Mr. Darcy – A Compulsion, An Obsession No Longer

Remember your first crush, girlies? Who was he? Or maybe the right question would be: how was he? Handsome? Cute? Smart?

Well, mine was a mystery. Damn but the man had me hooked from the get go.

That first crush of mine, I crushed after him for years. Some sort of obsessive, compulsive crush that was! Eventually, with age, I outgrew the obsession. That is not to say the crush died. It was just there, you can say that it set a bench mark, and everyone that came after had to really match up to his image. None could, as much as it pains me to say so. But you know what? There was nothing to match up to. That’s galling (I’ll get back to the why later)!

My First Crush: Mr. Darcy! (I am assuming everyone knows about him, because those who don’t belong to another universe. Seriously, how can anyone not know about THE Mr. Darcy!)

For years I judged guys, some of them I now realize were genuinely nice, with Darcy-tinted glasses!

How I would have loved to step into Elizabeth’s shoes, even if that meant being locked in book world. A book I agree that could have been shortened—there’s just too much description, I realize that now. Sure, the writing, the prose, the voice is amazing. But it’s heavy, if you know what I mean.

You’d probably ask me why Darcy. Well, that’s simple enough to answer: Because he’s THE Mr. Darcy. You might ask me to elaborate. And that’s just awesome because that, my dear friends, is a million dollar question. Honestly, I don’t know why I loved (past tense, mind!) him.

He had an aura of mystery about him that had me under his spell for years.

Sometime back, a friend of mine decided to do a critical analysis of Pride and Prejudice for our English project. She was working on a deadline and as most students are bound to, hadn’t started working on it till the last moment. She had a night to complete the project, that is, if she wanted to pass the internals. So we thought it best to do it together.

We started with summarizing the story, jotting down our favorite quotes. That went well. Then, mini hell broke loose as we got down to character assassination.

Mr. Darcy was our first victim. What with both of us going gaga over Mr. Darcy!

We both loved him so we thought let’s start with the niceties. That’s when the waters got murky. There weren’t any niceties per se. Those which we did come up with were vague and frankly, not good enough to match that image we had in our heads. You know, THE Mr. Darcy!

Mr. Darcy, in so far as romantic perceptions go, is perfection personified. At least to me he was. He’s the man to make you week in the knee, to set your heart fluttering, to put that starry-eyed look on your face, all of that just at the mention of his name. He had bewitched me, (figuratively) body and (partly) soul. Why do girls love him so? Have you ever wondered? I didn’t. Well, not until the project.

Amazing, the pace at which half hour introspection can wreck silly romantic notions. Mr. Darcy is a name well known in the romance genre. Not everyone likes him, I am sure, but he is revered none the less by many. The reader sees him first from the eyes of Elizabeth Bennett as an arrogant, snobbish man of the British gentry, and continues seeing him as she does. You know why? Because his point of view is never mentioned! The reader never really gets an insight into how his mind works. He remains a mystery, up until and beyond the end. We close the book with satisfied smiles at the Happy-ever-after but do we know who we are happy for?

I don’t. When I first read the book, I liked the tension between Elizabeth and Darcy, I enjoyed their courtship (if I may call it that), and I wanted them to end up together. But did I want them to be together because I liked them and could envision how great a pair they would be, or was it just my 13 year old romantic heart hungering after HEAs? I’d say it was the latter.

In the start I’d mentioned that my first crush set a standard, all in my mind, for others to match. I mentioned that no one could because there was, in essence, nothing to beat. It’s galling, I’d reiterate. You crush after a person for years. You’ve put him on the pedestal. And guess what? Just like that the pedestal is gone, whoosh. Of course it’s galling.

I’d say that for a 13 year old Mr. Darcy really is good crush material, so to speak. (Apologies for sounding shallow, I couldn’t think of another word!) But he is not really standard-setting material! Had I crushed after him for a year or so, till I’d matured from a girl into a young woman, that’d have been acceptable! Using him as a yardstick was stupid, though. I don’t know him enough for that. I figure I’ve gotta at least know the person before he becomes THE benchmark-guy.

Think about it? What do you know of Mr. Darcy? To an extent it is left to the reader to decide how to perceive him. My perception was, sadly, rosy. Before Darcy lovers come at me all guns blazing, let me clarify I don’t have anything against him. I like him and the book is still a keeper on my shelf. But I am no longer nuts about him.

When I started writing this piece I had a hazy idea what I wanted from it. In retrospect, I realize I went off tangent! Getting back on the line . . . the initial concept behind the article was to highlight the prejudices the readers have for and against Pride and Prejudice (earlier the title was Prejudice & PnP, kill me!). In homage to my now dead idea, I ask you to sit down for a while and jot yours down as I did mine.

Wondering what exactly mine were? Well here they are:

  1. Mr. Darcy is THE guy! (Until a few months back, that is.)
  2. Mr. Darcy is not THE guy! (Now!)
  3. Pride and Prejudice is Awesome! (Until a few months back, that is.)
  4. Pride and Prejudice is over-hyped! (Now!)

That’s about all! After that I got bored of jotting down. (I do get bored at the drop of the hat!!!)

PS: The quotes by Mr. Darcy, now they, my friend, are a class apart.

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