Friday, November 20, 2009

driving through cul-de-sacs of my own

Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Jane Austen

I was going through my old scripts the other day (I was in Pensive-Reflexive mood. And that's the sort of thing one does in a Pensive-Reflexive mood), and I found these little thoughts written in, around, and all over the margins and covers of my Pride and Prejudice Script.

  • Opposites attract, and must learn to meet in the middle. (E.g., Lizzie and Darcy: Darcy is her soulmate, because they both need each other- he starts out cold & proud, Lizzie starts out rather rash and slightly prideful of her good judgement-his coldness is melted by her "fine eyes," Eyes are windows into the soul, i.e., character. Lizzie's character is on par, and every bit the equal to Darcy's. Lizzie's pride and immature rash judgments are tempered by Darcy's coolness. Lizzie learns to grow up; Darcy learns to loosen up. 
  • Lizzie is searching for a soulmate and refuses to settle for less, despite the opportunities that are presented. She is attracted to Darcy's character only when she finally discovers the strength and virtue of his character.

  • Elizabeth's prejudice springs from her fierce loyalty--identical to the source of Darcy's failings. For example, Miss Bingley is obviously a snob. Therefore, Miss Bingley's warnings about Wickham, which is in fact a good, true warning Lizzie should take note of, is disregarded because it comes from the lips of Miss Bingley. This is prejudice. Although she is a snob, Miss Bingley may in fact be correct in this situation--her snobbishness does not prevent her from being correct about Wickham's character. But, how else is one to judge a person, their actions and words than by one's previous knowledge of them?
  • PRIDE--Choosing not to love out of fear. Out of fear of being rejected, of not being loved back. The antidote to pride: just love. "A life lived in fear is a life half lived."
  • To love was why woman was created. [Ed. Note: This was written in reference to Genesis, and how Eve was created to be a companion for Adam. Adam was told to "fill the earth and subdue it" (Genesis 1: 28), but Eve was made for Adam, because Adam was lonely. God said "It is not good for the man to be alone." (Genesis 2:18) So, what did He do? He made a companion for Adam; and since He's God, obviously He's going to give Adam the perfect companion. That perfect companion was Woman. How sweet/adorable/romantic/lovely/beautiful/mind-boggling/earth-shattering/"inconceivable!" is that? Honestly, I think that's just the best thing ever.]
  • Strong characters are attracted by character, not [exterior] beauty. Eyes express strength of character-windows to the soul.
  • People project what they are onto other people.
  • Obstinancy is Darcy's true failing, as is Lizzie's.
  • Lizzie prides herself on being the opposite of Jane: she sees only good in others at all costs; but Lizzie prides herself on seeing all and having no qualms about criticizing what she sees.[Ed. Note--Can I say I find it simply fascinating, delightful, delicious, and quintessentially ironic that Lizzie's real fault is pride! Truly, it is: Lizzie is a clever, intuitive girl-the cleverest and most intuitive in her circle of aquaintance. Therefore, there's a little, wee bit of pride-the knowledge that she is better than everyone else. She prides herself on her ability to read character, and her good judgment. She's spiritually on an entirely different plane than everyone else in her family and her friends, and she's fallen into the trap of pride-the mistake of thinking herself "a cut above the company," as a wise, dashing young gentleman once said. But by the end of the story, Lizzie is a much humbler character. She's still witty, clever, and vivacious; but she has learned wisdom and humility.]
  • Lizzie's attraction to Wickham is a vital ( i.e., physical) attraction. Physical attraction is blind-it sees only one side of the person-the side that the person wants you to see, or the side that you wish to see.
  • Lizzie feels a respect that can lead to love-one must have respect-gratitude. Lizzie does not love Darcy as yet; but then her physical and vital attraction is awakened by Pemberly. I see a beauty & splendor of Darcy's that can rival Wickham's glamour. Only when Darcy's character was proved good did his wealth become attractive."If gratitude and esteem are good foundations of affection, Elizabeth's change of sentiment will be niether improbable nor faulty." --P&P Chapter 46
  • "Never had she so honestly felt that she could have loved him, as now, when all love must be vain." ---P&P Chapter 46
  • "She began now to comprehend that he was exactly the man, who, in disposition and talents, would most suit her."---P&P Chapter 50

    So there you are. I love this story-it is arguably the greatest love story of modern English literature. Jane Austen wrote a masterpiece, and it never ceases to amaze me how much richness and beauty and Truth is contained within the pages of her book. P&P is one of the rare works that is a 'classic' in the full sense of the word-it's themes are universal, undying, and are at the heart of all our stories.

"Even in literature anrt, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it."---C. S. Lewisd a


  1. I definitely agree...with everything!

  2. Wow, I'm deeply impressed by your character studies. I had no idea that they ran that deep, even though I've always been amazed by the depth that your portrayals have. You are one heck of an actress, darling.