An old and dear friend of mine just posted on Facebook an analysis of Pride and Prejudice by Joshua Rothman from the New Yorker. It discusses the choice by the plain and undesirable Charlotte to marry the offensive Mr. Collins. The author’s perspective is that Charlotte was being extremely sensible, given the time in which she lived. Charlotte also acted as a soothing balm to Lizzy’s romantic thrashing and leads her to understand that perhaps accepting Mr. Darcy wasn’t such a bad thing after all.
Lizzy learned that despite marriage, women remained who they were, and could still be friends and confidants despite the presence of men and housewifely duties.
The core of a person isn’t so easily changed; and, conversely, a person can change a great deal, can navigate her way through extreme circumstances, and still remain herself.
I’m not sure about this. I’ve never met a woman yet who remains unchanged by the presence of a man in her life. We’re still too bred to please others, to adjust ourselves to the irrational amongst us, often the men in our world. We still have some inner drive that tells us we aren’t complete without a man, so we drop everything to try and hold onto them. At first.
The problem these days is that we don’t put up with it for as long. We have options now – we are financially independent for the most part or have some escape routes available to us that aren’t as damning as they used to be. So while we may try and please our men for awhile, we get tired quicker and leave. Which I suppose is a good thing…
Until we come to the conclusion that we truly are unloveable and stay with the latest fellah, no matter how unsuitable.
I like men. I enjoy their company. Sometimes, when I am feeling tired or blue or unsuccessful or fat, I think to myself, well, I should just settle, and keep this one or that one.
But it isn’t the right thing, really. I know it isn’t, and that I’ll be restless sooner or later and escape. Or become disengaged, step back, not participate in the relationship anymore.
I’m not Charlotte, nor am I Elizabeth. I fortunately don’t live in the times they did. I, unfortunately, am less willing to believe that living with the wrong man isn’t damaging.