Pride and Prejudice Book II: Pride Harder

2 Oct

“In vain I have struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”

If this was an episode of Friends the title would be, “The one where shit goes down”.  Book two consists of chapters 24-42 and presents the main conflict and climax of the book.  In these chapters our hero Elizabeth visits her newly married BFF Charlotte at her Huntsford.  During this visit we get some of the best moments so far from the bitchy Lady Catherine de Bourgh, who truly deserves a section all her own.  She is like Cruella DeVille, Professor Umbridge, and Chief Gordon Ramsay all mixed into the perfect storm of cunt.

No governess! How was that possible? Five daughters brought up at home without a governess! I never heard of such a thing. Your mother must have been quite a slave to your education.

All though statements like the following made by Lady Catherine seem pretty tame, in Pride and Prejudice talk she mine as well have just told Elizabeth that she is stupid and her mother is a whore.

All though our main parties’ visits with Lady Catherine are entertainment enough in this section of the book the real shocker in this section is the surprise proposal of Mr. Darcy to Elizabeth.  Mr. Darcy is the nephew of Lady Catherine so he visits her estate during the duration of Elizabeth’s stay with the Collins. He acts some what strange but Elizabeth could really give a fuck and from her earlier accounts of Mr. Darcy’s behavior from Mr. Wickham he is an irredeemable pile of shit.  So when out of left field Mr. Darcy proposes and not only that but says he has been in love with her, it is quite the shock to all.  Up until this point we assumed the hatred between the two was mutual but it becomes clear that Mr. Darcy was not catching the bad vibes Elizabeth was sending him.  Elizabeth not only rejects him but kicks him swiftly in the balls with her shut down and confronts him on what Mr. Wickham has said of Darcy’s character and on him keeping her sister Jane and Mr. Bingley apart.

From the very beginning–from the first moment, I may almost say–of my acquaintance with you, your manners, impressing me with the fullest belief of your arrogance, your conceit, and your selfish disdain of the feelings of others, were such as to form the groundwork of disapprobation on which succeeding events have built so immovable a dislike; and I had not known you a month before I felt that you were the last man in the world whom I could ever be prevailed on to marry.”

In other words, “Not only no, but HELL no”.  Mr. Darcy is left a broken mess and leaves without saying much more.  The next day he gives Elizabeth a letter that gives in full detail an explanation of his actions.  He explains he did try to keep Jane and Bingley apart but only because he didn’t think she was into him.  Jane is a quiet girl and he apologized for his inference because he truly thought it was in their best interest.  As for Mr. Wickham he lays out what really when down and that he gave Mr. Wickham the money his father had left for him and much more so he could become a lawyer.  Wickham blew the money on hookers and blow and came back asking for more and Darcy, rightfully so, told him to go fuck himself.  Afterwards Wickham tried to secretly elope with his sister which would have been all kinds of a scandal and this is why he and Wickham hated each other.   Elizabeth realizes she fucked up and judged him wrongly but the damage has already been done so she can only hope that she doesn’t suffer the embarrassment of seeing him again.

Ok that was a lot of plot and lots were left out but the main theme of the whole book has been this back and forth anger/hatred between Elizabeth and Darcy.  You expected that feelings were mutual so it is a really big shock that he was actually in love with her the whole time.  More so it is a shock that Mr. Wickham isn’t who he say he is.  Elizabeth herself was growing a half chub for Wickham before she left for Huntsford and Wickham was reciprocating those feelings.  However shortly before she left another richer girl in town became available and Wickham dropped his affection for Elizabeth for greener pastors.  This should have been a sign for Elizabeth but their attraction was never that strong so she just assumed he was never that interested in the start.  This in and of it self isn’t much but it’s helps Elizabeth find the truth when she’s presented with two drastically different characterizations of Mr. Wickham and Mr. Darcy.

For me the most interesting and best part of the book so far has been seeing Elizabeth after receiving the letter use her logic and reasoning to realize what Darcy is saying is true.  She has hated Darcy the entirety that she’s known him so far and it would have been much easier for her to convince herself he was lying and Wickham is right.  After her outburst she very possibly won’t ever see Darcy again and there would be consequence if she held the façade that Mr. Wickham told her to be true.  However, Elizabeth sets what she feels emotionally aside and decides based on the merit of their statements what is true.  In this pre-election climate you can really see that putting your emotions aside and taking a hard truth is something that a lot of people are simply unwilling to do.  It is hard to take a cherished belief and stare at the facts and say “hey I fucked up”.  With the internet and how polarized things are right now we can just find the facts that best suit us and double down regardless of what introspective thought and reasoning might tell us.  Elizabeth took the harder path and had to realize her actions might have hurt a decent man rather than take the easy way out and say he was full of shit.

Our hero is growing up.  While she’s not a girl, not yet a woman, she’s definitely on her way.  When she first heard that her BFF Charlotte was getting married to Mr. Collins she acted like an asshole.  While she didn’t do anything outwardly other than a small outburst when Charlotte first told her inside she turned on her friend.

Charlotte the wife of Mr. Collins was a most humiliating picture! And to the pang of a friend disgracing herself and sunk in her esteem, was added the distressing conviction that it was impossible for that friend to be tolerably happy in the lot she had chosen.”

Between Elizabeth and Charlotte there was a restraint which kept them mutually silent on the subject; and Elizabeth felt persuaded that no real confidence could ever subsist between them again. Her disappointment in Charlotte made her turn with fonder regard to her sister …”

It was kind of shitty for her to be so hard on her friend for getting married a guy who was yes an idiot but also wealthy enough so that she could live well.  Seeing Elizabeth reason and reconcile her mistake with Darcy shows leaps and bounds in her growth as a person from the girl she was.

Next up is book three and the conclusion to part one of this many part series.  After all the scandal and surprises of book two I don’t know if book three is going to try to top it or just tie up loose ends.  Either way its going to be interesting to see how this tale ends.  Also after reading thus far it’s become clear that Mr. Collins, Lady Catherine, and the Bennet girls are going to need a separate discussions of their own.  They are all some of the craziest/catty/bitchy/dumb/greatest/most entertaining parts of the book and so don’t feel bad if I haven’t given them justice yet.

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One Response to “Pride and Prejudice Book II: Pride Harder”

  1. rachaelwelsh October 2, 2012 at 3:02 am #

    Shit gets real in part three, too.

    And I cannot believe you referred to an Austen character having a “half chub.” Ew.

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