Pride and Prejudice

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”
-Jane Austin Pride and Prejudice

There are some books out there which never seemed imaginable for my reading list; one of which was always Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin – my 6th classic. Jane Austin always seemed like the ultimate kryptonite to male ego. No man could dive into a Jane Austin book and come out with any remaining masculinity. It’s like accidentally using Vagisil Body Wash when taking a shower and then going through the day questioning the existence of your gender; requiring a impromptu Civil War reenactment to reverse any damage. I actually bought Pride and Prejudice at Barnes and Noble which was a big mistake. Buying this book was kinda like buying a dirty magazine – eye contact at checkout being a nonnegotiable. What made matters worse was the fact that I had to ask this little old lady to find a copy for me. Like a scene in some twisted comedy, she had to announce over the intercom, “I need help finding Pride and Prejudice for this nice young man.” We ended up spending the next 30 minutes navigating the store to find a copy that didn’t have a cover designed specifically for hipster feminists. I finally settled on a bright blue copy which was the closest thing to a “manly” version – the old lady quickly ruined this triumph with the words, “oh how cute, my daughter has the same one.” The shame I felt climaxed at the counter when the clerk asked me why I was reading it – my answer was that it was for an “all-female book club.”

Pride and Prejudice was written in 1813 and was a critique of the “Sentimental” novels of the mid-18th century. The Sentimental novels usually focused on the power of emotions over reason – many times in relation to marriage. Austen, in Pride and Prejudice, questions the advantages of marriage and questions the “pride” and “prejudice” between different classes of people. Early 19th century England was all about social distinction, manners, and status. The main characters of the novel continually are judging themselves in relation to others and questioning the proper ways to interact. Marriages are based not on love but rather upward mobility – women with small dowries seeking rich men and poor handsome men seeking wealthy-spinster women. The novel starts out like an episode of Keeping up with the Kardashians but actually ends up being pretty captivating by the end; the journey to becoming married is not straightforward and not always a sure thing. Many times, I found myself rooting for a couple but then being surprised by plot twists which totally changed my outlook – highlighting my own prejudices. This novel is not just about romance but rather our human nature to judge others. It also speaks to our stubbornness to accept wrong doing and the barriers that pride presents in our daily interactions. It was actually a great novel that dissolved my long standing pride and prejudice towards Jane Austin. We always need to be reminded to not judge a book by its cover – maybe I’ll go back to Barnes and Noble for the more feminine cover.


4 thoughts on “Pride and Prejudice

  1. Pride and Prejudice was the last Austen I read, and it certainly stands out from the other ones. Jane Austen is definitely a great one to do reading groups with though. My first Austen was Emma back in college, which I enjoyed pretty well, but the ending seemed entirely too surprising until I went to the seminar discussion and there were Austen fans pointing out to me all the hints dropped along the way. If you’re going to get through your 1300, you have at least 5 more to go! (One tip: Karen Savage is one of the few excellent voices on Librivox, and she has kindly provided audio versions for all of Austen’s major novels. This may save you from an embarrassing cover.)


    • I am pretty pumped for the book club which is actually next week; hopefully they will give me some insights on Austen because she really is quite complex. In total I will read seven of her books so I am curious to see how the next ones go. My coworker listened to Pride and Prejudice on audio and said it brought more detail to the story through the readers inflections. I probably will do a few on audio to give my eyes a rest and my ego time to recover :). I am going to check that book out that you sent me for referencing the Qur’an.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This sounds like a book that I would enjoy and your blog brought a smile to my face. Never hurts to stretch ourselves in different directions – makes us better people. Let me know what the little old lady says when you go back.


  3. Pingback: The 1,300 Classics | SAPERE AUDE

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