by Anantinee Mishra
“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife” is the first sentence of Jane Austen’s highly acclaimed Pride & Prejudice. Published by Thomas Egerton on 28th January 1813, the famously everlasting classic has received appreciation and accolades throughout the globe – and throughout the decades.
It’s the story of the feuds and friends of a somewhat high-society family, the Bennets, as they were in the early nineteenth century. The female protagonist of the book, Elizabeth Bennet, is the second eldest out of the five daughters of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet. She shares a trivial relationship with Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, aliased as the prim and proper, strict, and stern Mr. Darcy throughout the course of the book.
They meet for the first time at a ball hosted by the affluent yet kind and down-to-earth Mr. Bingley, who is portrayed as a considerable suitor of Elizabeth’s elder sister, Jane. The other important characters would include Mrs. Bennet; an anxious Mama, trying her level best to get her daughters into suitable deemed marriages, Mr. Bennet; who has set high standards for the Award of Father of the Year, given he is an epitome of love and affection and independence, and is the hero every girl desires in her father. Mr. Collins and George Wickham would be deemed as playing an important role too; as Elizabeth’s suitors and probable husbands. While the narration is almost exclusively by the viewpoint of Elizabeth, the respective intentions of both the men become crystal clear in time.
The chronicle saga formatively begins when Elizabeth forms a rather tenacious and hastened opinion about Mr. Darcy, whose flaws in socialising as well as grace talk is mistaken for a conceit and arrogant indifference for people with certain inferiority to him, which also can be considered as the truth, to an extreme extent.
The unique set of personalities of the characters; from quirky and cheery to aloof and distant, as well as their personal growth is beautifully interwoven with the progression of the plot, certainly provides a rich and colourful and distinctively imaginative world, as pioneered by Author Austen.
Talking about the plot, the story is actually Austen’s reflection on what is the difference between a union formed due to the commitment to society, and a union formed due to commitment to one’s own self.
It’s a figment of love; between people of apparent superior and inferior statuses, all the while maintaining a mask of nonchalance and hiding an interior of deep flaws and insecurities. One thing noticeable, however, is that the lyricised form of writing as well as constant references to Scottish English make it a bit difficult to distinguish what is said in a sarcastic manner, and what is in a genuine one.
The characterization, done in such a way that it feels realistic and connectable, as well as making the protagonists likable in a flawed manner, and not just with a perfect god or goddess sort of heroic personality is perhaps the biggest plus point of the book, in my opinion.
Today, after more then two centuries later, Pride & Prejudice continues to remain a class example of English language and storytelling to its mastery, as well as the closest perfection ever attained in narration. It is considered to be the beginning of an era, and the highlight of one.
No matter how many times you read it, it remains as captivating as it was the first time; as appealing and graceful. The story of Darcy’s pride and Elizabeth’s prejudice.
About the Author:
Anantinee ‘JHUMPA’ Mishra is a prodigy author, poet and TED speaker. She is twelve years old studying in std.8th at Apeejay School, Saket, New Delhi. She has published two books and many stories and articles in magazines and journals. At the age of ten, she published a 21,000 worded anthology of stories called ‘Treasure of Short Stories’. Last year her debut Novel ‘Manhattan to Munnar’ got released. Recently she has been conferred with a title ‘PRODIGY AUTHOR’ and an ‘HONORARY DIPLOMA’ by the Hon’ble Vice President of India Sh. M Venkaiah Naidu.