Wednesday, January 12, 2011

"You've bewitched me, body and soul, and I love, I love, I love you."

(10 virtual chocolate chip cookies if you can guess where the title line is from.)

I'm a fan of period dramas, most of which are based on books.
(My favorites are Washington Square, Jane Eyre, North & South, and Pride & Prejudice.)
I don't remember precisely when my appreciation for these dramas began. Ever since my early teenage years, I delved into the realm of thoughts; life, existence, purpose, and of course, my admiration of truly meaningful relationships. In particular, I remember enjoying these period-dramas during my late high school years. High school was enough of a drag, and I often tuned it out by creating my own exclusive emotional paradise.

What can I say? I'm a hopeless (hopeful?) romantic till the end.

Jane Austen is commonly the most famous of the period-drama authors. All of her storylines, as well as many of the others, often share similar themes:
1) opposites attract
2) first impressions and stereotypes are often misjudgments; there's more to a person than what meets the eye.

The poor gal with the rich guy. The smart, chutzpahdik fair maiden with the proper mannered fellow. The rude, conceited guy who turns out to have many layers to him -- and is in fact a kind-hearted and sensitive individual. The plain-looking gal with the ravishing, wealthy dude.
Those who were at first repulsed by each other eventually become head-over-heels in love, not because of their physical attributes, family, or fortune, rather because of their virtues and morals.

One of my favorite dialogues in Pride and Prejudice:
Mr. Darcy: Miss Elizabeth. I have struggled in vain, and I can bear it no longer. These past months have been a torment. I came to Rosings with the single object of seeing you...I had to see you. I have fought against my better judgment, my family's expectations, the inferiority of your birth by rank and circumstance. All these things I am willing to put aside and ask you to end my agony.
Elizabeth: I don't understand.
Mr. Darcy: I love you. Most ardently. Please do me the honor of accepting my hand.
Elizabeth: Sir, I appreciate the struggle you have been through, and I am very sorry to have caused you pain. Believe me, it was unconsciously done.
Mr. Darcy: Is this your reply?
Elizabeth: Yes, sir.
Mr. Darcy: Are you...are you laughing at me?
Elizabeth: No.
Mr. Darcy: Are you rejecting me?
Elizabeth: I'm sure that the feelings which, as you've told me have hindered your regard, will help you in overcoming it.
Mr. Darcy: Might I ask why, with so little endeavor at civility, I am thus repulsed?
Elizabeth: And I might as well enquire why, with so evident a design of insulting me, you chose to tell me that you liked me against your better judgment.

Do they get married and experience true love in the end?

It might be the storyline, the characters, the raw emotions, the professions of love, the beautiful scenery, or a combination of all the above that hooks me and leads me to wonder...
perhaps misjudgements are often prematurely made in life, especially when it comes to dating. Do people always deserve a second chance? Or do these stories only exist in fantasy, period-drama-novel-movie land?


  1. Pride & Prejudice

    Now where are my cookies?

  2. Anonymous - impressive! Nice work :)
    even though you're anonymous, I can still send you virtual CCCookies.
    Here you go:


  3. I personally find these sort of premises exhausting. Initial disgust, followed by angry words and scorned advances, then new knowledge, chagrin, and "Do you forgive me enough to marry me?"

    Epic stories are not based on two people with very similar personalities meet, get along well, and walk off content in marriageable bliss.

    In my experience in life, I know of couples who married based on a quirk in the other that they didn't have, and found it endearing. Ten years later they are cursing out that quirk.

    Joy Behar once said: "You meet a guy, and you gush, 'Oh, he's the strong, silent type.' Then you say, 'What are you, mute!?'"

    The fairy tale of clashing personalities - in the end, Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy were alike, as Mr. Bingley and Jane were.

  4. English Major - so, you're saying the clashing personalities don't work out in the end? Or that they might?

    I had a seminary teacher who used to tell us: choose your guy with caution. If you chose a quiet guy, don't later complain about why he's not more outgoing and talkative! If you chose a very extroverted, social type, don't later complain that he's often with friends and other people and not spending enough time with you!
    (In other words, every midda has another possible angle to it.)

    Honestly, I think it could vary based on the person. I'm not going to pretend like I know what I'm talking about when it comes to Pride & Prejudice because I somewhat obsess over the novel, movie, storyline, and the relationships -- to the point that I've overanalyzed it to shreds and often wondered what would happen, in real life, between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth, after they got married.

    The thing is...the very chemistry they have is based on their strong and dominating personalities. Mr. Darcy is used to be people respecting him, and being in awe of him, even though he lacks social skills. Elizabeth is stubborn and cynical and thinks less of Mr. Darcy than anyone else. That's what he saw in her -- he liked that she's different. That she's intelligent, outspoken, strong-willed, and doesn't worship him. (As opposed to the quiet, vain, giggly, feeble-minded girls he was used to.)

  5. Hello,

    Interesting thoughts, captivating ideas, I must admit.

    Washington Square was actually one of my favorite novels. The characters were all so well-developed and I connected with the main character, though she was a pathetic, poor creature. I remember feeling sorry for her and resentful to the man (I forgot his name) who was just trying to manipulate her.

    Oh, what a sad story.

  6. Tikva4eva - glad you found the post to be interesting :) I'd love to read your opinion!

    Catherine really is seen as a rich "nebuch" -- but I think her character is far more developed in the movie. I highly recommend the movie.
    (I actually wrote up a whole post about Washington Square, mainly analyzing the characters, but I figured it might be boring for most of my readers. :P)

  7. Mr. Darcy's issue was more along the lines of his snobbery, that the people of this little country town were beneath him. He prejudged them, as Elizabeth judged him, and happily believed whatever Wickham told her. She even accused him Wickham's mistreatment, which is not exactly good manners. She thought herself a superior human being than him.

    They were both people of convictions, principles, self-pride, and quick judgment. Neither she nor Darcy respected gigglers or sycophants. Mutual disdain for Mr. Collins? Elizabeth's refusal to be cowed by Lady Catherine, despite the severity of the class system at the time? They are more alike than not, in my view.

    Those books may be a fun read, but I, personally, do not think I could foresee marriage with someone too different from me. I think people who are middle of the road have to marry likewise, whereas extreme personalities need some toning down, and so select spouses who will counterbalance them.

  8. English Major - that's very insightful! I definitely see what you're saying. I think even Elizabeth says in the end (when speaking to her father about Mr. Darcy): "we're so similar"
    In fact - that's why the story is titled Pride and Prejudice...they're both too proud of themselves and think they're higher, in certain respects, than others. And of course, have their prejudices against other people and groups.

    About foreseeing who you marry -- personality wise -- you might be surprised. I, too, have my "type" in mind, but I know that I may be wrong. I've seen this with many of my friends...they got married to the complete opposite personality type than expected.
    I suppose time will tell :)