Tag Archives: Lydia Bennet

Pride and Prejudice Character Review: Mr. 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.

The first man in any woman’s life is her father, or lack thereof.  He will forever cast a shadow over her life and is the yardstick for how she will judge the men she meets throughout her lifetime. When it comes to dating and relationships, a woman’s father will play a part, even if he is in the background of her life.

In Pride and Prejudice, when compared to his wife, Mr. Bennet can be looked at as an absentee parent. The first description of Mr. Bennet is found very early in the novel:

Mr. Bennet was so odd a mixture of quick parts, sarcastic humour, reserve, and caprice, that the experience of three-and-twenty years had been insufficient to make his wife understand his character.

Mr. Bennet largely spends his time in his library, sequestered away from his wife and daughters. He openly favors Elizabeth (the second of his five daughters), mercilessly teases his wife (who gets sucked in every time) and does not step in as a father should, except when he is forced to (i.e. Lydia running away with Wickham). Unable to divorce his wife (divorce in that era was not only scandalous, but difficult), Mr. Bennet is content to sit in his library and largely ignore his family.

Compared to his wife (and her hysterics), Mr. Bennet is the emotionally absent parent. Unhappily married to a woman whom he is not compatible with, he has dealt with the hand of cards life has given him the best way he knows how to. Every time I read Pride and Prejudice I marvel that Jane and Elizabeth have not only come through to adulthood without major emotional trauma, but also that their marriages are much happier than their parent’s marriage.

To sum it up: Not all marriages are happy. In a time when divorce was nearly impossible and scandalous, those trapped in unhappy marriages found ways to cope. Mr. Bennet’s way of coping was locking himself in his library. We all have coping mechanisms to deal with the difficult areas of our lives, in giving characters coping mechanisms, we make them human and despite their flaws, we understand them. The main task of a writer to create characters that the audience can relate to. Without that connection between the characters and the audience, it is highly likely that the audience will walk away and never return.

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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: Lydia 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.

One of the standard character tropes that is seen time and again is the dimwitted teenage girl whose only thinks of two things: boys and clothes. In the world of Pride and Prejudice, this very basic character is played by Lydia Bennet.

The youngest of the Bennet girls and her mother’s favorite, Lydia is not unlike many a teenage girl. She likes dancing, flirting with the officers and basically having fun. While the accepted practice in the Regency era was that the younger daughters don’t come out in society until their older sister are married, Mr. and Mrs. Bennet have bent the rules for their children.

Spoiled by her mother and ignored by her father, Lydia nearly ruins the reputation of her family and her elder sister’s chance of marrying well when she runs away with Mr. Wickham.  But Lydia does not care that she is living with a man without the benefit of marriage and Wickham is not exactly rushing her to the altar. Lydia only becomes Mrs. Wickham when Darcy agrees to pick up the tab.

 

While on the surface Lydia is appears to be the average teenage girl, she represents so much more. In running away with Wickham, Lydia not only nearly ruins her life, she also nearly ruins the lives of her family members. In a society where reputation was everything, one rumor, whether true or not, could kill the social status of a family. Lydia is a powerful character during Jane Austen’s time as she is during our own because she only thinks of herself and does not care about the consequences of her actions, especially when her actions affect others. If the reader only takes one thing away from the character of Lydia Bennet, is the message of using your brain and thinking of the possible consequences before acting on a thought.

To sum it up: While Lydia is not a central character, she is still an important character. Sometimes the character that ends up affecting the most change in the narrative is not the main character, but a side character whose actions have an effect on the arc of the main character. Though Lydia remains static as a character, the other characters are forced to become dynamic because of her actions. Lydia is also a standard character trope that has been seen time and again. In creating a standard character who does not change, but whose actions force others to change, Jane Austen created a character who is just as important to story as Elizabeth or Darcy.

 

 

 

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Death Comes To Pemberley Part I Recap

*-This recap contains spoilers.  If you have yet to read either of the the books or watch the miniseries, read at your own risk.

Jane Austen’s most famous and beloved novel, Pride and Prejudice ends happily ever after. The union of Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy, the reader hopes, is to be a long and blessed one.

Last year, author P.D. James took her readers 6 years into the future of this couple. Mingling the characters of Pride and Prejudice with murder mystery, Death Comes To Pemberley asked viewers the following question: Who murdered Captain Denny (Tom Canton)?

Elizabeth (Anna Maxwell Martin) and Fitzwilliam Darcy (Matthew Rhys) are in the midst of wedded bliss. Life at Pemberley has become normal. Their son, also named Fitzwilliam, is a hearty, healthy and energetic boy who wants for nothing. Georgiana (Eleanor Tomlinson) is of an age to marry. The entire household is in a frenzy, as the Lady Anne Ball is approaching.  The last thing they want or need is the accusation murder on Darcy land.

Enter Colonel Fitzwilliam (Tom Ward) and Henry Alveston (James Norton). The Colonel, who is Georgiana’s c0-guardian after the death of her father, has begun to look at his young cousin differently. While the Colonel may see her in a different light, Georgiana seems to have made her choice elsewhere.

Invited to the Lady Anne Ball are Elizabeth’s parent’s, Mr. and Mrs. Bennet (James Fleet and Rebecca Front). For the sake of his wife, Darcy rolls his eyes and deals with in in laws, as many men have and will do. While Mr. Bennet characteristically retreats to his son in law’s library, his wife foolishly chatters on how wonderful Mr. Wickham (Matthew Goode) is , unaware of his true nature and his attempted seduction of Georgiana.

As a the lady of the manor, one of Elizabeth’s duties is to visit those that live and work on the land. Mr. Bidwell (Philip Martin Brown) has been a loyal servant. Elizabeth has become friendly with his wife, Mrs. Bidwell (Jennifer Hennessey), his bed ridden son, Will (Lewis Rainer) and his daughter, Louisa (Nichola Burley). Louisa has just returned from visiting her sister with a child she is caring for that she has claimed is her sister’s. But there is something about the child that does not add up.

In the village near Pemberley, an argument ensues between Captain Denny and Mr. Wickham. It continues in the carriage on the ride to Pemberley. That is, until Captain Denny orders the coachman to stop and runs out in the forest. Wickham goes after him, shots are fired and Lydia’s (Jenna Coleman) screams are heard as the carriage stops in front of Pemberley. Captain Denny is found dead and Wickham is suspected of being the murderer.

Strangely, despite their strained relationship, Darcy seems to understand that Wickham is not guilty. He remembers a boy who was hanged for poaching and how they witnessed it, despite being told to stay away. Add in the mystery of a spirit haunting the woods and an unknown woman with whom Colonel Fitzwilliam was seen in conversation with about a subject that is yet to be revealed.

I read the book and saw the miniseries when it was online briefly last year. I won’t reveal anything else, but I will let you, gentle reader learn the truth on Sunday.

 

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