Last night I went with a group of ladies to see a stage-adapted production of one of my all time favorite novels, "Pride and Prejudice." I have always loved Jane Austen even before I discovered her. Let me explain. As a little girl I would dream of the one who would sweep into my life unexpectedly making me fall in love with him and all of the wrongs of this world would be brought to rights. Every Austen novel I can think of follows this pattern and I love them all. Her heroines encompass every girl. You don't have to be the prettiest, the richest, the smartest, etc. to find love and therefore a happy ending.
What really struck me last night was that there were so many different backgrounds and personality types represented in our little group, yet every woman there seemed to float out of the theater. On the stage we saw a young woman who despite her present circumstances and the society which would try to stifle her unique personality and label her by her station in life, found a soul mate in the most unlikely of partners. We walked out recognizing ourselves in some facet of Elizabeth Bennett.
And Mr. Darcy! I have never found a Mr. Darcy that I liked from the beginning of the story. He is slightly unattractive and arrogant. But over the course of the telling he metamorphosized. He becomes vulnerable and likeable and therefore attractive. I never cease to be amazed at the transformation in his character and appearance.
Here is the bottom line for me though. Headstrong girl falls in love with arrogant albeit wealthy man and we cheer for their happiness. We close the chapter on their story and walk away. Young and old girls want that, they want their own Mr. Darcy. The man who transforms before their eyes and loves them for who they really are. But the story doesn't end there.
I think if we could reopen the book and glimpse into the Darcy's lives we could see that they are not that different from us. Those things that drew them to each other can push them apart as well. That lively banter can quickly escalate into full fledged war. You thought the in laws were a little outspoken! They may not have money troubles but what if Fitzwilliam doesn't want to host a ball and Lizzie does. Don't even get me started on the children and what they do to Lizzie's nerves or her waist line.
Life is just that, life. Its what you make of it. Perception can be your downfall or your saving grace. Choose to look at the heart of things, not their appearances. Hold out for those things worth fighting for.