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RG - Pride and Prejudice

PostPosted: Nov 07, 2017 3:21 pm
by Pattertwigs Pal
Welcome to the Pride and Prejudice Reading Group! This is an informal reading group. In other words, I shan't be coming up with a list of questions for each chapter. The readers will be allowed to chose what they post and how much they post. They may post by chapter, by sections, or after reading the whole book. Since people will be going at their own pace, please label posts with the chapter or chapters you are discussing so people may choose what they read based on where they are in the book.

Now this may seem a bit like a random thread (although for people who know me know my passion for reading groups). Hopefully, it will be the first in a series of informal reading groups. My friend and I read through The Politically Incorrect Guide of English and American Literature. In it is a list of Literature that the author recommends. We read a couple of the pieces on the list and then it kind of fell through the cracks. I mention it to another friend of ours and she was interested in it. Others in our group decided to join in and since we are all on NarniaWeb we decided NarniaWeb was a great place to have our discussion. It also allows for even more people to join in! We picked Pride and Prejudice as a starting point because 2017 is the 100th anniversary of her death and there is a local Jane Austen event.

Re: RG - Pride and Prejudice

PostPosted: Nov 11, 2017 3:49 pm
by the4signs[repeat]
This is a wonderful idea for a reading group! :ymhug: I was just reading a C.S. Lewis essay entitled On Three Ways of Writing for Children and in it he says, “I now enjoy … Jane Austen … as well as fairy tales.” So this is something we have in common with him!
I am presently in the second chapter of Volume 2 of Pride and Prejudice. I have read this book before, but it has been a while. What strikes me is the richness of the language used by the characters. Also, I did not remember, and film and television versions of the story don’t have time to show, just how much time Lizzy and Mr. Wickham spend together. He is at their house a lot over Christmas and at other times. They are good friends! She basically tells her aunt she is not in love with him yet, but she could easily be if he was in love with her. Also, the TV/film versions show a certain “sizzle” between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth, which is there in the book to some degree. But I am surprised at HOW MUCH she dislikes Mr. Darcy. She makes it her pastime to despise and make fun of him, and gets her whole town doing it too. Her attitude toward these two men really make for a big surprise later! I love watching film and TV versions, but I find that reading the book helps me to slow down and better savor the twists and feel the emotional impacts of the story. ;;)

Re: RG - Pride and Prejudice

PostPosted: Jan 05, 2018 9:00 am
by SummerSnow
I have just finished reading the first chapter, which is possibly as far as I have ever gotten. It is hard to say for certain. Since I am so familiar with the story, I am not sure if my impressions of certain characters and events come from varied forms of media, or if I actually have read more of the book.

While I have come to this conclusion before, I am reminded of my dislike for Mr. Bennet. While he is quite a humorous character (and enjoyable to read), he is not a particularly good father. Perhaps I am being a bit hasty, as this is only the first chapter (and am letting the various adaptations of the book influence me), but how he refers to his daughters, as well as the clear favoritism for Lizzie (as well as Jane) has always bothered me.

My feelings toward the matter were quite influenced (in this chapter) by this bit of the conversation between Mrs. and Mr. Bennet:

“I desire you will do no such thing. Lizzy is not a bit better than the others; and I am sure she is not half so handsome as Jane, nor half so good-humoured as Lydia. But you are always giving her the preference.”

“They have none of them much to recommend them,” replied he; “they are all silly and ignorant like other girls; but Lizzy has something more of quickness than her sisters.”

Anyway, those were my "first" impressions. :p

Re: RG - Pride and Prejudice

PostPosted: Feb 27, 2018 9:49 am
by Grandmama
P&P is one of my favorite books! It is also one of few books I own (besides the Bible) that I can quote the first line. ;;)
The first chapter does fix my interest. With so many books available to read, if a book doesn't catch my interest in the first chapter, often I will not continue reading it. Of course, having read it before, I know I like it, but re-reading the first chapter, I've noticed that it does pique the interest.

I have to agree with summersnow that Mr. Bennet is not a particularly good father. If his daughters are silly and ignorant, he should have been more involved in their upbringing so that they were not so. We find out much later in the book that they had no governess, so I think we can lay the upbringing or lack thereof, squarely at Mr. and Mrs. Bennet's feet.

Re: RG - Pride and Prejudice

PostPosted: Aug 12, 2018 8:04 am
by Ryadian
I've made it a goal to read all the Jane Austen novels this year; I just finished Sense and Sensibility a few weeks ago, and now I'm approximately 20 chapters in to P&P. I know I've read the book once before, and I've seen both the A&E 5 hour version and the mid-2000's movie (vastly prefer the former), but even so I'm finding that I'm discovering new things about the story.

First of all, maybe this is just because the last time I read the story I was younger than Elizabeth and now I'm older than her, but it just strikes me how young she behaves. I guess I thought of her as a fully mature woman before, and now I'm realizing that part of her development in this book is to grow up a bit. As the4signs[repeat] pointed out, I hadn't realized how much she actively disliked Mr. Darcy, to the point of almost encouraging herself to think and talk about him more so she could further justify her dislike of him. I'll admit that I've done this before too, more recently than I would've liked. ;)) I'm beginning to realize that my understanding of Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy as just misunderstood rather than flawed is probably a holdover from when I was too young to get it.

I don't know how much the various adaptations of both stories are coloring my opinion, but I've also noticed that, in a sense, the characters in P&P feel almost more like they're in a comedy whereas S&S was more of a drama. The P&P characters feel much more exaggerated and larger than life, though I would not by any means call them one-note, whereas in S&S the characters (with the exception of Marianne) felt much more reserved. Perhaps this just because Elinor is a much more reserved character than Elizabeth and we're seeing each story through those respective lenses.

Another comparison is that I realized this time around that, in a way, it's almost like P&P is S&S from Marianne's perspective rather than Elinor's. Elizabeth is the younger, more impulsive sister who starts to fall for the wrong man first and has to look past her initial impressions of the man that she ultimately falls in love with. In both books, though, I feel that the more active character is the protagonist of the story, and Elizabeth at least needs less prompting than Marianne to see things from her sister's point of view.

Okay, one more thought, which is more a comment on Austen's writing style. ;)) I'm a writer who's trying to improve my craft, so I've been paying attention to the writing, I noticed that Jane Austen does something a lot that I thought was a sort of "cardinal sin" of writing: she explicitly tells you what characters are thinking instead of showing it. :-o Obviously some amount of telling is required in a book, but she does it a lot more blatantly than I thought was "allowed". But it works far better since she also doesn't stop to describe every detail of "connective tissue" between each scene and each moment, occasionally leaving out dialogue of a conversation in progress because it's just pleasantries that the audience should be able to fill in for themselves.

I've noticed that my writing is waaaay too influenced by movies and I sometimes feel like I'm trying to describe a movie playing in my head, so reading a book that came before movies is refreshing and interesting in that regard. I've been writing my own book while reading P&P, and I've realized that the style - sometimes intentionally, sometimes not - is affecting my own writing. Sometimes I appreciate it, other times it feels like I'm trying to write like Jane Austen without any of the skill. ;))

Re: RG - Pride and Prejudice

PostPosted: Sep 20, 2018 7:04 pm
by Pattertwigs Pal
I have a lot of thoughs on P & P - 15 handwritten pages to be exact. However, I am not going to post that much right now. Instead, I'm going to post some questions I had when reading. THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR THE BOOK.

It is clear that Mr and Mrs Bennet are not very good parents. Do they really love all of their children or just their particular favorites?

Are all of the Bennet girls silly and ignorant like Mr Bennet claims?

Does Mrs Bennet have more sense than Lydia and Kitty?

Well, I still have more questions I am pondering but after spending way to long trying to figure out what I wrote, I no longer have time to post any more. :P

Re: RG - Pride and Prejudice

PostPosted: Sep 21, 2018 7:11 am
by Grandmama
Pattertwigs Pal wrote:It is clear that Mr and Mrs Bennet are not very good parents. Do they really love all of their children or just their particular favorites?

Hmmmm. . . well, you can love your children without being good parents. I can't say that I know what Jane Austen hoped to convey about whether they love all the girls or not, but Mr Bennet does go to great lengths to try to rescue Lydia. I suppose one could argue it was to save the family's reputation, but I prefer to think that he actually does care about Lydia. And he becomes protective of Kitty, which again, I prefer to think shows that he cares.

I have a more difficult time convincing myself that Mrs Bennet loves all her daughters, but she is preoccupied with getting them married.

Re: RG - Pride and Prejudice

PostPosted: Dec 10, 2018 4:34 pm
by Ryadian
I will also be posting spoilers for the book.

To the first question, I think it's very much up to interpretation, and I largely agree with Grandmama. But, I would say Mr. Bennet at least does love his daughters. He has a frequently stated low opinion of the youngest three, of course, but he also seems to think that this is just a phase of their life and once they've suitably embarrassed themselves they'll settle down and be sensible. Of course we see that his hands-off parenting technique is... not the best approach.

I have a harder time with Mrs. Bennet. Again, as Grandmama said, her goal is to marry off her daughters and provide for them, but since she so clearly plays favorites (and those favorites can change at the drop of a hat!), even moreso than Mr. Bennet, it's hard to find evidence that she does actually love all of her daughters.

It's hard to say for the youngest three daughters that they're not silly and ignorant, though part of that could be just the fact that we see so little from their perspective. I suspect that Mr. Bennet is right that they'll eventually grow out of it - and as I recall, the book even acknowledges that Kitty gets better after Lydia is no longer around to be a bad influence.

I remember reading somewhere before I started this re-read that the book seems to soften on all the characters towards the end of the book, except perhaps Lydia and Wickham. The explanation I saw for that was that Elizabeth has spent so much of the book judging everyone harshly, and by the end of the book her experiences had taught her to see her friends and family in a different light. Personally, I didn't see it, but I thought that was at least worth mentioning.

Frankly, I think Mrs. Bennet has less sense than any of her daughters, and significantly less excuse. She's a mother of 5 grown or nearly grown daughters - she should know better. Whereas Mr. Bennet just kind of ignores the warning signs about what will happen to Lydia, Mrs. Bennet encourages the problems, up to the point where it almost destroys Lydia's reputation and that of her other daughters. Even then, she finds ways to blame everyone except for Lydia and herself.