Pride, Prejudice and Curiosity

A scene with Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy after a ...
A scene with Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy after a swim in a lake is recognized as “one of the most unforgettable moments in British TV history”. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The words “Pride” and “Prejudice”, especially when joined with a non-contrasting conjunction are to a certain gender what, reportedly, catnip is to a feline. Some of those, personally known to me, have watched Colin Firth‘s D’Arcy in a wet t-shirt scene a few thousand times. Of course, people of all genders are simply fond of Jane Austen and count the story of Fitz and Liz as a great love story.
Neither I, nor my Beloved Bangalan, count ourselves amongst them. We believe, She and I, that the story is a good story, well written and presents attitudes, morals, scruples and social pressures ably.
The question here is one of Curiosity. How curious are the fans to learn more about Austen, her life, the times she lived in? How many take the time to go beyond a soppy love story to explore the social mores Austen wants us to think about? I would venture to say that for a slice of the population an expression of appreciation for Pride and Prejudice is simply a social affectation, an expectation, a conformist attitude. There are many who do like Austen for her skill at developing a story, her handling of her characters and many who have dissected the works in a scholarly manner. I belong to neither group.
Steeped in literature from Victorian and pre-Victorian days through school, I now, in ripe middle age, classify those stories in very simple terms, for I am very simple-minded.

  1. Snobby girl meets disdainful man. They clash and then they marry.
  2. Poor girl, with no dowry, meets generous, gentle and rich man. Despite initial reservations about the class differences they marry.
  3. Poor girl meets a cad and bounder. She has an affair, is ruined socially and dies a miserable death as an outcast.
  4. Confused girl does not realize the quiet and gentle love of the guy hanging around her, is smitten by dashing young man, is jilted and then marries the gentle giant.
  5. Middle class family is driven to the brink of ruin, then secret benefactor steps in to save the day.

Some of the main characters:

  1. Snobby girl
  2. Silly, frivolous girl
  3. Disdainful, usually rich, man
  4. Muddleheaded, middle class dad and poor businessman
  5. Socially aware rich, upper class gentleman
  6. Socially grasping mother ( and sometimes father )
  7. Oily, unscrupulous man with money to offer #4 above, for a price…
  8. Flashy, glamorous, handsome man, usually an army officer
  9. Gentle, quiet man of the soil, who gazes after #1 in adoring and despairing silence. ( He wins her in the end, after her affair with #8 has fizzled out because
  10. Poor, pregnant Fanny (they’re almost always Fanny) turns up to claim #8 as her morally wedded husband.
  11. Evil aunts
  12. Misguided uncles
  13. Weird old women living a weird lifestyle

You get the picture, I hope. I have been curious. My curiosity hasn’t killed any cats, yet, more’s the pity. It makes me wonder, is my aversion to cats a cause or effect of my curiosity? Can cats sense my curiosity and naturally, not wanting to lose one of the nine, make it a point to be antagonistic towards me?
The trigger for this rambly post is the fact that I see so many visitors who come to the blog, read one post and never look beyond to see what else there may be. This is especially curious when they take the time to like or comment on the post they just read. Being a naturally curious person, when I go visiting, if I like a post, I naturally stay on and check out what else there is. I mean, come on, if you enter a shoe shop because you liked something in the window, do you leave without annoyingly trying out 85 pairs? You know that’s true…
I remain,
Curiously yours,
Forever Mystified.

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  1. chsuresh63

    Baazi cheez pasand nahi hai Bhai 🙂 Try offering up one of your old posts on Social media. No matter how timeless it be, it shall be ignored like a eight day’s old rat corpse 🙂

    1. TheLastWord

      Well, the challenge is to write a timeless piece first. Then we can put it to the test. 🙂

      1. chsuresh63

        Just so I let you know what I meant by a timeless piece – it is NOT necessarily something that has such great literary merit that it transcends time. I only meant a piece that is not relevant to only the specific date it was written – like a satirical piece about Manmohan Singh’s prime ministerial self – but something that COULD have been written today and not appear dated SO – rest assured that I do not have any illusions about the literary merit of what I write. 🙂

        1. TheLastWord

          oh yeah – I got that. Actually, I struggled with the Hindi a bit. I think the “z” in “baazi”, which means trick, instead of an “s” in “baasi”, meaning stale.
          Anyway, I did cotton on. And I agree with you. But you see I hardly ever write political or situational pieces.
          More than that, though is the fact that, people don’t have the curiosity to even scan through. It’s all in and out – bang!
          I suppose I’m a dinosaur and not really in tune with the Twitter thing of immediacy, and brevity…. see this reply, for instance. 🙁

  2. Janice Wald

    I agree. I’m actually trying to do that now!

    1. TheLastWord

      You’re in a shoe store, trying on 85 pairs? 🙂
      I should give up trying to figure it out, but my head likes to solve things..

  3. ladyofthecakes

    This post’ll certainly get tons of traffic till kingdom come, what with having Mr Darcy in it an’ all.
    Not that I ever “got” Mr Darcy. The dark brooding types exasperate me. And not in a good way 😉

    1. TheLastWord

      My wife doesn’t either. Austen’s books to me, now, are much of a muchness.
      I’m not holding my breath on the traffic. If they do come they’ll not stay to comment, especially given my analyses of VicLit. 🙂

  4. mindfulmagpie

    Good points. We bloggers are offering a world which readers can enter, just as Jane Austen did. How do we make our worlds real enough for readers to enter? After all, if Jane Austen could do it, we can!

    1. TheLastWord

      Austen’s popularity amongst modern readers now, I suspect, has a lot to do with the conformist pop culture we live in. Also, Firth in a wet shirt.
      I cannot believe that some if these people have actually read the book, given the way they speak and write.