Pride and Prejudice
“I could easily forgive his pride, if he had not mortified mine.“
I think there are some fictional heroines that will never truly lose their popularity, and Elizabeth Bennet is one of them. Countless generations of women have, at one stage of their lives, whether it’s fleeting or not, have daydreamed about being her, and admired her moral certainty.
Austen created a flawed and believable heroine, that readers want to succeed, and achieve the seemingly impossible task of marrying Mr Darcy. She never paints Elizabeth as being perfect, giving the heroine such traits as being a frequent walker, liking to read a good deal, and a quick wit allied with a strong observational ability, as well as being blinded by dislike when someone insults her.
Elizabeth’s very human, and relatable despite the fact that the way of life that Austen was used to, and wrote about in all six of her finished novels, has long since vanished. I mean it’s a rare person that has never taken against someone because they have hurt your pride, or been swayed by a attractive face or demeanour to believe that people have good intentions.
Knowing some of Austen’s own background, it’s evident that at least some of Elizabeth’s characteristics, and situation in life was based on Austen’s own. Austen was involved in a relationship with a young Irish man Tom LeFroy during the year that Pride and Prejudice was initially written, and it has been suggested by various people that there is a possibility that some of LeFroy’s characteristics might have been used in the creation of Mr Darcy.
Also Austen’s closeness with her sister Cassandra, is reflected in the closeness between Elizabeth and her elder sister Jane. I think that Austen’s own keen observational eye, and the wry intelligence that flows through all her novels, are just two of her own traits that she passed onto Elizabeth.
I admire Elizabeth because of her swift wit, and the moral certainty, but I know that I don’t possess the same qualities, and so the Bennet sister I relate to more personally is Mary.