As you all know, Pride and Prejudice is the popular Jane Austen novel which follows the life of the Bennet family as they navigate the manners, houses and halls of 19th-century English aristocracy. What you might not know is that, with its focus on the Bennet’s five daughters as most (but not all) of them get married off, there must be great romance advice in the book!
For my book report, I have researched four romance takeaways from the novel. Pretty soon, I’ll be the biggest stud in all of grade 9 – on top of being Chess Club President and winner of the Perfect Attendance Award! Ooh, baby…
(Note to my teacher: this fresh angle should get me a higher grade, don’t you think?)
1. All women need a husband
The first line of the novel says: ‘It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife’. However, the focus of the book is on the women finding themselves a big hunk: from Lydia landing the classic bad boy Wickham, to Charlotte Lucas shacking up with cringey social-climber Collins – showing even unlikeable nerds can find their soulmate!
This leads me to conclude that the opening line is to fool you into making the first move, because the entire book is about the Bennet sisters finding husbands. (Let the ladies come to you, Hayden, you honour roll Casanova, you!) If Wickham’s deceit or Collins’ bothersome nature teach us anything, it’s that the ladies will be willing to look past trifling matters like getting nosebleeds in gym class or wetting yourself during the aquarium trip in 6th grade.
I asked my grandma if it’s true that all women need a husband, and she said it is, but then my mother and sister got angry and started arguing with me. My mom said a husband’s the last thing a woman needs, and my sister said we’re all being way too heteronormative. So I asked my dad as well, and he said not to bother him while he’s re-watching his Columbo DVDs. I think it’s true.
2. Dancing is the best way to court a girl
There are several ways to court someone in Pride and Prejudice, so let’s see which ones might work best for, for example, a studly grade 9 student with the complete Guardians of the Galaxy Funko Pop collection:
Mr. Collins also won over Charlotte by having an estate entailed to him, which would be harder to achieve nowadays given staggering income inequality and the hoarding of wealth. (I did my grade 4 book report on Thomas Piketty and my teacher thought I was making fun of him and sent me home – worst! teacher! ever!)
Mr. Bingley and Jane connected on loving the outdoors over reading books, but that doesn’t seem enough nowadays: sure, you can post 300 selfies during your nature walk, but that only gets you so far. George Wickham was a charming rake, but in the end he’s reckless with his money: in my opinion, he’s the character in Pride and Prejudice most likely to have bought Bitcoin at ATH, which is not recommended in a partner.
Mr. Darcy tries reading poetry, but Elizabeth said that it isn’t effective. (Imagine me reading Rupi Kaur to my dearest?! Yeah, right! If you’re trying to woo someone, obviously you should read them something from Urusul Le Guin or Liu Cixin, but some philistines disagree so let’s move on.)
Instead, what Pride and Prejudice shows us is it’s better to dance with your sweetheart – even if one’s partner is only tolerable, as Elizabeth herself says! “Tolerable” is my middle name!
I asked Louisa Zhang to dance during the Spring Formal and she did like it, until I started stepping on her toes and she started crying. Still, it’s the best I’ve done so far. (Note to self: search “how to dance” on YouTube and see if Louisa Zhang has a date for the Fall Formal…)
3. Whether you get married immediately or later, the chance of happiness is the same
Charlotte is the most practical character in Pride and Prejudice, and her advice to Elizabeth on Jane and Bingley is that it doesn’t matter when you marry a person because the odds of whether you would be happy with them is the same.
My mum said that it is not true, because once you get to know someone, you find out they’re actually much more interested in sitting around in sweatpants, eating chips and farting than when you first started dating. (Dad agreed that those are his favourite things. But what this shows us about how to become the swingingest bachelor in the whole high-school, despite your nickname of “Pee-Pee” Leung, I’m not sure…)
4. It’s normal that girls say no to the first proposal, they are shy
These wise words are from Mr. Collins after Elizabeth rejected his proposal. (I feel ya, Collins, reminds me of my experience asking all the girls in my class to the opening night of Avengers: Endgame.)
Dad said he had to propose to mum six times before she said yes, and that was only after the handsome man she was in love with got engaged to a wealthy canning heiress he met at university, leaving her all out of better options. So, as you can see, it all worked out in the end – just like Mr. Collins knew it would.
(As for me, my plan is that eventually Louisa Zhang will finally get desperate enough to give me another dance!)
- 21 lessons by 21st Century,
- Kingdom (k drama)