Pride & Prejudice is probably one of my favorite books of all time. I hadn’t read it in a little while, but since I am teaching it to my honors sophomores, I reread it, as I always do with any book I’m teaching. Some I always tend to enjoy more than others, and this is one of those books. There are several different couples in the book–Jane & Bingley, Lydia & Wickham, Elizabeth & Darcy–but the most intriguing and arguably one of the most famous couples in literary history would have to be the last couple. Elizabeth & Darcy are, in my opinion, years ahead of their time in their actions and their character. I think what draws me to this book is the fact that they remind me of the way my husband and I act toward each other. Being from the South, “ladies” and “gentlemen” are expected to act a certain way sometimes. And, well, sometimes I’m not a perfect lady and my husband isn’t always a perfect gentlemen. Elizabeth and Darcy are so similar in personality that they end up together. Their relationship pretty much throws out the old saying that “opposites attract.”
Having read Pride & Prejudice again, I would say that my opinion of it hasn’t changed since I read it several years ago to when I reread it recently to now, the most recent time I’ve picked it up to read. I personally think that this is probably one of Austen’s best works if not the best, and I know that that’s also the popular opinion, but it’s true. How can you not like Elizabeth Bennet’s spunky personality that is years ahead of her time? Ladies, how can you not be almost drawn to the snotty Mr. Darcy? There is just something about him that is attractive! And let’s not leave out the other characters. If you’re like me, you love to hate Mrs. Bennett, Miss Bingley, Lady Catherine, and Mr. Collins. They are some of the most despised characters in any piece of literature I’ve read. They are quite fun to dislike, actually. In fact, all of the characters you can either love to love or love to hate.
Comparing Pride & Prejudice to other novels of Austen’s and to more modern novels, I think it can stand with the best of them. It is a novel that you can read just for pleasure when you want a good love story or when you want to look for some deeper literary themes. Coffee and Literature gives Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice an A.