wickham has been nothing but charming.  If I was in her shoes, I’d probably believe him, too.  However, I’m actually with Jane on this one…there’s two sides to every story.  I’d really be curious about what Darcy has to say, and I’d be thinking of ways to get the scoop from him.  At this point in the book, acting as if I haven’t read it before, I’d say Wickham seems at least partly charming, Lizzy seems to have a crush on Wickham and a lot of anger against Darcy, and Darcy seems like he has a stick up his butt and needs to learn how to have some fun.

8.  Discuss the humor in the book so far: there are a lot of different types of humor on display throughout the book, from Mr. Bennet’s dry indifference, Lizzy’s witty banter, Mr. Collins’ ridiculousness, etc.  Discuss, discuss!

I love Mr. Bennet, even though he spends a lot of time avoiding things and thinks everything is amusing.  It’s almost like he’s given up thinking his wife and younger daughters could be anything but silly, so why not make the most of it?  Lizzy’s witty banter is the best part of the book!  And the ridiculous characters — i.e. Mr. Collins and Mrs. Bennet — offer much comic relief.  At least Austen gives us only small doses of them because they border on annoying, but they’re supposed to be annoying so it works.

I always say if someone finds Austen boring or thinks her characters are obnoxious and annoying, they’re missing the humor!

9.  Freeform: Discuss whatever the hell you want!  Ask questions, give your opinions, engage your readers – go crazy. 🙂

There are very few books I would consider rereading, mainly because there are so many books that I want to read but haven’t yet, but Austen’s novels are ones that I could read over and over again.  In fact, when I’m bored, I sometimes pick up one of her books and just read random passages.  There’s just something about Austen — her humor, how the romance isn’t the meat of the story — that I just love.

What I want to know is if you haven’t yet read Pride and Prejudice, why?

Stay tuned for the Round 2 discussion on Chapter 18-29 next week!

© 2011 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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Yesterday kicked off Jane in June, the month-long celebration of all-things-Jane-Austen hosted by Book Rat.  There are reviews, giveaways, a Pride and Prejudice read-along, and guest posts.

Today’s guest post is by moi, and I would love for you to check it out.  Read my personal guide to Austen variations here.  Thanks to Misty for hosting such a fun event!

© 2011 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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Book Rat is hosting Jane in June, a month-long event devoted to Jane Austen, with everything from reviews to guest posts.  As part of the event, there will be a Pride and Prejudice read-a-long, and I am very excited to participate.

My copy of Pride and Prejudice is so old, I couldn’t find an image online.  (I found some pretty cool covers, though, and used those instead.)  I used to sneak money out of my father’s coin dish (he knew I was doing it, but I didn’t know that until much later) to buy books from those book club order forms they hand out in school.  Back then, you could still pay in cash, and books could be had for less than $1 (mostly classics, and these are still on my shelf today).  I think I was in 7th grade when I bought Pride and Prejudice, and I sent my younger sister to school weighed down with all the change because she was still receiving those book forms…and if she wasn’t going to take advantage of them, I was!

I was still too young to fully appreciate Austen, though, and my copy went unread until 2000, when I was pregnant and sitting home bored.  So I picked up Pride and Prejudice on a whim and read it aloud to The Girl (who was probably plugging her ears in utero and praying I would shut up already).  Since then, I’ve read a lot of Pride and Prejudice sequels, re-tellings, and modern day re-imaginings, and I think it’s about time that I revisit the real Elizabeth and Darcy.

Visit Book Rat for all the details on the read-a-long and Jane in June.  I hope you’ll join in the fun!

© 2011 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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