Austen · NovElla

Dear Mr. Darcy

Literature’s most eligible bachelor, the famous Mr. Darcy, is a popular topic of conversation around February 14th. Of all the characters in Pride and Prejudice, I’ve always identified with Mr. Darcy and his sister Georgiana the most. Shy, quiet, and fond of reading, I empathize with their awkward social encounters.

“I certainly have not the talent which some people possess, of conversing easily with those I have never seen before. I cannot catch their tone of conversation, or appear interested in their concerns, as I often see done.” – Mr. Darcy

While cinematic movie adaptations often rely on a handsome actor to convey the eligibility of Mr. Darcy, his true character isn’t very congruous with that of the typical hero we’re used to today. Modern society usually emphasizes the merits of extroversion and self-promotion: very un-like Mr. Darcy. Restrained and highly moral, his virtues are somewhat old-fashioned. I imagine Mr. Darcy as an introvert, and that’s why I like him.

You know what I don’t get about the whole Darcy infatuation?

Mr. Darcy in a wet shirt.

Perhaps it’s a generational thing. My experience with Colin Firth was first and foremost as the father-figure in children’s movies. I didn’t see the 1995 BBC version of Pride and Prejudice until later. Keira Knightley was already fixed as my image of Elizabeth Bennet, and I was slightly less enthusiastic about the BBC version when I saw it.

I was incredulous when I learned about the statue — a statue? Really? Yes, there is a statue of Colin Firth, as Mr. Darcy in the now famous wet shirt…

Waterlogged clothing aside, does that scene even fit with Mr. Darcy’s character? Sometimes, I wonder if the movies are the only reason this widespread preoccupation with Mr. Darcy hasn’t abated. Do women fall in love with Mr. Darcy, or with the idea of Mr. Darcy? I think his modest good-manners deserve to be valued as much in our society now as they were when he was first written into being.

“Mr. Darcy sends you all the love in the world” –Lizzy

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

 

 

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