To Quote The Princess Bride . . .

18 Nov

Mawwage.  Mawwage is what bwings us together today.

That’s because it’s what Susan Wise Bauer thinks dear Lizzy wants.  Here’s what she has to say about it:

What does Elizabeth Bennet want?  This most central of questions often appears to have a straightforward answer.  Elizabeth Bennet wants to get married.

It just doesn’t seem that straightforward to me.  I think it’s obvious that Kitty wants marriage.  Obviously, Mr. Collins wants marriage.  It’s also obvious that Mrs. Bennet wants marriage for her daughters.  I even think it’s obvious that Jane wants marriage.  But Elizabeth?  She seems a little indifferent toward the estate to me.  Now, she does give us reason to believe that she seeks love.

Wove.  Twue love. . .

I’m, sorry, I meant to quote Elizabeth.  Try this one instead.

. . .

Well, I can’t seem to find a quote that supports that idea, either.  So let’s see, maybe what Elizabeth really wants is to be a modern, independent woman.  After all, we see her marching through miles of mud to reach her sister, boldly turning down not one, but two marriage proposals, and talking back to Lady Catherine.  Pretty strong-willed gal, I’d say.  And she doesn’t do any of those things in order that they would bring her closer to marriage or love.  Yet oddly, they do.

Many of you mentioned Lizzy’s dynamic family in your assessment of what our heroine wants.  To be sure, they are a thorn in her side, and as the story progresses her embarrassment at their actions only increases.  Out of this humiliation is borne the remainder of SWB’s explanation.  And here, I agree with Mrs. Bauer:

But generally a deeper, more essential need or want lies beneath this surface desire.  You can often get at this deeper motivation by asking the second question:  What’s standing in the way?  What destroys Elizabeth Bennet’s marriageability, complicates her life, threatens to destroy her happiness?  Her family:  her wild younger sister, her ridiculous mother, her passive and cynical father.  Elizabeth wants to marry, but her deepest want goes beyond matrimony.  She wants to abandon the world she was born into and move into another world.  She wants to escape.

And now, just one more little question remains:

Will Elizabeth Darcy be happy in her new Pemberly Life?

I pass the baton off to one of my fellow readers for this answer though, because this is all starting to feel like a bad dweam wiffin a dweam.


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