One of my all-time favorite books is Jane Austen's PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. I've read the book many, many times over the years… I've seen all of the on-screen versions. I'm kind of a junkie, if I'm perfectly honest. Lately I've been catching snatches of the A&E version when I can. Mmmm, Colin Firth. He is quite delectable.
That said, if any one character epitomizes the stoic male character that is hopelessly misunderstood, it's Mr. Darcy. In the beginning, he comes off as rude, arrogant, and yeah, I'm gonna say it…a stuck-up beeeeeeeyotch. Everything he says and does is the Wrong Thing. Of course, he's seen through the eyes of Elizabeth Bennett, and well, we women CAN get things wrong from time to time. And because there is this massive amount of misinterpretation…because of their PRIDE and PREJUDICE (tee)…they don't realize they're falling in love until BLAM, they're there.
And little did she know, Mr. Darcy is actually quite a nice man. He's uncomfortable in a room full of strangers, but opens up like a flower when forced to speak one-on-one. In truth, he's a quiet soul who turns out to be quite charming and caring. A perfect match for Elizabeth.
THIS makes good fiction. It's what keeps us turning those pages until the very end… that innate hope that eventually they'll get their act together and figure out they're perfect for each other.
Have you ever meant someone like this in real life, tho? Imagine a male that doesn't speak. Who regards a room with a look of complete disdain. Who is uncomfortable on every level and doesn't make any bones about it. When you speak to him, you get a snap reply that makes you regret asking whatever question you dared to ask. Let's be honest… who the heck would put up with that Shiite for long? Not many people, I'd venture to say.
So why then, I wonder, are we so forgiving of fictional characters who behave like complete jackasses? Why do we hold out hope that beneath a rude exterior and all other outward appearances, that the MEAN stoic man will turn out to be an ole' softy underneath? And quite frankly, why do so many of them in fact, turn out that way?
I'm not sure I have all the answers, but it's definitely something to ponder. Why do we all flock to the Mr. Darcy's in literature?
I can give you some of my reasons:
- I tend to cling to the good things I see in a person – believing that the nice things they do are what REALLY represent them as a person/character. I love how after snubbing Lizzie for a dance in one of the opening scenes, Mr. Darcy turns around and asks Elizabeth to dance at another gathering. He HATES dancing, so the fact that he was doing it despite this shows his willingness to eat a little bit of crow. Even at his own expense. Ah, to me, that says love.
- There's something very attractive about a stoic man. I think every woman wants to believe that they'll be The One to crack through his hard exterior and get to the real person beneath.
- We love the chase. If everything had gone according to "plan" that first meeting – had they immediately recognized their soul mates in each other, we'd all have been bored to tears. A little misunderstanding, a few arguments…a courtship that is drawn out and uncertain, makes things more interesting. And it makes the end result all just that much sweeter.
- A perfect romance isn't the way life works. Even Jane and Bingley, who by all accounts DID have the thunder and lightning when they met, had conflict in P&P. She was poor and he, rich. His family did not approve of the courtship, and that in turn, threw some roadblocks up to their union. Let's face it. That's the way LIFE is. We all go around trying to do the right thing, but because of misinterpretation and skewed points of view, we often read situations wrong. I mean, there's a reason there are so many books trying to breakdown why men behave a certain way….what it means when women do this or that. In short, we men and women have very little understanding of each other. So to expect two characters to immediately understand one another would be somewhat false.
- The slow crumble of Mr. Darcy's walls was oh so sweet to watch. Come on…you gotta love it! There's nothing better than slowly pounding away at those dang bricks, only to see them fall apart at last. If you've ever experienced this with a real life person, you know exactly what I mean. That first glimpse you get of a "real" Mr. Darcy can literally take your breath away.
Mr. Darcy snubs Elizabeth. I LOVE his expression at the end. *D'oh!*