Monday, July 9, 2012

Pride and Prejudice Read Along: Week One

For book club this month we are having a sort of Jane Austen month. Those who haven't read anything by her are reading something, and those that have perhaps one or two books that they haven't read, are reading those. Jenni Elyse, who comes to book club, has been on a quest for quite some time to simply read Pride and Prejudice, a quest which in fact sparked this book club endeavor. As part of her mission to read this book, she's created a read along. How could I not join in and read again for the fourth(?) time this wonderful book? It's probably been three or four years since my last re-reading, so I figured what better time to read it again and join in on the discussion over at Jenni's blog and also participate in our book clubs Jane Austen focus.

Beside, now that I can read it on my Kindle, I'm having a blast with the highlighting feature and have things to share! Mostly it's stuff that just makes me smile, stuff that gets stuck in my head and stuff from my favorite scenes of the movie... stuff like this:

  • "The astonishment of the ladies was just what he wished..." Ah Mr. Bennet... you are SUCH a tease!
  • "He was the proudest, most disagreeable man in the world and everyone hoped that he would never come there again." Seriously? Are you SURE about that?
  • "She is tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt ME!" Poor Darcy...will he ever live these words down.
  • And this quite long declination of the difference between vanity and pride which I will only quote a part: "A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us." What think you to that? I like it.
  • "But no sooner had he made it clear to himself and his friends that she hardly had a good feature in her face, than he began to find it was rendered uncommonly intelligent by the beautiful expression of her dark eyes." Wait, what? Already he changes his mind? Darcy, Darcy, that didn't take long dude!!
  • "Mr. Darcy is all politeness." Did you catch the sarcasm here?
  • "I am all astonishment." Now THIS phrase is one of my favorites and one I would like to incorporate into my every day speech. Are you with me?
  • "I am no longer surprised at your knowing only six accomplished women. I rather wonder now at your knowing ANY." One of my favorite scenes... let the banter begin!
  • "This is too much to remember at night all the foolish things that were said in the morning." Love this observation from Bingley. He's spot on don't you think?
  • Another favorite scene is when Darcy explains why he shouldn't join the ladies in a "turn about the room." Makes me grin every time.

Here are the discussion questions that Jenni Elyse posted which she found here. These are for our assigned reading... Chapters 1 through 12.

In Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen presents an interesting view of 19th century life in England. A key part of her presentation involves humor. Describe the presence of humor in the beginning of the novel. What examples of humor do you find? (e.g. in the dialogue between Mr. and Mrs. Bennet.) What does this humor suggest about the tone of the novel?

I love the humor... and I wouldn't have guessed that it would have really been so much a part of their life back then. They always seem so stoic and serious, yes? But in this house, definitely not. I love it. And including it here I think suggests that the tone of the novel, overall, is light and fun. Even though some serious stuff is about to go down.

This novel addresses a variety of themes, including issues involving marriage, financial status, and social appearances. The novel begins with one of the most famous first sentences in all novels. What does this sentence mean? What is the view of marriage that it suggests? In what ways is the conversation between Mr. and Mrs. Bennet in chapter one a commentary on this sentence?

It means that girls have to get married in order to survive basically. Or at least everyone thinks that anyway. And that if a dude arrives on the scene, is unmarried and has money, he will be looked at as ripe pickings! I'm thinking that the first chapter is what many households must have gone through as their girls get to be a certain... it's sort of an arranged marriage kind of discussion, but not. Know what I mean?

All the major families (e.g. the Bennets, the Bingleys, the Lucas and the Darcys) are introduced with explanation of the fortune they have and the place they live in. What does this suggest about the importance of money and social status in this novel?

Money and social status if very important, in fact, we see that Darcy is so very bugged that the Bennets don't' quite measure up and wow... all sorts of problems occur because of this issue.

What is Elizabeth’s first impression of Darcy? What does she overhear him say? What is her opinion of him after that? Is her opinion based only on appearance or other more substantial criteria? How about Mrs. Bennet’s view of Darcy?

As we know, Elizabeth thinks Darcy is proud and haughty and she hears him say that she is only tolerable. It makes her decide that she wants nothing at all to do with him forever more.

As Elizabeth and Jane stay at Netherfield, what more does Elizabeth learn about Bingley’s sisters? How would you describe the relationship between Miss Bingley and Darcy? Does Elizabeth’s view of Darcy change? Does Darcy’s view of Elizabeth change? By the time that Elizabeth returns to Lonbourn, Darcy has conflicting feelings about Elizabeth. What does he feel? What does he decide to do about it?

Well, obviously Darcy's view is rapidly changing. I think Elizabeth's is slowly changing. She finds him witty at least I'm sure, because of the banter that begins here. She sees that Miss Bingley pretty much flings herself at him, not so very subtly.... which she finds a bit funny I think. Darcy is very nervous about his feelings, and I think he pretty much runs away, does he not?

That's all for this time... I hope you find it fun to follow my observations on this re-reading of a favorite book. I, myself, am planning on having a blast with it.


  1. Im glad you decided to reread it. I'd would've just watched the movie again and pretended. ;)

    1. Ha! I can totally see you doing that too.

    2. Guys, I think we should seriously do a watch along of this... either in real life or separately together. If we could do Middlemarch though, in one night, we could do this one!! What do you think? But Jenni you would have to be there... this would be for YOU! :)

    3. I'd love to do that! I think it would be great! :)

    4. Oh! if only I lived in Utah! If you guys do it let me know, and I'll watch the same parts on the same night. ;-)

  2. I'm glad you're participating in this! :) And, I love reading everyone's observations because it's helping me see what I missed. Hopefully, I'll get used to the language so I don't miss much more, lol.

    1. Jenni: I'm totally sure having seen the movie (the REAL movie) so many times helps me to understand the dialogue. And believe me, it's very funny!

  3. It really is an arranged marriage discussion, isn't it? I'm jumping ahead here, but since you've read the book several times... This idea becomes more evident when Collins proposes to Elizabeth and she says no and her mother is outraged. There is the expectation that it is what Elizabeth was supposed to do.

    Darcy totally runs from his feelings. And even though he says it's because she is not worthy of the match, I think he's just being afraid, if you know what I mean.



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