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Let’s all just agree that Colin Firth emerging from a pond in a soaked shirt and Matthew Macfadyen walking through the mist with a shirt basically open to the navel are equally... attractive However, responding to a declaration of love with “Your hands are cold.” is ridiculous. Now, let’s put away our swords and talk about the book instead.
Why is Jane Austen’s timeless Pride and Prejudice still relevant today? I think it’s because her characters are so believably flawed. There is no perfect character in this book, though Jane Bennett would probably get the closest. This classic novel portrays the reality of what kind of stress a family lived under without a male heir to inherit the property in the immediate family.
But beyond that on a more universal level, we see from this book a series of profound truths:
- Your first impression of people can be wrong. Don’t hold on to what you believe of people. Be open to changing your mind.
- People who seem good or are the most charming and charismatic aren’t always the heroes of the story.
- You don’t know what history and scars someone is living with that have formed how they act the way they do. Give people a little grace.
- Realize that similar backgrounds, salary, or heritage does not necessarily mean that’s where your people are. Sometimes true love, or true friendship, comes from a part of the world you’d never anticipate.
- Take constructive criticism and act on it. Always try to improve yourself to become a better person.
- The most romantic story doesn’t always have the happy ending. The slow burn where you make each other better people along the way can be a more abiding love that the sweeping, dramatic romance that makes you want to drop everything and run away with that person.
- The main heroine isn’t the prettiest character. I realize that people think this is just now a movement in romance, but hello. Elizabeth Bennett was not the prettiest woman in this book. In fact, if you were to rank, she’s probably be at least . . . third in rank? After Jane, Caroline, and Lydia. Kitty is often looked over and is indiscriminately described. She may or may not be prettier than Elizabeth.
- Heroines can be tomboys. (At least the Jane Austen version of a tomboy.) Elizabeth loved to walk around instead of being taken in a carriage. It’s mentioned multiple times throughout the book how sunburnt or tan she is. This was a huge no-no in Jane Austen’s time. Ladies should strive to be as untouched by the sun as possible.
- The people who should get their comeuppance, sometimes never do.
- Suck-ups have always been around. And they’ve always been irritating.
This list could go on and on. And believe me, I could keep going. But hopefully by this time you’re getting an idea of how timeless and before her time Jane Austen was.
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