Pride and Prejudice…again

It’s a delight to reread Jane Austen’s stories at different stages of my life. I see different things in them each time, and I understand and appreciate them in new ways as I get older. Last week, B and I celebrated our 38th wedding anniversary. It wasn’t a planned part of this year’s celebration, but both of us just finished listening to the audiobook version of Pride and Prejudice. So of course, with this “reread,” and with our anniversary in mind, I particularly enjoyed the view of the many different marriages in the story…

Mr. & Mrs. Bennet … They’ve been married a long time, but Mr. Bennet’s choice of Mrs. Bennet was “imprudent.” He was taken by her youth and beauty, which we all know are fleeting, and now with both youth and beauty gone, they have settled into their separate lives, together.

Lydia & Wickham … A disastrous marriage! — thoughtless, foolish, and selfish. “Because with such a husband, her misery was considered certain.”

Charlotte Lucas & Mr. Collins … Charlotte Lucas was already considered an old maid at age 27, so when the opportunity arose for a respectable marriage to Mr. Collins, she didn’t hesitate even though she found him “irksome.” She was loyal to and supportive of him, but encouraged his separate interests and activities away from her. And she loved running her own household, which was one of the freedoms gained by marriage.

Mr. & Mrs. Gardiner … The Gardiners are a sensible and loving couple. They reminded me of Admiral and Mrs. Croft in Persuasion — still very much in love after many years of marriage, they obviously respect each other, communicate well, work in harmony, and share their lives.

Jane & Mr. Bingley … are so well suited for each other! She is beautiful and humble, always thinking the best of people and situations. He is generous and good. They love each other deeply, and Jane Austen tells us that their marriage is a happy one.

Elizabeth & Mr. Darcy … They are such a wonderful couple, but each had to grow up first before they could realize how much they really loved each other. They are alike, yet different, intelligent and independent, and they end up having a deep respect for each other. Their complex relationship is, of course, my favorite one in the book.

Reading Pride and Prejudice is always enjoyable, but it was particularly fun this time as an “anniversary read.”

“Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance.”
–Jane Austen
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18 thoughts on “Pride and Prejudice…again

  1. jenclair

    My congratulations, too! A long marriage is an accomplishment in this day and age. How appropriate to examine the marriages in P&P!

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  2. a.book.in.the.life

    Congrats on the anniversary xx Love to read your thoughts on P and P. I am afraid I have never got through the whole book but have watched the Colin Firth dramatisation several times. A friend at university loved him and so we had to watch it the whole way through several times!

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  3. Robin

    Thanks, Donna!

    Thanks, jenclair. Her different views of marriage really hit home with me this time. It was fun to explore how Austen portrayed the different relationships.

    Thanks, Tanabata. I love that quote, too, and agree with you that is is so true!

    Thanks, Tara.

    Thanks, a.book.in.the.life! We love the Colin Firth dramatization, too, and have watched it many times. I hadn’t read the book for a long time, so I was pleased to realize how much of the book they were able to include in that dramatization.

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  4. Rachele

    What a beautiful bride you were, and how happy you both look! I loved this post and I always learn so much from your blog, and so enjoyably. I keep thinking you could develop a literature curriculum from your blog.

    What sets your blog apart from others I have read is your intimate connection of literature to your life.

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  5. Robin

    Thanks, Rachele. It’s fun to look at the old photos. It certainly was a happy day in my life (major understatement).

    Thanks, Alyson. P & P is one of my all-time favorites, too…more so every time I read it.

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  6. Nymeth

    I agree with Maggie, great post! Can you believe I never read “Pride and Prejudice”? I really need to change that.

    Happy anniversary!

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  7. Booklogged

    Really nice post. I liked how you concentrated on each couple’s relationship. I just read it for the first time several months ago, but I do look forward to a reread.

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  8. Bookfool

    Congratulations on your anniversary! What a wonderful look at the marriages of Austen’s characters! I love this post!!!

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  9. Robin

    Thanks, Maggie!

    Thanks, Nymeth. I wonder how you would like Pride and Prejudice? I liked it when I first read it, but I think all the different film verions of it have really added to my liking the book more and more over the years. My favorite Austen is actually Persuasion.

    Thanks, Booklogged and Bookfool,
    I just couldn’t resist writing about all of those different marriages. She was a keen observer to be able to describe each relationship so well.

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  10. mom

    What a lovely wedding picture: a beautiful bride, a handsome groom, and such a happy day. I’m slow catching up here but no less delighted with your very special blog. I love the way you describe the different marriages in Pride and Prejudice.
    Congratulations.

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  11. Nan -

    What a delightful, creative piece of writing, Robin. Your pictures and descriptions of all the different marriages is just wonderful. Oh, how I loved reading this posting. And Happy Anniversary, too!!

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