Tag Archives: Fitzwilliam Darcy

Pride And Prejudice Character Review: George Wickham

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about Pride and Prejudice. Read at your own risk if you are unfamiliar with the book.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Pride and Prejudice to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

There much to be said about someone with an easy charm, a warm smile and an outgoing demeanor.  Most people would say that this person is a likable person whom they might want to spend more time with. Jane Austen was convinced that these people are not what they seem to be and should not be trusted.

As a writer, Jane Austen was known for her bad boys. Her most famous bad boy is George Wickham. Mr. Wickham is introduced to the reader in Pride and Prejudice early on in the book. Wearing an easy smile and looking good in his military uniform, Mr. Wickham catches the eye of the Bennet sisters. Elizabeth is still burning after Darcy’s diss and is all too eager to learn how Darcy ruined Wickham’s life.

If there is one thing George Wickham knows how to do well, it is to tell a sob story where he is the victim.

But looks are deceiving….

 

In the end, Wickham is revealed to be a ruthless cad who nearly married Georgiana Darcy  (who was 15 at the time) for her fortune and is paid to marry Lydia Bennet (who is the same age as Georgiana) after she runs away with him.

From a writing perspective, especially writing romance, Jane Austen knew what she was doing.  Each her books contain a similar narrative: a young woman of marriageable age who has the potential to marry one of two men: one of the men appears to put all of their cards on the table, the other keeps his cards to himself, at least in the beginning of the novel. Highly suspicious of people with just a little too much charm, Austen created her bad boys with a warning label: they may have a warm smile and an easy demeanor, but in the end, it will not end well.

To sum it up: Appearances can be deceiving. Jane Austen knew this all too well. In creating Mr. Wickham, she created a character that would not only deceive the audience, but also the other characters. Similar to a magician’s sleight of hand, while the reader (and Elizabeth by extension) was falling for Mr. Wickham’s charming smile and relaxing manner, they were not questioning if the stories he was telling matched reality. When the rug is pulled up and Mr. Wickham’s true nature is revealed, it is a shock that has sent jaws dropping to the floor for more than 200 years. That is the genius of Jane Austen and that is one of the reasons why readers keep going back to Pride and Prejudice again and again.

 

 

 

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Pride And Prejudice Character Review: Charles Bingley

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about Pride and Prejudice. Read at your own risk if you are unfamiliar with the book.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Pride and Prejudice to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

There is always something fascinating about the new boy or girl in town.  The aura of their newness and mystery brings out the detective in everyone, eager to find out the details on their new neighbor.

In Pride and Prejudice, the book really gets going when the rumors in Meryton start to fly about the newest member of the community, Charles Bingley.  He is young, handsome and rich, as Mrs. Bennet crows in delight to her husband.

  “What is his name?”

“Bingley.”

“Is he married or single?”

“Oh! single, my dear, to be sure! A single man of large fortune; four or five thousand a year. What a fine thing for our girls!”

The readers and the characters are fully introduced to Mr. Bingley at a local ball. Bingley is amiable, friendly and quickly develops feelings for Jane Bennet, the eldest of the five Bennet daughters. The feelings are mutual, but his best friend, Fitzwilliam Darcy and his sisters, Caroline and Louisa would prefer that Bingley look elsewhere for a wife. Though Bingley is smitten with Jane, he is convinced to break off the relationship even before it has begun.

The end of the book is not unexpected. While Jane is silently pining for Bingley, he is regretting that not only did he walk away from her, but that he let others make his decision for him. He returns to Meryton (with Mr. Darcy in tow, whom he will soon call brother-in-law), proposes to Jane and they all live happily ever after.

Often, when Pride and Prejudice is referred to, most people outside of the Janeite (the nickname for Jane Austen fans) community think of Mr. Darcy. But while Darcy gets the attention, Bingley quietly slips into the background. While he is not the romantic hero and needs to grow a pair, he is amiable, friendly and unlike his best friend, not judgmental or snobbish. Despite his second nature story line, Bingley’s character arc and growth throughout the novel is equal to Darcy.

To sum it up: Sometimes the quieter character growth is more important than the bombastic one. In learning to stand up for himself and his needs, Mr. Bingley grows from a young man who loses himself in other’s opinions to a man who is not afraid to speak up when someone else is trying to make his decisions for him.  Character growth, in whatever direction it takes, is the most important job of a writer, regardless of whether the character is in your face, or waiting in the wings for it’s moment to shine.

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Pride And Prejudice Character Review: Jane Bennet

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about Pride and Prejudice. Read at your own risk if you are unfamiliar with the book.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Pride and Prejudice to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

We all have that nice friend or family member on our life. The one who always sees the glass half full. The one who sees the good in others, despite their flaws. In Pride and Prejudice, that role is played by Jane Bennet, the eldest of the Bennet sisters.

The sugar to Elizabeth’s spice, Jane is soft-spoken, docile, amiable and considered to be the beauty of the family. When she meets Charles Bingley, the new guy in town, the crush between them is mutual. But his sisters and his best friend, Fitzwilliam Darcy aren’t exactly keen on the idea of a potential marriage between Mr. Bingley and the eldest Miss Bennet.  They conspire to separate the potential lovers in hopes of steering Mr. Bingley towards a more “appropriate” match.

In the end, Jane does marry Mr. Bingley, but not before he gets a backbone and she waits quietly for him to return.

Not everyone can be an Elizabeth. In creating the antithesis to her younger sister, Austen allowed Jane to shine in her own way. She might not have the bite or the sarcasm of Elizabeth, but Jane has qualities that Elizabeth lacks and visa versa. Where Elizabeth is quick to judge, Jane is willing to give someone a chance before making up her mind. The Hero to Elizabeth’s Beatrice, Jane stands out from her sister because of their differences.

To sum it up: No two characters should be exactly alike. In creating two different characters with different voices, beliefs and different points of view (especially in the same family) the writer enables each character to speak with their own voice and stand out from the rest of the characters. When each individual voice shines through, this engages the reader and gives them another character to potentially hook into and follow throughout the narrative.

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Pride and Prejudice Character Review: Fitzwilliam Darcy

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about Pride and Prejudice. Read at your own risk if you are unfamiliar with the book.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Pride and Prejudice to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

From a very early age, most girls are indoctrinated with the idea of Prince Charming. At a certain point in her life, a woman will meet her Prince Charming who will sweep her off her feet and they will happily ever after for their rest of their days.

In Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen took this one note, predictable character and made him not only human, but an assh*le.

The reader meets Fitzwilliam Darcy when his best friend, Charles Bingley moves into the neighborhood and immediately becomes the new guy that everyone wants to hang out with. Open, friendly and amiable (and also financially secure), Mr. Bingley becomes the target of many a single women and her match making mama. When the locals find out that Mr. Darcy, in addition to his physical charms, is twice as wealthy as his friend, all attention soon draws away from Mr. Bingley.  But the lure of a handsome face and a large fortune do not last. Darcy’s charms quickly fade when he is discovered to be rude and arrogant.

(“Which do you mean?” and turning round, he looked for a moment at Elizabeth, till catching her eye, he withdrew his own and coldly said, “She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me; and I am in no humour at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men. You had better return to your partner and enjoy her smiles, for you are wasting your time with me.” Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 3 Volume 1).

While the reader is slowly clued into the fact that over the course of the first half of the book that Darcy is beginning to fall for Elizabeth, Elizabeth is completely in the dark. The first half of the book ends with the worst marriage proposal in the history of marriage proposals.

After Darcy is properly rebuffed (and takes a beating to his ego in the process), he is revealed to be a man who is uncomfortable in large social situations and prefers the company of those closest to him. His charms are not his wealth and his handsome face, but his loyalty, his honor and the commitment to those who rely on him. Those are the traits both Elizabeth and the audience with and have stayed in love with for over 200 years.

To sum it up: Fitzwilliam Darcy has been a favorite of many a reader for the last two centuries because he goes beyond the standard Prince Charming stereotype. He is handsome and wealthy, but also generous, honorable, loyal and gives his heart completely to those who he cares about. In creating a leading romantic male role that feels real and human, Jane Austen setup a prototype of how to create romantic male leads that will keep the audience coming back for more.

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Pride and Prejudice Character Review: Elizabeth Bennet

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about Pride and Prejudice. Read at your own risk if you are unfamiliar with the book.

*A note before going forward-Unfortunately, life has gotten in the way of my usual scheduled character reviews. Thank you to those who have been reading for your patience. I decided to end my character reviews with the human characters from Star Wars and not write about the non human characters. It’s time to start on a new series of characters.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Pride and Prejudice to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

The romantic heroine has been around since the dawn of story telling. Her story, with a variety of twists and turns (depending on the writer and the heroine) usually ends with the traditional happy ending.  When she published Pride and Prejudice and introduced the world to Elizabeth Bennet, Jane Austen took the traditional romantic heroine and spun her in a completely new direction.

Elizabeth Bennet is the second of the five daughters of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet. Her father’s favorite and emotional mini-me, Elizabeth is smart, sarcastic and has a sharp tongue. Because she is without any brothers (and living in a world that seriously undervalues women), the family estate will go to a distant cousin, Mr. Collins, upon her father’s death. She also has a small dowry, which means that she must marry and marry well. In that world, marrying well-meant that marriage was more about income and status than affection and mutual interests.

When she meets Fitzwilliam Darcy, a friend of the Bennet’s new neighbor, Charles Bingley, she think he is a rich snob who is full of himself. Though I doubt anyone could blame her (“Which do you mean?” and turning round, he looked for a moment at Elizabeth, till catching her eye, he withdrew his own and coldly said, “She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me; and I am in no humour at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men. You had better return to your partner and enjoy her smiles, for you are wasting your time with me.” Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 3 Volume 1).

Over the course of the book, Elizabeth will turn down a marriage proposal from the gag inducing Mr. Collins, be temporarily taken in by the charming smile of Mr. Wickham, and finally see Mr. Darcy for the good man he truly is. But first she needs kiss the frogs (Collins and Wickham) before she meets the prince (Darcy) and learn that first impressions may not always been correct.

Though Elizabeth Bennet was created over 200 years ago, she is a modern heroine.  She is a smart, spunky, nonconformist who is not willing to sell herself in the name of marriage just to keep a roof over her head.  Though she lived in a time with a very rigid class structure, Elizabeth is not the type of heroine who will unquestioningly give in to the demands of the upper class simply due to the mere differences of income and title. While she experiences some emotional bumps and bruises, Elizabeth is her own woman and is not willing to compromise who she is just to fit into the mold that women of her era blindly fit into.

To sum it: A romantic heroine does not have to be the fainting “rescue me” damsel in distress type. She can be her own woman and still get the guy (or girl, if one is so inclined) at the end of the story. Women still relate to Elizabeth Bennet  because she speaks truth to power to readers today as much as she did in the 19th century.  By creating characters that are human, modern and stand the test of time, the writer is sure to hook a reader or an audience member and keep them coming back for me.

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Happy Birthday, Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice is 204 today.

Jane Austen‘s most well known novel may seem on the outside like the standard romance novel, but it is so much more.

Yes, the basic plot line is the will they or won’t they question regarding the potential match of Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy. But Jane Austen was a very smart woman. She knew that her novel had to be much more than the standard love story. An astute observer of her world, Pride and Prejudice and all of her novels are both a road map to the Georgian era and a testament to the folly and joy of humanity.

There are meddling parents, marriages for marriage sake, teenage girls with nothing but clothes and boys on the brain and so much more.

Anyone who knows me or had read this blog knows that Pride and Prejudice is one of my all time favorite books and Jane Austen is one of my all time favorite writers. This book is a revelation. It’s no wonder that it has not only been adapted time and again, but it’s plot and characters copied by other writers for other stories.

Jane Austen was a certifiable genius and her book, Pride and Prejudice will last for eternity as one of the classics for the ages.

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Pride, Prejudice and Cheese Grits Book Review

Pride and Prejudice is a beloved and well read classic for a reason. Since it arrived in bookstores and libraries in 1813, many writers have tried to replicate the magic that gives Pride and Prejudice it’s standing. While many have tried, only a few have hit the mark.

In 2014, writer Mary Jane Hathaway threw her hat in the Austen-reboot sub-genre. One of the results is Pride, Prejudice and Cheese Grits, a modern adaptation of Pride and Prejudice set in the modern-day American South. Shelby Roswell is a history professor teaching at a small Southern college, her expertise is The Civil War. Recently publishing a book on the subject, she hopes that this book will lead to being tenured. That tenure is quickly derailed by Ransom Fielding, a historian whose review of Shelby’s book is far from complementary. Adding insult to injury, Ransom has agreed to take on the role of a visiting professor at the same college. After loosing his wife 6 years ago, he has buried his head in the sand when it comes to life and love. Then he meets Shelby and the sparks begin to fly.

Anyone who knows me or follows this blog knows that Pride and Prejudice is one of my all time favorite books. Jane Austen was a master in the art of writing. Some writers are fortunate enough to be able to reproduce her works successfully. While I enjoyed Ms. Hathaway’s modern take on Persuasion, I can’t say the same about her take on Pride and Prejudice. For a reader or an audience to be invested in a romance, they have to see the potential in the coupling of the lead characters, even if at some point in the narrative, the lead characters are not sure themselves. While the romance between Shelby and Ransom was on the page, as a reader I did not feel it.

Do I recommend it? Not really.

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Bridget Jones’s Baby Movie Review

Bridget Jones is the iconic single woman. She first appeared in 1995 in a newspaper column and then a book written by Helen Fielding. In 2001, movie audiences were introduced to the film version of Bridget in Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001).

Fifteen years later, Bridget (Renee Zellweger) has returned to the screen in Bridget Jones’s Baby. The film starts on the eve of Bridget’s 43rd birthday. Her friends have all abandoned the single life for the traditional life of marriage and children. Encouraged by a colleague to spend the weekend at a music festival, Bridget has a one night stand Jack (Patrick Dempsey), an American whose dating website has become very successful. A week later, she hooks up with her ex, Mark (Colin Firth) at the christening of a child of a mutual friend. Bridget soon finds herself pregnant, but the question is, who is the father?

In setting the film years after the last film ended, the production team seamlessly found a way to create a new narrative while keeping the narrative and the characters that drew audiences in from the beginning. Bridget is an every-woman, her life reflects the lives of many of the women in the audience. While our careers and our social lives are successful, there is a small part of us that yearns for a partner to share it with.

I recommend it.

Bridget Jones’s Baby is currently in theaters.

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Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Movie Review

Pride and Prejudice is one of those books. Everyone knows something about the book and the characters, regardless of whether or not they have actually read the novel.

In 2009, Seth Grahame-Smith released Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, a mashup of the 19th century novel  and the horror genre.

This weekend, the film version of the book was released in theaters. This time around, Lily James and Sam Riley play the iconic would be lovers, Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy (now Colonel Darcy). Backing up Lizzy and Darcy is Bella Heathcote (Jane Bennet), Douglas Booth (Mr. Bingley), Matt Smith (Mr. Collins) and Lena Headey (Lady Catherine de Bourgh). Instead of the traditional Pride and Prejudice re-telling, zombies have invaded England and the Bennet sisters must do their part to destroy the unmentionables.

Anyone who knows me knows that Pride and Prejudice ranks as one of my all time favorite books. Like many Janeites, I did buy Pride and Prejudice and Zombies when the novel hit the stores in 2009. I found the book to be a non traditional re-telling of Pride and Prejudice that I enjoyed at the time. Like many film adaptations of novels, certain scenes or characters are cut for any number of reasons. Austen fans who cling to the cannon might not like the movie, but I enjoyed it.

Elizabeth Bennet was always a badass in my mind, she just needed the martial arts training to become that badass. It was refreshing to see women on-screen who can defend themselves and not wait to be rescued. My favorite scenes in the movie were scenes with Mr. Collins. While Mr. Collins  has always been a cringe worthy character, Matt Smith made him buffoon like and very funny.

In a brief nod to the 1995 Pride and Prejudice, there is a Darcy diving into the lake wearing nothing more than a white shirt and underpants scene. Anglophiles and Downton Abbey fans, if your on the hunt for other Downton Abbey actors, there is another actor who had a brief role, especially during series 5. His character was unlikable and was one of the reasons for the broken engagement of one the older female characters. Who that actor is and what role he played, you will have to watch the movie.

I also recommend to stay past the initial closing credits. There is a brief scene that asks the question if we will see a sequel in the next few years.

I am the first to admit that I do not see horror movies,  but I found this movie enjoyable and entertaining.

Do I recommend it? Of course.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is presently in theaters. 

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Happy Birthday, Pride and Prejudice

Yesterday, January 28th, was the 203 anniversary of the initial publishing of Pride and Prejudice.

For the uninitiated, Pride and Prejudice is the story of rocky courtship between Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy.

To celebrate the book’s 203 birthday, I think it’s time for a poll. Pride and Prejudice has so many incredible lines to choose from. Courtesy of Flavorwire, I ask you, my fellow Janeites and bibliophiles, to vote on their favorite lines. And if you know what character or characters are speaking, then you get major brownie points.

Happy Birthday, Pride and Prejudice.

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