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Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen

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Slowrain has raised this question here

Actually, you may be able to help me with that book.


My main problem wasn't so much Austen's narrative, it was her structure. I admit I didn't get too far into it, but I felt she glossed over two very important scenes: the first meeting between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth, and I can't recall the other one just now. I usually have difficulty when the author stacks the deck like that: a tactic often used by low-grade mystery writers, and then readers exclaim that they never saw the end coming, not realizing it was because the author denied them access to the information rather than any particular brilliance on the part of the writer.


I usually don't mind unreliable narrative, but I don't think that's what Austen was going for in this book–maybe I'm wrong there. I wanted to see their first meeting at the party to decide for myself how Mr. Darcy acted; I wanted to see how Austen presented it. I felt cheated when she denied the reader that crucial moment and then expected us to take Elizabeth's account at face value. From that point on, everything, and I mean everything that Elizabeth says becomes suspect, even the ending, for how can we ever trust her again (I also had the same problem with the movie The Usual Suspects). It may be Austen's way of discussing gossip and second hand information, I don't know, but it felt cheap.


I really like the 2005 movie starring Keira Knightley, so I know there's a very good story in there (the movie showed their first meeting). I just need a little literary motivation to try the novel again. I need to know there was a reason, other than a cheap trick, why Austen denied the reader that first meeting.

I thought it was better to discuss it in the Pride & Prejudice forum and therefore have posted it here.


My initial answer would be that Jane Austen tried to show us the story from Elizabeth's perspective, the way she felt. A lot of the story is told in letters or "second hand". They wouldn't be able to do this as much in the movie, therefore they had to show the scene. However, Jane Austen does describe the event, through Elizabeth's words.


I guess there is no real way to make someone like a book they didn't the first time. Sometimes I have come to appreciate a book after having discussed it with my book club, other friends, or here on-line. But if I didn't love it while I read it the first time, I usually didn't start loving it after that.


I'll have to think about a better answer but I am sure there will be others here who will contribute to this, as well.

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I feel a lynch mob assembling every time I say this, but I really didn't get on with Pride and Prejudice.


I did at least find Mr Darcy a refreshingly honest love interest, but other than that I found myself having to work very hard to get anywhere. Some of the dialogue just seemed a bit inane and unnecessary.


Not one of my favourites.

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I picked up Pride and Prejudice last year on a whim thinking i should read the classics at some point and I had never seen the tv adaptations before. I really enjoyed reading it, I liked Austen's observations on life and the family dynamics, you can see them in everyday life even now (granted not the must find rich husband for daughter soon after 16th birthday!), but they are there.


It spurred me on to read persuasion, which in my opinion i probably enjoyed more, its shorter so if you get bored easily, its good to go for.


Warning if your the kind of person who gets engrossed in books, you may find yourself using Jane Austen language afterwards! However when i feel the need to show my boyfriend i'm more cultured than in reality a quick half hour with P&P to spruce up my vocab, works wonders.

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