Before I get into my final say on Pride and Prejudice, I just want to thank everyone who participated. I love to see people getting enthusiastic together over a book, and it was especially nice to have a mix of people who have read it more times than they should probably admit to, and people who were reading it for the first time.
You guys rock.
And now, on to the fangirling.
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? Where you completely wrong on anything, or surprised by any outcomes?
It's difficult for me to think back to when I first read this. I was 17 and had read Emma (which I liked a good deal but didn't think I would necessarily read again); I wasn't prepared for the level of awesome I would get with this book, or the way it would become ingrained in my life. I was expecting cute and fun and slightly snarky, and I got bubbly and hilarious and so, so witty (and romantic and fluttery and perfectperfectperfect). So I think my first impressions were left in the dust.
2. Discuss Lizzie'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; Lizzie'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.
One of my favorite things about the end of the book, from the Hunsford visit on, is that everyone else seems to see that Darcy is besotted. Whether Lizzie really sees it or is completely blind is up for debate, but I love the dramatic irony of everyone, audience included, knowing. I also love the slight agony Lizzie has to endure, which gives her a taste of what Darcy has experienced. Lydia's slip-up is just perfect in that it comes at a time when Lizzie is trying to reconcile the idea that Darcy loves her and she is in a fair way to loving him, but that there probably isn't any hope. She's strong, and she intends to continue to be strong - this will not break her - and she's pretty much talked herself out of hope and them bam! Love that.
3. Discuss Lady Catherine's visit to Longbourn, and Lizzie's showdown with her. Also discuss Mr Bennet's reaction to the rumors of Darcy's feelings for Lizzie, and then his reaction when they prove to be more than rumors.
Genius. Genius! It's the confrontation everyone's been waiting for where Darcy's family is concerned, and it gives Lizzie a chance to stand up for herself, admit her feelings to herself if not to Lady Catherine, and really shine.
Mr Bennet's reaction...that's perfect on a different level. It's uncomfortable in the best way, and you feel sorry for Lizzie but also know that it's not something that she shouldn't have seen coming. And it shows that Mr Bennet actually does pay attention and care.
4. Discuss the way Darcy and Lizzie relate to each other at the end of the book, and Darcy's second (much superior) propsoal. Also consider sharing your thoughts on what you expect for their future.
I feel for Darcy at the end of the book. On the one hand, he's pretty sure things have changed and he's on better footing with Elizabeth. But on the other hand, he wildly misjudged her before, and he may well be misjudging her again. But that he's willing to put himself out there again and risk being refused and humiliated again cements him as MR DARCY, the man that launched a thousand swoons.
As for their future, I do anticipate some struggles and occasional doubt, but I think they are both mature and intelligent enough, and have become self-aware enough to have a really good chance at actually getting what they think they're getting. I expect them to challenge each other and grow together, and be just as funny and charming together as they have been - intentionally and otherwise.
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!
Do I really need to answer this?
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