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Book Review: Pride and Prejudice

Kaley Vestal, Contributing Writer

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I know that to most of you, Pride and Prejudice is just another old book that you’ve been forced to read in English class, and you would rather be doing pages of math problems than read a simple book. However, if you actually want to take the time and enjoy this wonderful work of art, you will find it worth your time.
Pride and Prejudice takes place in England during 1813, a time much different from now. Women still had very few rights, and unless they were married, they could not own land. In this story, there are five girls from a middle-class family, and they all need to get married to wealthy men in order to keep their estate in the family after their father passes away.
Mrs. Bennet is the mother of the five girls, and she is dead-set on marrying them well above their social status. Jane, the eldest daughter, is the quiet and beautiful sister. According to social standards of the time period, she has to be married first before any of the others can follow in her steps. Elizabeth, often referred to as Lizzie, is a feminist before feminism existed. She is well read, and beautiful as well, though not as much as her older sister. Lizzie often has trouble holding her tongue, causing her mother to cry about her bad nerves. Mary, Lydia, and Kitty are the three younger sisters. Mary is extremely serious and boring; in contrast, Lydia and Kitty are the silliest of the girls, and often make the family look absurd with their antics and love of boys.
Elizabeth is the protagonist of the story, and she finds her mother’s frantic effort to marry off her daughters ridiculous. Jane is her closest sister, both in age and in friendship, and they confide in one another more than with any of the other girls. These two girls share an inseparable bond and it shows throughout the whole story.
When the story begins, a wealthy young man named Mr. Bingley is moving to the Bennet’s town. This sends Mrs. Bennet on a mission to marry off Jane to Mr. Bingley. While at a town ball with the family, Jane immediately is picked out by Mr. Bingley and they dance twice, which causes much gossip around the room, especially by Mr. Bingley’s friend, Mr. Darcy. Elizabeth overhears a conversation with Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy speaking about the two oldest Bennet sisters. Darcy calls her “barely tolerable.” This offends Elizabeth and she vows to forever hate him.
As many other Jane Austen novels, the title plays a role in the plot, and you learn which character is prideful, and which has prejudice against the other. This novel is a beautiful story that has left its mark on the world. There have been several television adaptions based off the book, and two movie adaptions. The 2005 film staring Kiera Knightly stays true to the book, and has wonderful scenery. If reading is not your thing, then I highly suggest you watch the movie.
I highly recommend this novel to high schoolers in any grade. The book is hard to read if you are not familiar with the style it is written, and the vast vocabulary is difficult to understand at times, but it is worth the effort. Copies of this book are always available online, in libraries, and in stores. I even have a few copies, if I trust you enough you can come see me and borrow it!
Greenbrier West High School students will be performing a play adapted from the book by our director, Courtney Sussman from the Greenbrier Valley Theatre. This play will be performed in the spring. Updates on the production will be posted here on Cavtalk, so stay tuned for announcements of the performance dates.

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Book Review: Pride and Prejudice