[Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on darceny.com, a forum for discussing the adaption of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice as “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries“.]

Who’s the Grown Up?
The Lizzie Bennet Diaries
Episodes 16-20

by Abigail Cashelle

In episodes 16-20, the story continues to progress as Jane falls more in love with Bing Lee and Mrs. Bennet continues to demonstrate her perfectness for the role of president of the 2.5WPF club. However, these five episodes work primarily as character development. We learn a lot about 3 major players: Charlotte Lu, Lizzie, and Lydia Bennet.

While Charlotte primarily acts as a foil to Lizzie, in episode 16 we discover a new side to Charlotte: the practical side. Charlotte says that success is a result of luck and hard work and more luck. Of course, the hard work is necessary. But, in the end, you can’t predict happiness, and you definitely shouldn’t bank on it. Lizzie, the idealist (even if also the prejudiced) disagrees and calls Charlotte a robot.

Lizzie continues to narrate her life and the plight of being the second Bennet daughter by using hyperbole to describe things like a national swimming tournament where strong-bodied men invade the town like syrup on a waffle. She also describes one of Mrs. Bennet’s convoluted plans to push Jane and Bing together, and ‘saves’ Jane from it by attempting to eat the green bean gelatin!

Through these episodes we see Lizzie’s protectiveness of Jane, along with her new found interest in George Wickham. At the same time, Lizzie shows some new maturity in her ability to think beyond herself and the things that impact her when she overhears her parents discuss their financial woes. She wonders, “Is this whole marriage fixation a plan to get us out of the house before there isn’t a house to get us out of?”

While Lydia continues to demonstrate that parties and alcohol are her favorite pastimes, she does point out that the existing plans to woo Bing Lee — the “green bean gelatin” plan and the Carter’s plan — haven’t been very good plans, let alone successful. She’s willing to disregard “propriety” and “letting things take their own time” to hold Bing Lee to his promise to throw a party.

These episodes end with the introduction of new character: Kitty Bennet, a cat that followed Lydia home and now follows her everywhere.

Questions

  1. In what ways does Lydia demonstrate that she’s aware of the tensions within her house? Although her plans may be immature, do you think that she sees something her older sisters don’t?
  2. Charlotte demonstrates that she thinks ideals are useful but that everyone ought to have a practical plan. How does this compare to Lizzie’s dismissal of the concept that her parents’ financial woes may be more serious than she thought?
  3. Lydia adds a new item to the list of reasons why Lizzie is never going to get married: #15 — coupons. If Charlotte or Jane were to each compile a list, what would be on their lists?
  4. Hank and Bernie added Kitty Bennet as a response to feedback from the “Internet”. What do you think about their choice & what it says about our perceptions of Austen’s Kitty (and Lydia)?

 

Thoughts?

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