Pride and Prejudice, published in 1813, had initially donned the title of First Impressions. Inspired by its mention in Fanny Burney’s novel Cecilia, Jane Austen, perhaps after deeper contemplation during the course of writing the novel, thought best to replace it by one subtler yet more relevant to the novel’s essence. Pride and prejudice: words which encase the phenomenon of social interlocution via appearances, either portrayed by ourselves or inferred from others, are scarcely asunder in meaning. Pride relates to slightly contrasting dispositions – either of self-dignity which rein in our weaknesses, as aptly described by George Eliot in Middlemarch: “Pride helps us; and pride is not a bad thing when it only urges us to hide our own hurts – not to hurt others.”, or which is abounded by self-vanity, as also mentioned by Jane Austen in Pride and Prejudice: “Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us.” Prejudice, similarly, is the formation of opinions usually based on unfounded means and which let us either blinded by vanity to be critical, or by awe to be servile. Continue reading “Defining Pride and Prejudice”
Jane Eyre: orphaned at an early age, subjugated by her Aunt Reed to whose patronage she had been consigned after the death of her maternal uncle Mr. Reed, and then abandoned to Lowood School: a poorly run institution by a miserly stringent manager, had her childhood replete with mistreatment and oppression. However, these trials and tribulations couldn’t dampen her unfettered spirits, her resolve – instead roused in her passion to be her morale, truth her sword and decree of God her guide.
Jane Eyre is an embodiment of relentless fortitude in times of distress, religious demeanour protecting her from the ills of a depraved society and of mental illumination which help observe the silent yet minutest life. Her plainness is trifled by her possession of a rare generosity in always providing from her little means to anyone she finds in need. Charlotte Bronte has made us see beyond the materialism of our world and how void is the life thriving off monetary accumulation without virtue of soul. Jane’s relationship with Mr. Rochester is indicative of how love could only survive, regardless of fortune or corporeal beauty, by the supply of constant flow of deep and plain affection from the heart.
A lovely tale of female heroism fighting singlehandedly for what it believes is right in the light of moral guidance. No wonder this tale after decades on, still hails as one of the best, for its endless dictation of morality and self-sacrifice which I feel is greatly needed in our society today as ever before.
A short review originally posted on Goodreads. Detailed review to be posted here soon.