You may not know about The SparkNotes Teen Novel Awards, so I'll tell you. Every month, I bestow a burrito-sized-and-shaped award upon my mouth for reading more teen novels than any other non-teen in the universe ever, weather permitting.
But now I have to read Pride and Prejudice, and it's really throwing me off my game. So, even though offended Jane Austen purists have vowed to shoot flaming, poisonous darts at my rapidly-blogging fingers, I shall continue to chronicle Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice the only way my soggy brain is able: as someone who reads and dissects teen novels like it's her job. Because it is.
Today we review chapters 2, 3, and 4. To set the mood of British old time-iness, I suggest you read this aloud in an English accent by candlelight while sitting beside an old shoe horn, a rusty key, and a tin cup with a bug in it.
Last week, you mangy super scholars defended Jane Austen's flagrant disregard for Teen Novel Rule #5: NO PARENTS!!!!! Well, I see what you mean. Mr. and Mrs. Bennet are both pretty hilarious in Chapter 2. Mr. Bennet insults his own daughter, Mary, and Mrs. Bennet talks mad smack on some lady called Mrs. Long. She says of Long, "She is a selfish, hypocritical woman, and I have no opinion of her."
No opinion of her? But you just... I mean, you said... How could you not... *head tilt*
Kitty, one of the five marriageable Bennet daughters, is coughing, which probably means she has shingles or some other Oregon Trail disease. And then... she dies there's a dance!
Teen Novel Rule #6: At least once in the novel, there should be a reason to get dressed up.
Why, you ask?
Okay, so the Bennet sisters already know how to dress themselves and apply mascara without getting flicks of it on their eyelids. But the idea of the girls going from daywear to ball gowns is enough to make any reader squee in her pants.
The Bennet girls are excited about the ball because Mr. Bingley—the new, rich guy in town—is supposed to attend, but then word gets out that he's bringing lots of ladies.
Who does this jerk think he is? What kind of man waltzes into town, all rich and unmarried, and then brings his own girltourage?!? WHAT A TEASE!!! Two seconds ago he was basically pooping out wedding rings, and now, he's running around with a group of girls from his old town?! Oh. Hell. No thanks.
Mr. Bingley, I've got something to say to you: You're a moneyfaced port hole, and if you think for one second that you can treat my little Lizzy Bennet like this, you've got another thing coming, and that thing is a sledgehammer to your knee. Don't act surprised, Bingleberry. You're not all that. You're just a—
—What's that you say? OH! Those girls are your sisters. Well, then, nevermind! Sorrrrrrrry. This is awkward. I do apologize again for the...
Teen Novel Rule #7: The more misunderstandings, the better.
Touché, Jane Austen. Touché.
At the dance, Bingley chooses to bump and grind with prettiest Bennet, Jane, but nobody cares BECAUSE something crazy happens. Bingley brings a male friend to the dance, and that friend is the famous Mr. Darcy.
Darcy is brooding, judgmental, and sexier than a bowl of frosting. He walks around the dance scowling at every girl and never asking any of them to join him for The Electric Slide. Finally, during The Chicken Dance, Bingley suggests that Darcy dance with our girl, Lizzy. Lizzy hears Darcy say that her sister Jane is pretty, but smiles too much, and that Lizzy's no more than tolerable-looking, and that he'd never dance with a girl who wasn't already dancing with another man because she's obviously unwanted.
But, hey Mr. Darcy, if you can only dance with girls who are already dancing with other men, then how... I mean, what do you mean by... logistically, it just wouldn't... *facepalm*
By the end of the chapter, everybody hates Darcy, except Lizzy, who was amused by his nonsense and quiet, seething rage during The Mexican Hat Dance.
Teen Novel Rule #8: Our main character's love interest must be emotionally scarred. Since the angry, sexy Mr. Darcy walks around like he's got glitter coming out of his nipples, it's safe to say Austen got this right, too.
In the next chapter, chapter 4, one thing happens. Lizzy tells Jane she's too nice. This is only interesting because...
- Darcy kind of said the same thing about Jane—that she's a smile wench. This means Darcy and Lizzy have something in common. This means they're destined to smush! (Right?)
- Pretty Jane isn't the stereotypical cheerleader I thought she was. She's the beautiful AND nice Bennet sister.
Teen Novel Rule #9: "Most beautiful" and "too nice" are two qualities that no one girl should ever have. It's, like, genetically impossible. But we have to cut Jane Austen some slack here because they didn't know about DNA or even self-restoring embryonic stem cells in 1809. But I do have to say this: is it merely coincidence that the most beautiful and kind sister of them all is named Jane? Sorry, Austen, I'm going to have to fault you for this one. PENALTY, AUSTEN!
How many teen novel rules has that wild woman, Jane Austen, broken so far? Like 70 zillion. Just kidding! Her record stands at a 6 wins (rules adhered to), 2 losses (rules not adhered to), and 1 that we're still confused about.
Now, who's in love with Mr. Darcy?
Questions? Observations? A fist-full of flaming, poisonous darts? Let it out in the comments!