I love the idea of New Year’s resolutions, although lately I’ve kind of fallen out of the habit of making any. (Unless you count mine this year to vacuum my bedroom carpets. Which may sound like I’m setting the bar way too low, but I am in the constant and I do mean constant company of a 2 year old who is terrified to the point of tears of the vacuum . . . or else he’s sleeping 3 feet away from, you guessed it, my bedroom. So). But at any rate, this is the time of year when we often seem to think about changes large and small that we’d like to accomplish in ourselves or in our lives.
In Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennet says, “…. people themselves alter so much, that there is something new to be observed in them for ever.” But then later she says of Darcy that she believes that “in essentials” he is the same man that he always was. Now, that’s an interesting question that I would love others’ thoughts on: Does Darcy really change over the course of the novel? Or is it only Elizabeth’s perception of him that changes?
My own personal vote is that Darcy does change. I think that he was always fundamentally a good person, but that his relationship with Elizabeth changes and “humbles” him, as he himself declares.
What about the other characters? Do you think that Jane and Bingley change? What about Lydia and Mary and Kitty? Or Charlotte Lucas and Mr. Collins? I myself don’t detect much, if any change, in the fundamental nature of any of their characters. Mr. Bennet declares himself “heartily ashamed” after his misguided permission to Lydia to go to Brighton ends in her elopement with Wickham. But he also assures Lizzy that he is sure that the feeling will pass “sooner than it should.” So does he really change?
My own feeling is that the characters who change the most in the novel are definitely Elizabeth and Darcy– which I suppose is what makes them the hero and heroine!
What are your thoughts? Do you have any New Year’s changes that you’re planning to make?