200 Years of Pride and Prejudice

pride and prejudic

 

“I must confess that I think her as delightful a character as ever appeared in print, and how I shall be able to tolerate those who do not like her at least, I do not know.” Jane Austen

 

 

 

I can certainly relate to her to her feelings. Rejections of beloved characters suck. You can spin them anyway you please, but they’re still hard to swallow. Having said that I have a confession to make. I’ve never read Jane Austen. I’ve tried (not very hard) and given up (too lazy to continue). I’ve plans to change this lack. The long anticipated months of July and August will see me toting around a copy of Pride and Prejudice. After my adventures of reading Jane Eyre last summer I’m encourage to give another classic a go. And 2013 is the 200th anniversary of it’s publication.

200 hundred years of Lizzie Bennet.

“Only the deepest love will persuade me into matrimony, which is why I will end up an old maid.” Lizzie Bennet, Pride and Prejudice

200 hundred years of Mr. Darcy.

“She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me; I am in no humour at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men. You had better return to your partner and enjoy her smiles, for you are wasting your time with me.” Mr. Darcy, Pride and Prejudice

While I may not have read the book I’m familiar with the story having watched the 2005 movie version many times. You know, on those days when you need to experience some time travel to get you through the day. Usually shared with obscene amounts of chocolate and balanced by cups of hot tea. But last night I watched a live theater adaption by Christina Calvit and directed by Marti Maraden. Done in the round at the Globe Theatre here in Regina, it was an ambitious undertaking. Very few props, as is the tradition, the insightful costuming helped tell the story and give a sense of place and time in Regency England. It was a delightful mix of veteran actors and graduates of the most recent Globe Theatre Actor Conservatory program. An enchanting combination of experience and innocence.

After being mocked during a recent suppertime conversation about the man to woman ratio in films and tv, it was refreshing to sit and enjoy a story showcasing women with men playing generally supporting roles. Pick a drama, count the female roles versus male roles. Of my favorites, H5O – three males cops, one female. Sherlock – One female Sherlock in training, the rest males (unless they’re a victim). NCIS (either one) – three male agents, one female. Longmire – One sheriff, two male deputies, one female deputy. The Vampire Dairies – Elana caught between two brothers.

But I digress.

Her stories are love stories. And relevant today. We still struggle to understand each other. She gifted her characters with the courage to choose happiness. We still search for it. No matter your gender.

Have you read Pride and Prejudice? Seen the movie? The play? Care to give an opinion?

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Is There a Secret Formula to Creating Strong Female Characters?

“It was character that got us out of bed, commitment that moved us into action, and discipline that enabled us to follow through.”  Zig Ziglar:

Nope, no secret formula. But in my mind there are a few requirements.

Confidence: No surprise there. Confidence is incredibly appealing. It affects how we feel, our behavior towards others, and the outcome of any undertaking. It creates a heroine who is more powerful, more in control, and more satisfied. They expect equality, cooperation, and respect whether they bus tables or run companies. Whether they run a daycare or a country.

Passion: A heroine can be down and out, discouraged beyond belief, have lost hope. But once that fire within has been stoked it allows her to live life, experience it, and claim it. She does not live a life of temperance. When she regales her grandchildren with stories of her past, her tales are met with wide eyes and open mouths.

Determination: There is no superpower greater than determination. She will let nothing stand in her way. There is no obstacle big enough, no danger great enough to keep her from her goal. From winning. Because who can afford to lose if the life of their children is on the line? Their patient’s life? A total stranger’s?

Strength: Often the ‘flight’ or ‘fight’ response is a luxury they can’t afford. Someone has to be around to look after the kids, the dog, the house, the neighborhood, the community. Women are the fixers. The multitaskers. The gatherers. They can be the hunters. The thief in the night. They can be whatever they have to be to survive.

Commitment: They know the cost of responsibility and are willing to pay it. When all seems lost they do not allow the feeling of wanting to quit to overpower their commitment. There is no ‘taking your best shot’, there is only try harder.

Purpose: The foundation for all the rest of it. To know what they are to do and why. Not to be confused with wanting power over something or someone else. It does not need to be about conquest and supremacy. It is deeply personal. It is passionate. It is backed up with thoughts, words and deeds. It will be evident in how she feels, heals, creates, and shapes her future.

“Beauty is a true expression of who you are. The coolest girls are never the ones that have the prettiest face or the best bodies; they’re the ones with their own unique style and look. They are the ones who are true to who they are.”   Wendy Zomnir

There you have it. My take on heroines. I’d love to hear your thoughts or have you add to the list!

 

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