The other day while I was writing the post about my junk, my granddaughter was sitting in my living room watching the Keira Knightley version of Pride and Prejudice. It's not the best version, but someone gave it to me. This young woman was born 17 years ago into a world that pretty much thinks that casual sex is the norm. And this makes me wonder about the enduring appeal of Pride and Prejudice which appears with great regularity, year after year, in new versions from the perfect A&E Colin Firth/Jennifer Ehle 1995 production to the Bollywood version, Bride and Prejudice to the modernized Bridget Jones Diary to the ever-so-lovely Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. And people, mostly women, are writing sequel after sequel some of which can be found in libraries although many more are self-published.
What is it, I wonder that goes through the heads of young women in today's society when they read about the way women lived and were courted in Regency England? Do they think it's at all appealing? Do they wish sometimes that there was something worth dressing up for? Someplace that might be off-limits for pajama pants?
And what to do they think about the uproar surrounding Lydia's elopement? Does it puzzle them? Do they wonder what it's all about? Do they think it's ridiculous and thank their lucky stars that they weren't born in such a repressive society? Do they ask themselves why Lydia's sisters will be ruined by her behaviour? Do they detect any hint of warning in her situation?
I know the main attraction, of course, is the romance between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy. Many aspects of the novel change in the newer versions: time, location, mores, degree of necrosis, but the romance will always remain pretty much the same. Still, I hope there's some goodness in the story, some enduring truth that appeals to today's audience. I hope that there are some young women, especially my granddaughters, who see the tragedy of Lydia's mistakes, and the desirability of a marriage like Darcy and Elizabeth's.