Saturday, 24 October 2009

Elizabeth Bennet's Endearing Qualities, and Pride and Prejudice question 23

Well, there was no disagreement about Elizabeth being a very likeable heroine!

I would have been shocked if there had been. Among her positive qualities people named her affection towards her sister (Laura's Reviews), her determination and ability to stand up to society and marry for love (Meredith), her lack of self-consciousness (Tracygrrrl) and her ability to laugh at her mistakes and move on (Elizabeth B).


Can you think of other qualities which make Elizabeth so endearing? You can add to the answers any time.



Well, it's raining here in South London. You may think that's the norm here, but in fact it always seems to take us by surprise. People turn very surly on rainy days. It's not at all like when I lived in Oregon, where there would be long stretches when you didn't see the sun at all. Over there, you get used to the on-off drizzle, and of course you have all the jokes about moss growing between your toes, and about recognizing people who weren't from Oregon by the fact that they bother with umbrellas.


In London rain seems to be an insult. People are at their worst when it rains. It's certainly a conversation starter. For while the myth of rainy London doesn't seem hold (but perhaps I have a skewed view of things, having lived in the American Northwest for three years), the legendry conversation about the weather typical of the English definitely does. But this is because the weather shifts and changes constantly. It's very unpredictability leads to good conversations. If it rained constantly, there wouldn't be much to say, would there?

It's time for the question of the day, which hopefully is an easy one for the weekend.

Pride and Prejudice Question 24

What makes Mr Darcy a hero? (If you wish, you can compare him to other heroes of 19th century novels)

5 comments:

  1. Mr. Darcy has many heroic qualities. I think what makes him a hero in my eyes is how much he cares for his family and friends, and also how is always willing to do what is right. He may be reserved around people he has just met, but he is willing to do anything to help his friends, even if it is telling them to stay away from the wrong woman.

    His most heroic action is rescuing Lydia and the reputation of the Bennet family. More heroic in an understated way is his ability to tell Elizabeth that he was wrong about many things through his letters, actions, and conversations.

    Although he is not as dangerous as Mr. Rochester, or Heathcliff, he is a much nicer man. Would you really want to be married to Heathcliff. No!!

    http://shelf-life.ew.com/2009/10/19/whos-the-most-romantic-character-in-literature/

    Have you seen this U.K. poll that ranks Mr. Darcy number three as a romantic hero after Mr. Rochester and some guy I've never heard of? What!! Mr. Rochester has a mad wife in the attic! I love Jane Eyre, but is Mr. Rochester is not nearly as heroic as Mr. Darcy. He is more of a anti-hero.

    ReplyDelete
  2. How heroic he was, coming to Lydia's rescue?! True, his motives may have been mixed, but at least he made the effort. He also seems to be a doting big brother and cares so much for his sister.

    Heroes are also enjoyed when they make a personal journey from un-heroic to the opposite. When we meet Darcy he seems to be a stuffy snob, and by the end he's grown a bit. This makes for the best heroes, I think. Reluctant heroes are the ones we can relate to the most.

    ReplyDelete
  3. He rescued Lydia (or made Wickham marry Lydia, I don't think that Lydia really understood what is going to happen to her after the marriage), he saved his own sister from Wickham. He seems like a affectionate friend to Mr Bingley.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm not entirely clear what you mean by hero, so I'll just go over everything:

    (1) He's the driving impulse of the plot. Not everything happens because of him, but very nearly - he's the Marianne of P&P.

    (2) The entire book is spent either observing and evaluating him, or moving the plot along so that we can get back to it. This makes him a protagonist, and since he's a good guy, a hero.

    (3) When evidence comes along that doesn't support his original conclusions, he's willing to re-evaluate. It might be whether Elizabeth is interesting or not - or his entire concept of himself.

    (4) He's befriended - mentored, really - the son of a tradesman and, snobbish as he is, still thinks he's good enough for his precious baby sister. (He takes an unholy pleasure in needling Bingley's sister, of course, but still, it's pretty significant.)

    (5) He refuses to encourage the affections of a woman he doesn't intend to marry.

    (6) He tries to convince Lydia that she's better off single and disgraced than unhappily married. People today have trouble wrapping their brains around that one, and this is an eighteenth-century man up to his ears in privilege.

    (7) He correlates intelligence and beauty. I still don't know how, but it's awesome.

    (8) There's nothing he wouldn't do for the people he cares about. But he's not smothering, either - his sister effectively has her own apartment. He doesn't even issue edicts, just persuades people.

    (9) He talks to Elizabeth like an equal, whether he agrees with her or not - about philosophy and human nature, not purses or what have you. And given some of his more incisive remarks, he understands her very well. (Not, unfortunately, her feelings...)

    (10) "God bless you." 'Nuff said.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Darcy is a hero because he is basically good. He is flawed, but willing to change when shown the error of his ways. He is loyal to friends and family and makes amends to those he has wronged -- without seeking public acknowledgement of his deeds.

    ReplyDelete