Everyone knows Pride and Prejudice (unless you live under a rock, metaphorical or otherwise). Everyone knows the story of lovely Lizzie Bennet (oo get the alliteration) and her famous gallivanting with Mr Darcy, the brooding gentleman with a past. Golly how exciting. I must be honest, I think the BBC and ITV have done Pride and Prejudice a few too many times, but the fact is that they can and people will still watch it. And no of course it's not because they want to see Mr D in a wet and therefore transparent shirt. How superficial of you to even think such a thing. Honestly.
I look at Pride and Prejudice and I see a story about true love that seems to conquer all social boundaries, in every situation it arises in. Isn't that what Jane Austen is all about anyway? However, I think she had rather a party thinking up everything to stop them tying the knot. There is the inevitable social gap. Elizabeth is the second daughter of five and even if she was the eldest, she wouldn't be receiving any large fortune when her parents passed away. Still, she is bright and cheery and has her groovy best friend Charlotte to keep her company, as well as her crazy family with all its quirks. Mr D, on the other hand, earns double what Mr Bingley earns, i.e. shedloads, and is all snooty and grumpy. Why, oh why, does she see anything in him? Especially after he calls her plain. Rude.
Then there are the other aristocracies present. Apart from Mr Bingley, who is just idiotic at the best of times, everyone who has an ounce of money seems to be incredibly arrogant and indeed seems to look down on everyone they set eyes on, unless who they set eyes on has more money than themselves. Lady Catherine cannot stand the sight of Elizabeth and is constantly boasting her niece (who is plain) and trying to marry her off to Mr D; Caroline Bingley, sister of Jane's beau, is almost worse. She's the sort you would imagine to be that girl at school, or the arrogant boss at work. Absolutely insufferable. Even dear Mr Collins seems to think he is the bee's knees with his connection to Lady Cath and his house. Thank goodness Lizzie had the sense to turn him down.
But then you meet the poor end of town, and they are all so jolly and amicable. Jane Bennet seems like the kindest person you will ever meet; Charlotte is all down-to-earth and has that I-wish-she-was-my-best-friend thing going for her. Mr and Mrs Bennet are... interesting. Well I could never deal with Mrs B being my mum, but she's not so I suppose she is O.K. if you count out the constant "Oh Mr Bennet! Mr Bennet!" clamours.
Anyway, I just thought I would share what I understand to be the real social divide in this book. And yes I have read it too many times. And yes I am still reading Anna Karenina - it is very long. You are just going to have to wait. And yes Mr Wickham is my favourite. And yes I do sort of wish I was Lydia. That will be all.