Why I Chose this Book
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is a classic. This isn’t my opinion, but this is what I learned in high school. I was never in one of the teacher’s classes who assigned Pride and Prejudice as one of the required readings, but I was still aware that some of my peers had to read it. Usually, required readings in high school are deemed significant for reasons such as they have greatly influenced modern culture, contained unique ideas, recorded history, or are simply good examples of well-written literature. So even though my high school days have passed, I’m still willing to give those old assignments a read.
Pride and Prejudice
This story is set in a time and place in which women are “handsome” and unmarried ones are “practically old maids” at the alarming age of 23, the early 1800s England. In the beginning, we learn that a man of substance named Charles Bingley is coming to town. Mrs. Bennet, the mother of five daughters, sees this as an opportunity to marry one of them off. Via the view of the second eldest Bennet daughter, Elizabeth Bennet, the story then explores the nature of people, their faults, their strengths, their interactions with one another, and the social norms of the society in which they. Much of what drive’s the story though, is romantic relationships.
I found it interesting to reflect on ideas of modern “courtship” and compare them to those of a different time and place. I’ve witnessed and participated in conversations before about dating practices and “how things used to be.” Some of these same comments resurfaced during this reading. “Could I have dated in the same way?” “People in that time moved too fast!” “Maybe that way isn’t so bad after all.”
In addition to reflections, other thoughts came to mind as well. I’ve known a friend just like that! I’ve been in a similar situation before. I can see that happening. Why would she do that? Really? Could I forgive someone for doing the same? That was nice. Maybe he isn’t so bad after all. How will they deal with the family?
I have to confess, though. I made it through about half of the book, when I asked this question, “What all just happened?” Maybe it was because I was listening to early 19th century English or who knows what else, but it took me awhile to focus on what was going on. When I awoke from my stupor though, I definitely felt that the story was engaging and an interesting medium to reflect on psychology and why we make the decisions that we make.
I listened to an audio version of this book, which I downloaded from Librivox.org. Librivox is a website that provides free audiobooks that are in the public domain and read by volunteers. This book was read by Elizabeth Klett, who did an excellent job. It was easy to follow along with her and her narration reflected the style of the time and place of the story. Also, I felt that she appropriately changed her reading voice to distinguish between character voices and third person narration.