Saturday, March 16, 2013

And They Lived Happily Ever After...

The last few chapters of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ bring, in my opinion, a very satisfying resolution as, most importantly, the right people eventually come together, after all the trials and tribulations through the story! 



The main events which make the ending so pleasing have to be the engagements between Jane and Bingley, and more importantly, between Lizzy and Darcy.  The reader has been brought up through the novel to want Jane to end up with Bingley and Darcy with Lizzy, so having this eventually happen is very satisfying - it is what you want to happen! 

Firstly Jane and Bingley.  There had been the ongoing question about whether they would ever get married from the very beginning of the story.  It is clear that Jane and Bingley like each other from the very first meeting at the Meryton assembly, and their relationship grew and developed, leading the other characters in the novel and the reader to think that they would be married. 

However, when Bingley goes to London, leaving Jane, it begins to seem more unlikely. Poor Jane is then never really happy again for the rest of the story which is why when Bingley returns to Netherfield it is such a happy event!  It is nice to have that assurance that as Bingley has come back and wants to see Jane again, he must still feel for her as he did before.  Also, Jane’s reaction when Bingley returns shows that she still feels for him (which I think was pretty obvious, however many times she tried to tell Lizzy otherwise!) 


The scenes when Bingley begins to once again court Jane and then consequently proposes to her are a very important part of the story. One of the major issues with Lizzy accepting Darcy was because of Darcy's involvement in separating Jane and Bingley in the first place. These scenes are all rather funny, especially Mrs Bennet's scheming, which creates comedy and this lightens the mood of the story after all the tension revolving around Lydia’s elopement with Wickham. The first time Bingley and Jane are in each other’s company again for a reasonable length of time is shortly after Bingley has returned to Meryton.  It is made clear that his feelings are unchanged in regards to Jane as Lizzy noticed “how much the beauty of her sister re-kindled the admiration of her former lover.”  It also says how “when he first came in, he had spoken to her but little; but every five minutes seemed to be giving her more of his attention.” After all this and some embarrassing winking, when they do finally get engaged, so many characters other than Jane and Bingley themselves are pleased, and it also leads on to the other, even more pleasing (for me anyway), engagement...

...between Darcy and Lizzy! It is the climax of the novel and I think it is fair to say, by the end of the story, the most wanted result!   It is the most gratifying event because mainly, they are the hero and heroine!  Also, it properly finishes the story as the problems Lizzy had with accepting Darcy in the first place are what make the bulk of the story.  When Lizzy first meets Darcy he seems very proud and disagreeable which is worsened when she is insulted by him at the Meryton assembly.  Then there is the problem of his past with Wickham and lastly the dilemma of his involvement with the separation of Jane and Bingley.  Because of these issues, you wouldn't want Lizzy to accept Darcy when he first proposes.

However, by the second time it would be quite a different story.  Lizzy has seen the 'change' in Darcy’s character when she bumped into him at Pemberley and she found out that what Wickham had told her about his relationship with Darcy was all lies!  Finally, Darcy helped in bringing Jane and Bingley together again so all the problems by the end of the novel have been resolved. So now when Darcy and Lizzy do get engaged, it is very satisfying as Darcy would be considered the perfect man for Lizzy, if not perfect in himself (who is? Perfect is boring anyway!)  Just as Jane and Bingley’s characters compliment each others, so do Darcy and Lizzy’s - what Darcy needs to complete and improve his character (to lighten up and become a little less proud) is what Lizzy can give and vice versa.  

The other marriage towards the end of the story is between Lydia and Wickham.  This is not necessarily a 'happy' marriage as Wickham is well, Wickham!  However, it is pleasing in that it saved the Bennet family from a lot of further grief which would have ensued had Lydia and Wickham not married. It is also happy in the sense that had they not been married, it is likely that Jane and Lizzy may not have married Bingley and Darcy, or at least more problems would have arisen, as the sisters would have been “tainted by association”.  As well, when it is discovered that Darcy is in fact the main person involved in saving Lydia from disgrace, this is another reason which helps Darcy's cause with Lizzy!  But I think what is most pleasing about this marriage for us is that Wickham and Lydia are stuck with each other! Wickham never loved Lydia and he is stuck with her for the rest of his life, and Lydia will soon realise that Wickham's heart is cold... They both get what they deserve!  (Shame, what a awful shame!)  
One of the major themes in ‘Pride and Prejudice’ is marriage which is why these three marriages are important - it is clear that marriage is important from the very first line of the novel; “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife”, suggesting that a rich man’s main purpose in life is to get married and that young woman would be expected to want to be married to a rich man, which Mrs Bennet would definitely agree with!  Darcy and Lizzy’s marriage is very different in this respect as it goes against what would be expected; Lizzy did not marry for the money, she married for love and Darcy, who should have chosen a wife from among his social class, instead chose Lizzy, whilst expressly going against the wishes of his family and what was viewed as right by society.

I think that, from the point of view of Darcy and Lizzy’s engagement, it is very well written.  The conflicts between them are not all completely resolved until very near the end, leaving the question of when it would happen open right till the last moments!  Also, the point at which Lady Catherine de Bough visits Lizzy is very cleverly placed.  This visit takes place shortly after Bingley and Jane’s engagement which was a happy event in the story so it is rather a contrast! It is a very unexpected turn in the plot as after Bingley proposing to Jane, it may have been expected that Darcy would do the same pretty much straight after; what else could go wrong? However this event does create one last obstacle for poor Lizzy and Darcy.  The arguments put forward by Lady Catherine are rather strong and some might think they would have too much weight with Darcy for him to still marry Lizzy. The fact that even after the disapproval from Lady Catherine Darcy still wishes to marry Lizzy makes the ending even more wonderful because it shows how Darcy is going against his family and what would be considered ‘correct’ in society for Lizzy - he really must love her! 


I think that the ending could be seen like a ‘Fairytale’ ending as the hero and heroine of the story, along with other major characters, live ‘happily ever after’. However, it is made more realistic by the fact that Lady Catherine, after the marriage of Darcy and Lizzy, will not accept it and is very displeased with them both for quite a long time, and will not immediately forgive Darcy for marrying someone against her will and so below him in society. It is also made to seem more realistic because two of the four marriages that take place throughout ‘Pride and Prejudice’ are really not that happy. 

The marriage between Collins and Charlotte is by no means perfect as Collins is Collins and it is clear that there is no love in this marriage and Charlotte merely married him for safety, exactly what Lizzy would never do!  The other marriage between Lydia and Wickham is not perfect either because it was a marriage which only happened because Darcy made it so and of course there is no love there either, definitely not on Wickham side, as Wickham had no intentions of marrying Lydia to begin with! At least this shows that not everything turns out right in life, making the story more relatable than a fairytale.  I prefer this ending to a traditional fairytale ending, so long as I am the heroine of my own story! ;) 
The ending is not perfect in every aspect, but it is perfect in the ways you want it to be and so you can finish the book feeling completely satisfied - I certainly do!

Your affectionate friend,
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