“It taught me to hope as I had scarcely ever allowed myself to hope before.” – Mr. Darcy
Yes, yes, I know that Mr. Darcy was horrible at the beginning of Pride and Prejudice. I also know that many girls watch the movie and think “I can change my awful boyfriend! Just look at how Mr. Darcy changed!”
Although I will be the first to admit that we cannot always rely on someone to change, I still think that the change in Mr. Darcy is worth examining. I think it reveals that his attitude and actions are a result of his past wounds and how Elizabeth played a role in bringing about healing in Mr. Darcy.
Mr. Darcy Wounded?
Mr. Darcy’s future was laid out for him as a child. Lady Catherine de Bourgh tells Elizabeth Bennet that she and Mrs. Darcy planned their children’s betrothal from the time they were infants. He did not love Lady Catherine’s daughter yet he had this pesky family obligation. This left him without hope.
In addition, Mr. Darcy was surrounded by women who left him with little hope of finding a rational creature among them. First, there was Mr. Bingley’s catty sisters, one of whom, Caroline, made no secret of her designs on him. He had to rescue his own sister, Georgiana, after she almost stumbled into the dangerous hands of Mr. George Wickham. And, then there were the Bennet women (Mrs. Bennet, Lydia Bennet) who were only after money, social status and security! These controlling, catty and conniving women left him cynical, bitter and without hope. Everyone has a wound and I believe this was his.
Mr. Darcy’s Hope
Mr. Darcy’s background led him to project this wound on all women in the form of cynicism and rejection. However, Elizabeth was different from these other women. Oh yes, she had her own wounds which left her a little cynical about her own future vocation. Yet, although wounded and with little hope for happiness, she kept her dignity about her. She did not fall for Mr. Darcy while he was in his ‘funk’ nor did she attempt to change him. Instead, her character and virtue, as well as her accurate response to him, woke him from his selfishness, pride and hopelessness. Her reproof humbled him:
“Your reproof I shall never forget. ‘Had you behaved in a more gentleman-like manner.’ Those were your words. You know not, you can scarcely conceive, how they have tortured me. …. You thought me then devoid of every proper feeling, I am sure you did. The turn of your countenance I shall never forget, as you said that I could not have addressed you in any possible way that would induce you to accept me.” Mr. Darcy
The discovery of her character and the integrity of her opinion inspired him to break free of the trap laid before him with Miss de Bourgh. It gave him a spring in his step and a determination to ‘conquer‘ every obstacle. It taught him that it was possible for a woman to conduct herself with dignity. It inspired him to have faith that there was a woman in the world capable of not selling out for money and social status. And, that not all women are manipulative and shallow. It taught him to hope as he had never allowed himself to hope before.
The Modern Mr. Darcy
I believe many of you are dealing with Modern Day Mr. Darcy’s. I believe the hook-up, pornography and divorce culture has wounded men too. I believe it has left them without hope and unable to trust. And, this leaves them cynical, bitter and selfish. They are locked up within themselves similar to Mr. Darcy.
You see, I believe that all men want to be inspired out of this cynicism. And, I believe that virtue is what inspires them. Virtuous women change men.
Some of you may respond to that last sentence with offense. Am I blaming you for men’s behavior? No. Instead, I am sharing my observation about how men need to be inspired and how women have the power to do it.
Some may conclude that men’s behavior and attitudes are a result of their own free will. I would agree. The key is in understanding that we have the power to influence other’s free will. And, with men, this influence requires us women to do very little…..other than to not compromise on our standards.
And that is where we will pick up the conversation next time. God love and bless you!
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