Recently, my daughter achieved a life long goal (even though her life has only spanned 17 short years). She is playing the part of Elizabeth Bennett in a local youth theater. Shortly before her audition, I asked her which of the P & P characters she thought I was. Her answer? She said that I was Charlotte. I was insulted. She said that I shouldn’t be, saying how she admires my good common sense and practicability and the fact that I’m able to make decisions without being swayed by emotion. I was still insulted. After all, I wanted to be Elizabeth! It was then that I realized that every girl wants to be Elizabeth Bennett. So for this Friday Favorites, I’ve asked my daughter to write an essay on the matter.
Every woman wants to be Elizabeth Bennett. And when I say “every woman,” that does not exclude those unfamiliar with the story (although, shame on them). We are simply born wanting to be “Elizabethan” and are ever dissatisfied with ourselves when we prove to be otherwise. But why?! What does she have that we apparently don’t? I have compiled a list of five reasons why women so desperately want to be Elizabeth Bennett.
- Firstly, Darcy. Most women at least pretend that “only the deepest love will persuade [them] into matrimony.” But what woman doesn’t secretly hope that this love will be have estate-loads of cash to come with it? … Can I see a show of hands? That’s what I thought. In addition to wealth, Elizabeth wins the heart of a man who seems to be too proud and aloof as to lose his heart to anyone, and yet he declares himself madly in love with her. This is most advantageous, and in the end she experiences the best of both worlds; love and wealth.
- Secondly, she is entirely her own entity and people love her for it. She exudes an aura that is so confident, so comfortable, that she stands completely alone and people see her aside from her circumstances. They love her in spite of themselves. Even Lady Catherine, who had “never been thus treated in her entire life,” couldn’t help but secretly admire her, I think. We all wish we could have the courage to take off our painted masks and be adored in spite of our warts.
- Thirdly, she has the perfect best friend. Every woman needs another woman who will give ’em a good slap in the face when they need it (which they inevitably will). We need someone who will keep us honest and sensible when we betray ourselves in our ridiculousness. Elizabeth has a friend like this in Charlotte, and is a better woman for it. As a side note, she also has a loyal friend in her sister, Jane, and finds in her a person who believes the best of her in every situation.
- Fourthly, she gets the sweetest kind of revenge: revenge without the inconvenience of regret. She defies Caroline Bingley, Lady Catherine, Mr, Wickham, Mr. Collins, and they all must stand back and watch as she foils the odds and gets true love to boot. There is no better revenge than the kind that comes unintentionally, and Elizabeth certainly never plotted to have Darcy fall in love with her, but yet her heart leads her in a way that causes all of her enemies to rethink their Pride and Prejudice toward her and her “undesirable” background.
- Fifthly, and most importantly, the girl’s got moxy. With this purest form of estrogen coursing through her veins, she flouts the world and they fall prostrate before her. Every woman dreams of being so empowered. She responds with wit and intelligence, not having to look back on a conversation thinking, “If I would have been thinking, I could have said this!”
So there it is. That is why all girls want to be Elizabeth Bennett. We want the happy ending without the oblivious Disney disposition. We want to live perfectly with imperfect souls. But the ugly truth is that we are not all Elizabeth Bennett, nor could we feasibly be. Lizzies cannot exist without Charlottes, Lydias, Lady Catherines, and Miss Bingleys. So we all serve our purpose, I suppose.
Isn’t my daughter brilliant? So I want to know what literary character do you see yourself as? And why? Please leave your answer in the comment section!
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