First Impressions – Pride and Prejudice

The other day, I began my reading of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.  As I begin Volume II, I find myself in somewhat of a quandry.  As I’ve mentioned previously, I’ve only read one other book by Jane Austen, and that was Emma.  While I found Emma to be light, airy, and somewhat happy go lucky for the most part, I’m finding that’s not particularly the case with Pride and Prejudice.

Sure I see some similarities, such as those dealing with class and social status, but Pride and Prejudice seems to have a somewhat depressed atmosphere to it.  Or maybe depressed isn’t the right word.  It just seems like there’s a dark cloud that’s hovering over the Bennet family.  Which I can definitely understand given the current circumstances of the family.  Nothing but daughters, an entailment of the family land to a distant cousin.  So I definitely see the set mood.

And as I’ve seen in my readings of Emma and War and Peace, the culture depicted in this book is one where families marry their daughters off quite young, in some cases, significantly younger than their male suitors.  Which, as I’m fully aware, is not acceptable in American culture today, while accepted in the nineteenth century, it still feels odd to read about it.

I definitely love the interaction amongst all the major characters so far.  Especially those that involve Mrs. Bennet.  You can definitely see, so far, that she has seriously lacks any social couth.  The way she blabbered at the ball about Mr. Bingley and her daughter Jane definitely caught me by surprise, and how embarrassed Elizabeth was by it.

And like Emma in Emma, Elizabeth is very much a dominant lead female character who seems to know what she’s looking for in life.  She’s also quite prejudiced against Mr. Darcy the second she becomes quite aware of his pride.  I can definitely feel the tension when those two meet.

I definitely appreciate the fact that Pride and Prejudice isn’t as “chatty Cathy” as Emma is.  While you have your normal gossip in Pride and Prejudice, it definitely isn’t as long and drawn out as it was in Emma, and it’s something that I’ve enjoyed, succinct, at times, and to the point.

I’m definitely starting to see what it is my wife sees as so fascinating with this book, and why it’s her favorite Jane Austen novel.  It has a great mix of humor, cultural references, and a really good storyline.  I’m pretty excited and upbeat about what’s to come as I continue reading this classical piece of literature.

If you’ve read Pride and Prejudice, I’d love to hear what you think!


About Jeremy

Husband, book lover, Civil War Buff. If I could read for a living I would, but unfortunately, it doesn't pay the bills!

2 Responses to “First Impressions – Pride and Prejudice”

  1. Do you know that Austen first called Pride and Prejudice “First Impressions?” It was written then as a series of letters, as was the fashion.

    I liked the irony in your title. 🙂

    Elizabeth is sort of the straight man to her mother — and much of society. I (think) even more serious than this book, is Sense and Sensibility.

    I’m more and more excited to get back to this one!! I think a lot of the subtle humor will jump out at me, this time, and I’ll more understand the pride/prejudice theme you mention.


  1. Additional Impressions – Pride and Prejudice | Beltwayliterature - April 1, 2011

    […] my previous post, I’ve come to learn more about each character, in particular Elizabeth.  I’ve seen her […]

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