I was 11 years old when I first got my hands on the ‘Pride and Prejudice’. While it wasn’t the first novel I read (that one’s ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ by Roald Dahl), it was certainly my first love story. Fast-forwarding to today, some 13 years later, I still treasure the book.
Written over 200 years ago, which is a really long time, there are several reasons to believe that the novel is still very relevant to today’s time. We could talk about the society, the way women view the world, the way men view the world, the misogynists, the prejudices – all of which could easily account for today’s time. The only changing factor would be- the necklines would be a little lower, and the hemlines a little higher.
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife,” is one of Literature’s most popular and perhaps the most pertinent statements.
While some could argue the plot is about finding a partner based on mutual affection and love, and not on class and wealth, the book actually paints a distinct picture of the middle-class and upper-class society of the Victorian England, while still remaining absolutely resonating.
There are different themes with ‘Pride and Prejudice’ that support the fascinating relevancy to today’s time, and while I’d love to write an at least 5000-word long essay on it, I’ll keep it short and in parts.
Themes ‘Pride’ and ‘Prejudice’
It only takes 5 seconds to create a first impression on somebody, that first impression creates our judgement about that person. On her first encounter with Mr Darcy, Elizabeth assumed a feeling of prejudice about him and concluded that he was rude, arrogant and full of pride. And while that isn’t completely untrue, Elizabeth had a high sense of pride herself. ‘Pride’ pretty much got in the way and really complicated things for both of them- till the end of the story, and don’t even let me get started on their prejudices.
Why I pinpoint on these two themes, and not just because that is the name of the book, it’s while the plot drivers and topics may no longer be seen as contemporary by many, the depiction of Austen’s understanding of human nature is spot on. 200 years on, and people still quickly create passive judgements, project their insecurities onto others, and often let pride and prejudice design their character.
What do you think?