Pride, Prejudice and Sibling Rivalry

The Bennet family makes up most of the core characters in Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice." It consists of Mr. Bennet, a father who wishes to remain uninvolved, Mrs. Bennet, a tiresome and interfering woman, and their five children. The five children are all daughters. Jane Bennet is the eldest daughter with Elizabeth Bennet, the main character, following her. Their three younger sisters from oldest to youngest are Mary, Kitty and Lydia.

The sibling rivalry to be found in "Pride and Prejudice" is nearly always, if not always, perpetuated by the silly and annoying Kitty and Lydia. Jane is a sweetheart who gets along with everybody. Elizabeth is mostly just aggravated and ashamed of her two youngest sisters. She gets along with the other two and has no rivalries. No one sees poor Mary as competition.

Kitty and Lydia are very similar in both age and temperament. This not only makes them close, but it makes them vie for the same things. On at least one occasion, Kitty complains that her sister gets to leave town when she does not. Lydia, who is a careless braggart, seems not to care, despite her seeming closeness with her sister.

A common theme throughout the novel is marriage. Mrs. Bennet is obsessed with marrying off her daughters. Her older three daughters do not seem to dwell on the idea much (until the two eldest Miss Bennets fall in love). However, the two youngest Miss Bennets can think of little else. They want to flirt with officers, meet rich men, fall in love with one and get married. They are so open and obvious about their shallow desires that Elizabeth is quite embarrassed by them. Furthermore, they seem to be in a competition, in their own minds, to marry first. It is not said outright. However, after a botched and shameful marriage for Lydia, she brags to her sisters about how she was the first to marry.

Lydia is by far the worst when it comes to petty competition with her sister. Competitions that she seems to be the only one interested in, it is worth noting. However, Kitty and Mary are not exempt from sibling rivalry. Their incidences of it are simply on a much smaller scale. For Kitty, her rivalry tends to start and end with Lydia. Mary tries very hard to be a voice of reason (a somewhat dull one, at that) when her sisters are being ridiculous. It sometimes appears as if this is how she seeks to divert attention away from her sisters. She never prevails.

There are a few other sets of siblings in Pride and Prejudice, but no other sibling rivalry to speak of. Mr. Darcy gets along wonderfully with his sister, Georgiana. Mr. Bingley has a horribly shallow and scheming sister, but she does not appear to be in competition with him over anything, unless you include Mr. Darcy's attention.

Shelly Barclay

My Favorite Quotes About Books: Part One

Like any lover of books, there are moments when a quote about books just hits home for me. Some are silly, some I secretly think are about me and others are quite astute glimpses at the relationship between books and society. They are all awesome. However, like most quotes extracted from the modern libraries of unattributed, misattributed and/or made up quotes, these may be off. If you notice a discrepancy, please feel free to note it and provide a source. Thanks.

"You want weapons? We’re in a library! Books! The best weapons in the world! This room’s the greatest arsenal we could have – arm yourselves!" ~ The Tenth Doctor

For those of you who don't know Doctor Who, go watch seasons one through now of the more recent incarnations. I'm serious. I have nothing more to say to you until you have done so. For the rest of you, you may recognize this as a quote from "Tooth and Claw." The Doctor is trapped by a werewolf and finds one of his temporary companions idiotic when he (the companion) remarks that they have no weapons while standing in a library.

"The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame." ~ Oscar Wilde

There is not much to say about this quote other than that it is unfailingly true. However, I would go on to say "or fear." Some books that are banned for being immoral contain nothing shameful, but they strike fear into those who believe them to be pathways to some sort of religious faux pas.

"Books serve to show a man that those original thoughts of his aren't very new after all." ~ Abraham Lincoln

I love this quote coming from a man who may not have had original thoughts, but was obviously very inspired by thoughts, be they his or those of other people. Nonetheless, I can very much relate to this quote. I often find myself reading something and wanting to sit in a room with the author and express my agreement, saying, "I often think that as well. Thank you for saying it."

Shelly Barclay