“There is a stubbornness about me that never can bear to be frightened at the will of others. My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me.” (Elizabeth Bennet; Chapter 31)
If there were more women who thought and lived like Elizabeth (Lizzie) Bennet, this world would be a better place.
Please bear with me, you’re gonna hear me countless times talking about how I think this world would be a better place in this blog. Maybe I should make a quiz someday to ask my readers (if any) about how many times I have mentioned about it.
I read Pride and Prejudice only just last year. I wish I had read it earlier during my teenage years. If I have a daughter someday, I will make or force her (if necessary) to read all Jane Austen’s books. They were all written many years ago, even before my great great great great grandmother was born, yet are still applicable today as The Modern Women’s Bibles (no body ever said this, just me though). Some says that the reason why these ancient books are still lovable today is because many of us still are able to relate, or maybe even more than those who were living in the era when the books were firstly published.
I admire Lizzie not because I am like her. The very reason is because she is all who I want to be. We do share some common
introverted interests like books and loving to take a solitary walk, but I am still lack of everything else she has, such as her wittiness, courage and boldness. She stood and spoke up for her family. She held on to her life principle. But the very thing that caught my eye about her was her belief to never settle until she found what she really deserved for the best.
You know, during that ancient times, women were encouraged (if not, forced) to get married in a very young age. The younger, the better. The richer the prospective husband? Best. However, Lizzie didn’t want to settle in that kind of supposed-to be-happily-ever-after. She was not from a rich family. This was an obvious fact told in the first chapter. Her mom goals were to make all her single girls being married to wealthy men. That was Mrs Bennet’s definition of success.
Lizzie, being a rebel she was, believed that marriage should be based on true affection, and not material possessions. She rejected Mr Darcy’s first proposal of marriage because at that time she didn’t reciprocate his love. Her mom was so outraged when she heard this. Mr Darcy was one of the richest bachelor in town and her clever daughter just refused a marriage proposal from him?
Well, we all know that at the end of the story, Mrs Darcy was the same woman who refused that proposal. By slowly, or very extremely slowly progress, they got to know each other more, clearing up all the kinds of misunderstandings. All the pride. All the prejudice. At the end, Mrs Bennet was happy because she ‘succeeded’ to marry her daughter to a rich man, but Mrs Darcy was the happiest for she found her happiness based on true love.
If we all reflect back this story to our present time, and just think like this: “If there was this ancient woman (even though she was fictional, but hey, the woman who wrote this very story was real, not fictional), why would still many women in today’s era still settle for mediocre love? Why would the idea to be married to a rich successful man is still considered to be an achievement?” I repeat, an achievement.
Many past heroic women has fought all the educational rights for women. We are lucky to live in a time when women are welcomed to high educational levels and professional workplaces (regardless of some subtle gender discrimination that sometimes still exists). Then what is the purpose of that education if it fails to change our mindset? Do you see the irony?
I know there are some who still wants to pursue the traditional way to be stay-at-home moms and housewives, but that shouldn’t be because they are supposed or forced to do so, but because they choose to be. Some women are gifted to be home-keepers. There is nothing wrong with it if they want to follow their nurturing passions. One common sad view is that if a woman will end up at home to be a housewife, what’s the purpose of a high education for her? That’s actually the exact reason why she
should must have a high education. She’s gonna be the mom and first educator for her children.
Elizabeth Bennet is indeed fictional, but the issue that existed in the past, still exists today. There are still more lessons we can learn from her and the author, Jane Austen. You can read this article.
If you haven’t read the book, please take some time to read it. If you don’t like to read, you can just watch the movie or The Lizzie Bennet’s Diaries on Youtube. The story is based on the book but has been adapted to present reality. It’s very creative and yet entertaining. Click here for the link.