8/10/2008

Pop-culture woman of the week - Elizabeth Bennet

Name: Elizabeth Bennet
Appearance: Pride & Prejudice (1813)
Creator: Jane Austen
Weapon/ability: Wit
Race: English
Age: 20

Elizabeth Bennet is the fun-loving and witty heroine of Jane Austen's probably most beloved novel 'Pride & Prejudice'.

Elizabeth is a woman of the gentry in Regency England who lives with her parents and four sisters in a rural community in southern England. Since there is no male heir within the immediate family and due to circumstances that the family can not control her father's property will be inherited by a distant cousin. The only way for the daughters to escape poverty was to marry well - a fact very stressed by their mother.

The story starts when the news gets out that a young man with a large fortune will rent a nearby estate and Mrs. Bennet sees it as a great opportunity to marry off one of her daughters - preferably her oldest one, Jane. Elizabeth is the second oldest and has inherited her fathers wit which makes it hard for her mother to warm up to her and she can not really view Lizzy as being a suitable subject for really great men.

The eligible bachelor, Mr. Bingley, first meets the Bennets at a local dance and is immediately smitten by Jane. With him he has brought his friend Mr. Darcy - who's first impression on Elizabeth was to snub a dance with her suggested by Mr. Bingley (as can be seen in the picture in this post - an illustration done by C.E. Brock for the book at the turn of last century). Though it hardly can be called love at first sight, rather the opposite, due to her sister's involvement with Mr. Bingley they come to cross paths many times - him showing off far too much pride and her showing that a bad first impression of someone can be hard to shake off.

But before Elizabeth can find out who is the right man for her she will encounter both a proposal from the man who is to inherit her father's estate, Mr. Collins, a man she really can not stand (a sentiment shared by her father) and a charming young officer, Mr. Wickham, who can reveal a lot about Mr. Darcy's character since they were friends in younger years. The year that Elizabeth is portrayed in this book is not a altogether easy one for her.

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