*Hey, you. This is a spoiler alert. If you haven’t read or watch Pride and Prejudice, reading this will give you a lot of hints about the story. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. 😀
I studied English Literature but I admit, shamefully, that I have little interest in the classics. I read them for school assignments, but thought nothing of it. I only remember some stories, vaguely, and nothing memorable for me so far other than good grades I got from it.
Pride and Prejudice. I’ve heard it and read a bit about it (because my lecturer preferred Sense and Sensibility when we studied Jane Austen). I know of Elizabeth Bennet. And I know of Mr. Darcy, the wonderful Mr. Darcy. I’ve read the synopsis but never gotten to actually read the whole book. Then suddenly in the last few books I’ve translated both Pride and Prejudice and Mr. Darcy were mentioned again and again. It made me wonder: “Is Mr. Darcy that amazing? That charming? That romantic? So that these writers mentioned him as a symbol of those things?” and “What DID I remember about Mr. Darcy?”
Well, one day I finally got the chance to sit down and read the book. You know what? Just a few chapters in and I was hooked already. Just like that. The amazing Jane Austen successfully created a story with characters that are well ahead of her time. Why did I say that? Because it didn’t feel as if I’m reading a classic. It feels every bit a contemporary romance. I kid you not, the clothes, way of speaking, and settings was old-fashioned, but the way the story goes and how the characters presented themselves is very, very modern. Re-write it in today’s background and it fits right in.
About Mr. Darcy. This is a perfect example of don’t judge a book from its cover, don’t judge someone before you get to know them. In the eyes of the hopeless romantics, Mr. Darcy is… perfect. Though there were mentions of his flaws again and again in the book, but his better side and romantic soul overshadowed everything.
Mr. Darcy appeared cold, rude, and a total snob at first, true. And I’m sure most of the readers somewhat hated him in the beginning (the prejudice, for sure). Slowly, but sure, Jane Austen opened the door to the heart of William Darcy, and what we saw inside is this vulnerable, sensitive, kind, loving, family man. At first it seemed as if Elizabeth melted the ice surrounding Darcy’s heart, but to me, it was actually the other way around. Elizabeth Bennet is a very stubborn girl. I think part of it is because people always said right to her face that she’s not pretty enough to survive in the world, unlike Jane, her older sister. Lizzy isn’t going to marry well, because men from good families always choose a pretty bride. Therefore, Lizzy created her personality as a tough girl and a little cynical, and she wanted to show the world she was capable to survive and that she’s not going to sit around waiting for a man to pick her like some kind of toy. A woman also have the right to choose her man (the pride, I think).
When Mr. Darcy started to develop an interest (just interest, before anything else) in Lizzy, he’s still that same rude and arrogant man, but a already starting to softened around the edges. However, I started to fall in love with Mr. Darcy’s character right when he realized he was head over heels for Lizzy. Mr. Darcy and Lizzy accidentally, unplanned, visited Lady Catherine de Bourgh’s land, owned by Mr. Darcy’s dear aunt, at the same time. The way he tried to insert himself when Lizzy is having a wonderful conversation with his cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam, how he kept on visiting the parsonage, and last but not least, the failure proposal.
From then on Mr. Darcy’s character kept getting better and better in the eyes of the reader. He’s a one woman man, never waver for even a second when Caroline Bingley tried so hard to seduce him and dissuade him from liking Elizabeth by constantly mocking the girl (which, by the way, is never the right move if you’re trying to impress or dissuade a man. It never works in the movies, in books, more so in the real life). The fact that Darcy, who was totally a family man, always took a splendid care of his sister, helped Lydia and Wickham (even though Wickham was some sort nemesis of his) just because Lydia is Lizzy’s little sister, and welcomed Lizzy with her uncle and aunt to Pemberley even though the girl had rejected his marriage proposal, swept me away from my feet.
This is how Lizzy learned not to judge a book from its cover. The cold, rude, arrogant part of Mr. Darcy turned out to be a facade that the man placed to hide the fact that he’s just a socially awkward person. Being a socially awkward person when he’s one of the richest men in England was not easy. People came to him to just start a conversation with him, tried to woe him, tried to persuade him, tried to be his friend or companion or person-in-favor and girls even tried to be his wife, all the time. You can see (or read) how warm he was when he’s with his sister and Charles Bingley, two of his closest person in life, and, later, with Elizabeth. In a way, I think I’m not the only one saying that Mr. Darcy’s imperfection very nearly made him perfect.
And this man, Colin Firth, has always been Mr. Darcy pictured in my brain, though for all the wrong reasons. I never watched him in the 1995 TV series version of Pride and Prejudice. I only thought of him as Mr. Darcy because he was Mark Darcy in Bridget Jones Diary. Oh, wow. Now that I write this, I couldn’t be more embarrassed. 😀
For you, the brave soul who haven’t read or watch Pride and Prejudice, only know a snippet of it, but brave enough to read this post until the end, give it a go. And afterward, tell me: Is Mr. Darcy becoming your man crush too?