Thursday, May 2, 2013

Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice

Jane Austen's novels continue to be a favorite with many people. Pride and Prejudice is probably the most popular and everyone's favorite. I think it is even a favorite book of J. K. Rowling, author of Harry Potter. In a recent book group discussion one of the participants asked why Jane Austen is so popular. One of the participants says because of the romance. Other responses were the quality of the dialogues, the accurate depiction of the time, the craftmanship of the work. I could give other reasons too. One could even say there is a moral perspective and it stands in the Judeo-Christian worldview.

Another point that came out of our discussion of Pride and Prejudice. One participant mentioned that when she read Austen when she was younger she didn't realize it was supposed to be funny. Austen critiques her time through irony and satire. For example, it was the business of a woman to get married. This is clearly displayed in Pride and Prejudice. Mrs. Bennet's life is devoted to getting her daughters married. Marriage seems to be the theme of this great novel.

Austen describes growth of character in this novel. One can see this in Elizabeth and Darcy's wrong first impressions and how they later changed their mind. One sees that they also humble themselves and repent of overweening pride. I enjoyed the humor of characters like Mrs. Bennet, Mr. Collins, and Lady De Bourg.

Reading Pride and Prejudice was a wonderful reading experience. I can see why it has been popular with so many readers since it was first published. It displays the art of conversation and intelligence. It shows that distant times has something to say to our own time. I hope to read other works by Austen in the near future.

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