Monday, July 11, 2011

P&P and the Folks

For any die-hard Pride & Prejudice lover (which I believe is 97% of the female population), the 1996 miniseries starring Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth is parked on the bookshelf next to the dog-eared paperback copy. 

What I am consistently struck by the film (or Jane Austen adaptations in general) is how it can teach so much about proper behavior. How to look composed, how to be polite, how to respect parents.
Repeatedly, Mrs. Bennett says something that causes, not only humiliation to her family, but damage to the marriage desirability of her daughters. Bingley was convinced by Darcy to head for the hills because of her lack of "breeding," as they would say.

Yet, no matter Lizzie's comfort in telling-off others—Mr. Darcy, Mr. Collins, Lady Catherine—she never raises her voice to her mother. 

For many of us, getting heated with parents is all too easy. I am no exception. I am usually flooded with shame following loss of control, thinking how Englishmen in the 1800s knew how to behave, while I, with the commandment to honor my parents, need constant reminding.

Even if I did have a legitimate excuse for frustration (which I sheepishly confess I don't) that wouldn't make any loss of control okay. When I try to make changes to my automatic behavior, I focus on how terrible I felt as I wallowed in regret. Sort of like those shock-collars on too-loud dogs. That is my deterrent. 

But this spaniel is not catching on as fast as I would like. Focus, girl.


lawschooldrunk said...

Is the version with keira knightley acceptable? Anyway, I read the book.

Princess Lea said...

I LOATHE the version with Keira Knightley. Nothing was accurate in terms of the time, not the conversation, their behavior, nor was it accurate to the book from time to time. That ending was ridiculous, pottering about outdoors in a nightdress and coat. If anyone did that back then they would be locked up in Bedlam.

Only the Colin Firth version.

But you get points for reading the book.