- The novel was published in 1813 and is famous and hailed particularly for it's presentation of women in society and for displaying the strong focus on economic status, women's dependance on men and marriage and the class system of victorian England.Through the use of witty humor and irony, Austen creates an intelligent narrative voice, which is limited omniscient and likely tainted most by the character of Elizabeth. This being noted, there is clearly a female slant to the narrative voice, with the views of Mr. Collins displaying this most effectively. The strength and wit of the narrative voice therefore implies that the woman whose voice most taints the narrative is also one in possession of significant intelligence. This intelligence is a key theme throughout the novel, with the implication being that women should not show their intelligence. The focus is largely on financial gain and marriage, rather than the encouragement of education for female members of society.
- This video emphasizes the intelligence that Austen herself was known for during her lifetime. In itself, this description of the author explains the strength of her heroines and the revolutionary perspectives displayed in her multiple novels.
Though there has been much study of and many adaptations of many of Austen's works, Pride and Prejudice in particular is a novel that has been adapted into 74 literary works and into 10 loyal representational films and TV series, on top of various loose adaptations in which the story has been developed or changed in some key ways. The numerous adaptations and the continued interest in the novel and it’s subject matter in modern day society and entertainment implies that the subject matter and themes explored by Austen in this novel continue to hold value in today’s society and has done so through every time period since it’s initial publication in 1813.
Two of the notable adaptations can be seen below in trailer form. These adaptations in particular are incredibly loyal to the novel and Austen's narrative. One, the 2005 adaptation, is a feature film, while the other is a mini series.
- Though interesting versions and hailed as two of the most successful adaptations of the novel, this project will analyze, compare and contrast another, looser, adaptation, Bride and Prejudice to the original novel.This adaptation is arguably one of the most interesting ones where modern societal issues and perspectives are concerned. It is set, largely, in India and takes an incredibly unique stance and perspective on Austen's original themes. In conducting this study it will be possible to evaluate what is so lasting about Austen’s ideas and why they continue remain significant aspects of everyday life in the 21st century. Furthermore it will determine what key themes of the novel have been adapted and shaped around issues and views of modern society and in what way these issues correlate to those faced by women of Austen’s time.
- The key difference between this adaptation and the original novel is the globalization of the societal pressures and the introduction of cross cultural marriage as a controversial and problematic idea. The key idea behind the film is that of the culture of arranged marriage in India and the pressures on women to get married to the most financially worthy man available.Similarly to the novel, this pressure and the unpleasant nature of this practice is highlighted through the character representative of Mr. Collins, Mr. Kohli. Many aspects of this adaptation are tongue and cheek, most notably the fact that it is a musical, however many of the emphasized themes from the novel are similarly represented in this adaptation or are developed in a way that brings the relevance to modern culture and global perspective.
- The character of Mr. Kohli is particularly tongue and cheek, in much the same way as Mr. Collins is in Austen's novel. Like Mr. Collins, Mr. Kohli can be viewed as a metaphor for arranged marriage and for the idea of marrying money. He is represented as both unintelligent and unattractive, with a humiliating laugh and the use of colloquial, unintelligent slang such as, "what's up?" and "it's the bomb." (Bride and Prejudice). The notable idiocy of these comments and something that is emphasized constantly in regards to Mr. Kohli is his abandonment of his cultural identity in the pursuit of wealth in the USA. On top of his use of American slang, Mr. Kohli comments, "you must come to the US, you must, you must, you must. I can help you start a business there, that's where the money is to be made." He then goes on to say, "anyone can become an American."In the scene above, the contrast between the protagonist's character, Lalita, and Mr. Kohli is stark. Her intelligence is notable through her behavior and her habit of mocking him, without his knowing. A notable example of that in this scene is her comment, "I bet it has three swimming pools". This is a reference to an earlier conversation in the film and a comment on the vulgarity of Mr. Kohli's character. A notable comment from Lalita's mother just before the beginning of the above scene, drawing attention to both the intelligence of the protagonist, and the continued expectation for women to be unintelligent, is her comment, "don't say anything too intelligent, you!" (Bride and Prejudice) while she motions to Lalita. This theme is one that continues throughout the film, and of course Austen's novel. The protagonist is continuously represented as very intelligent, but suppressed by the cultural or societal expectations surrounding her.Austen's representation of Elizabeth and her response to Mr. Collins is very similar, with the mocking view given to the reader through Elizabeth's internal response to his proposal. Austen describes Elizabeth's response to Mr. Collins as finding, "the idea of Mr. Collins, with all his solemn composure, being run away with his feelings..." bringing, "Elizabeth so near laughter that she could not use the short pause he allowed in any attempt to stop him farther..." (Pride and Prejudice. P.g. 72)
- This short study on the culture of arranged marriages is interesting in displaying the history of the practice and it's significance to the culture and the makeup of family and societal networks. The emphasis and overall message of this film is the importance of love and the lack of success where arranged marriage or marriage for financial security is concerned, similarly to Pride and Prejudice. However, it is interesting to note that while this is very definitely the case, there is a distinct connection to the importance of cultural preservation and loyalty to one's cultural identity and societal ideals.Lalita often challenges Darcy, the young, rich American designed to represent the Darcy of Austen's creation. Her challenges most regularly center around the defense of India and it's cultural values, a key value being the idea of arranged marriage. This presents a distinct contradiction in her character, as she both defends the practice of arranged marriage and advocates marriage for love in a song after the prospect of a marriage to Mr. Kohli is introduced.
- This contrast of beliefs held by the heroine is reflective in a way of the contrasts seen in Austen's Elizabeth Bennet. While Elizabeth clearly holds revolutionary ideas and challenges the societal expectations, she also walks the line and is careful not to cross the boundary too scandalously.A notable example of her loyalty to the societal expectations and behaviour expected of women in her time can be seen through her reaction to Lydia's leaving with Wickham. Her response to her sister's letter is shock, in which she declares, "'Oh! thoughtless, thoughtless Lydia!" and "what letter is this, to be written at such a moment. But at least it shews, that she was serious in the object of her journey." (189)A similar representation of this scenario can be seen in Bride and Prejudice when Lakhi leaves with Wickham. However, as with many of the themes in Bride and Prejudice, this issue is translated into a more modern problem, with the back story of Wickham's crime against Darcy's sister becoming apparent when Darcy flies to London to talk to Lalita. At this stage the audience is told that Wickham made Darcy's sister pregnant at the age of 16, and then attempted to marry her for her money. This is a far more shocking and taboo problem in today's society than simply leaving alone with a man, it was therefore necessary in this film to create a scenario, through this idea, as shocking and publicly humiliating as a girl leaving with a man alone would have been in Austen's time.
- Another theme that is adopted and adapted from Pride and Prejudice in this film is the idea of class divide. Class divide is far less of an issue in the 21st century. However similar divides still exist, such as cultural divide, and this film's presentation of this emphasizes the timeless nature of the ideas explored in Austen's novel.
- Western culture, marriage and views clearly clash with those in India, particularly in the beginning. This divide drives a notable wedge between the two main characters and for much of the film there is the implication that neither families would be comfortable with a match between Lalita and Darcy.
- The obstacle of this cultural divide is challenged by Lalita and Darcy through the extended time they spend together, a further indication of the differences between the nature of love and relationships in Austen's time and the modern age.