Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice: A Very Short Review

Anyone who knows me knows I love Jane Austen. It was inevitable that she and her novels would appear on my blog. First up is a brief review of Pride and Prejudice.

prideandprejudice-bookcover22

Last year marked the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, which was originally published in 1813. Now, before you stop reading this review about a 200-year-old novel, let me mention that there have been hundreds of literary adaptations ranging in titles from Mr. Darcy’s Daughters by Elizabeth Aston to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith. In addition, there have been nearly as many screen adaptations—a version by A.A. Milne in 1936 (yes, the author of Winnie the Pooh), a Broadway musical, and Bridget Jones’s Diary. One of the most popular versions is the 2005 film starring Keira Knightley.

The novel opens with the famous phrase: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife,” and the rest of the novel seeks to prove this “universal truth.” It is no coincidence that the novel’s original title was First Impressions, because the central characters Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy immediately dislike each other based only on their initial opinions. Austen’s novels have remained popular because of her humor and her ability to create realistic characters. If you read Pride and Prejudice, you will definitely laugh and probably recognize someone you know in at least one of the many characters.

Several couples move toward marriage throughout the novel—including Elizabeth’s sister Jane and charming Mr. Bingley, but this novel is not simply a love story. Some couples face more challenges than others. Darcy and Elizabeth in particular must overcome their faults (of, you guessed it, pride and prejudice) before they can understand and love each other. Austen says that “We are all fools in love.” Of course, I don’t have space to discuss all the subplots such as the scandal of Elizabeth’s sixteen-year-old sister running away with a militia officer or of Mr. Collins proposing to two women within 11 days. You’ll simply have to read the novel to discover them yourself! But, to help you navigate the busy world of Pride and Prejudice, here’s a character map to help you keep them straight. And one last thing for any men who actually finished reading this book review: take notes on Mr. Darcy. He is the original for most men in romantic comedies. Ladies love him.

Pride_and_Prejudice_Character_Map

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Back to School: 10 Things I’ve Learned Since Graduation

Back to school

Today I had to run to Walmart for a list of cleaning supplies and a gallon of milk, and I couldn’t pass the crowded school supply aisles without a pang of nostalgia. It’s hard to believe that it has been five years ago this month since I was a shy college-bound teenager shopping amid those seas of brightly color-coordinated college dorm decorations and school supplies.  Sometimes it seems that many more years must have passed since then, and other times it seems more like it was only a few short months ago.

Nobody can actually prepare you for life after college. When you’re in college, you think you’re an “adult”; but in reality, college is basically a bridge between high school and the adult world. I learned so much in four years at college, but I think I’ve learned even more in the months since I graduated.

quarter life

The “real world” is simultaneously exciting and terrifying. Nothing can actually prepare you for the massive life transition. I think that the  term “Quarter Life Crisis” is a good way to describe the difficulty of figuring out how to become an adult. Learning this is something we all have to do on our own, but I think stories and advice from people who have experienced it can definitely help. I know it has helped me, and I wanted to share some of what I’ve learned recently:

1)  I am braver and stronger than I ever thought. It’s amazing how much inner strength you can find when you’re forced to use it.

2)  Some people in life won’t like me, and that’s O.K. I’ve worked with some difficult people. I can’t allow someone to make my life miserable, and it’s also a challenge to keep a positive attitude in a not-so-positive environment.

3)  Being alone can be extremely painful, but God really is always there. It’s true.

4)  My family is my biggest blessing.

5)  Friendships will never be like they were in college. We’ve all read the articles about college friendships being different than other friendships throughout life. They are. Making friends after college is hard work. It can be discouraging, but it just takes a lot more effort and intentionality than it did in college.

6)  It isn’t healthy to spend too much time being nostalgic. I’m guilty of this, and I have to tell myself not to dwell on past memories so much that I forget to look up and make beautiful new ones right now. This reminds me of the C.S. Lewis quote: “There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”

7)  Perspective is important. Another quote comes to mind, this time from Abraham Lincoln: “If you look for the bad in people expecting to find it, you surely will.” Surround yourself with positive people, and it will be easier to see the good.

8)  No job is a waste of time or credentials. It’s easy to feel entitled; we did after all just finish a long four years of schooling to have a degree that supposedly gives us the right to have a job in our field. I think that one of the most important lessons I took away from college is that I need to always be willing to learn. And I can do that no matter where I’m currently working.

9)  Fill your free time with good things. Instead of spending hours on Netflix, Facebook, Pinterest, Buzzfeed, etc.—which I have been guilty of many times—go explore somewhere  you’ve never been, read a good book, volunteer, learn something new. Don’t waste your days. Life is too short.  

10)  And finally, don’t give up. Don’t be afraid of life’s changes. One Bible verse in particular has helped me recently: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9). God understands our struggles, and He will always be with us.

I’d recommend making your own list of what you’ve learned recently (and feel free to comment some of them on this post)! My list definitely helped me realize that no time is wasted if you’re learning from it. And learning outside of a classroom is a different type of learning—one I believe that we will use for the rest of our lives. For all of you out there struggling with me through the “Quarter Life Crisis,” just breathe and know that life is a constant adventure, and we are never in it alone.

 

 

Become a Fighter: Porn Kills Love

We’ve all been there. Anyone who spends time on the internet has most likely experienced a frantic scramble to exit all the pornographic pop-ups. If we’re going to be totally honest, most of us would probably admit that our eyes have lingered a few seconds too long on some of these images. And for some of us, these images have led to the consumption of more and more pornography. Whether or not we can relate to this experience, most of us can probably agree on two things about porn: 1) it is addictive, and 2) it has become much more prevalent and more socially acceptable.

The debates usually start when someone says that porn is wrong or harmful. But with pornography quickly becoming more pervasive, many people are trying harder to understand its effects on us as individuals and as a society. Scientific research has even uncovered the facts that porn harms our brains, our relationships, and our society—much like other drugs do. This is where Fight the New Drug found their name and their mission.

like a drug

Fight the New Drug is a growing movement that “exists to provide individuals the opportunity to make an informed decision regarding pornography by raising awareness on its harmful effects using science, facts, and personal accounts” [1]. Their mission is made up of four parts—media, mobilization, recovery, and protection.

Media is probably the best way to reach a younger audience—especially online social media since most of us spend plenty (if not too much) of our time connected to the nearest wi-fi network. FTND (Fight the New Drug) is focusing on a “youth-driven movement” since we as young people have the power and the passion to make an impact on our world. The second part—mobilization—gives us the tools and information to get involved. The last two parts—recovery and protection—offer resources to those struggling to overcome a pornography addiction or to parents hoping to protect their children from ever becoming entangled in porn to begin with.

But don’t just take my word for it. You should visit FTND’s website at www.fightthenewdrug.org to learn more about the negative effects of pornography and FTND’s mission to empower our generation to make a difference.

Fight the New Drug’s awesome website is relevant to our tech-savvy generation and presents facts and stories of pornography in an engaging format that doesn’t lessen its weighty impact. The team’s creativity is obvious in the website, blogs, signs, posters, and videos. I’d be willing to bet that spending ten minutes or less on their website will challenge and inspire you to get informed and maybe even “become a fighter” yourself.

FTND logo

[1]   “ABOUT.” About. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Aug. 2014. <http://www.fightthenewdrug.org/about&gt;.