This is Supposed to be Romantic? Literature Editionby Jo W. on Feb, 09 2013
Pride and Prejudice
The objective of Jane Austen’s most famous novel: marry for money and to save face, OR become a spinster and the old ugly cat-lady. Unlike women of the 21st century, staying single and happy is not an option.
The goal of the Bennett sisters is to marry rich men. The men can be boring, unintelligent, and/or ugly, but if they’re rich, it’s all good for their mother, Mrs. Bennett! When the wealthy Mr. Bingley comes into town and becomes smitten with the eldest daughter, Jane, Mrs. Bennett acts like an overeager matchmaker, the younger Bennett sisters flirt with as many men as they can meet, and Elizabeth, second eldest sister, and the homely and socially awkward protagonist, prefers to bluntly speak her mind (I did mention she was socially awkward).
When Elizabeth meets Mr. Darcy in Chapter 3, he disses her RIGHT BEFORE her face:
Mr. Bingley: Hey man, you should go dance with some more girls!
Mr. Darcy: Ugh, your sisters are engaged, and all the other chicks are just butterfaces.
Mr. Bingley: What? But…but…but there are so many hot girls tonight!
Mr. Darcy: You’re dancing with the ONLY hot girl here.
Mr. Bingley: Oh, c’mon, Jane has a younger sister. She’s sitting behind you, and she’s kinda pretty.
Mr. Darcy turns around and glances at Elizabeth, who’s sitting behind him.
Mr. Darcy: Are you for real? She’s ugly! And no one’s dancing with her–what a reject! Go back to getting it on with Jane, Bingley! You’re wasting your time on me.
What follows are lots of debates and heated bickerings between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth for much of the book. Elizabeth grows on the handsome, arrogant, and condescending Mr. Darcy, and he eventually proposes to her out of the blue, but with overtones of how superior to her he is, and how she should feel lucky to be proposed to by a man such as himself. Of course, she angrily rejects him. There’s a lot more drama–a deceptively sweet young man named Mr. Wickham with a sob story comes into town and charms everyone, Elizabeth repeatedly rejects Mr. Collins, who won’t stop hitting on her and even proposes marriage to her (ladies, think of that one guy who keeps asking you out and just won’t get the hint!), and one of Elizabeth’s friends soon marries Mr. Collins out of convenience.
Stressful melodrama everywhere!
The Little Mermaid
Of course, in the Disney version, the mermaid is a ditz who pines for the two-dimensional prince based on looks alone. After some dramatic ocean battle against the obese sea witch ballooned to massive proportions that surpass fatal diabetic conditions, the mermaid and the prince marry and live happily ever after, complete with a giant rainbow magically arching over their wedding ship.
The original Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale is excruciatingly tragic. The premise is still the same–the little mermaid is fascinated by the world of humans, saves a prince from a shipwreck, and falls in love with him. However, the method in which she loses her voice is more gratuitous–the little mermaid agrees to let the sea witch cut out her tongue in exchange for a potion that will turn her fin into legs upon drinking it. The catch for her new pretty legs, in addition to the loss of her tongue and her voice, is that she will feel as though she is stepping on knives with every step she takes. Not only that, if the prince marries someone else, then she will die and turn into sea foam.
Unfortunately for her, her life as a human does not live up to her expectations. The prince, who is oblivious of the fact that the little mermaid is the one who saved him from the shipwreck, treats her more like a award-winning show dog (he lets her sleep on a cushion by his bedroom door, has her accompany him everywhere he goes, and makes her dance before him as his daily entertainment) than as a lover. Oh, and he confesses to her the only woman he can love is a maiden who lives in a temple, who he believes was the one who saved him from the shipwreck. FRIEND-ZONED!
To make matters worse, when the prince meets a princess, and she turns out to be the maiden from the temple, the two immediately marry. So, to add all this up…
sensation of being stabbed in the feet with every step
loss of family and friends
loss of identity
Seeing your love interest marrying someone else and DYING!
To quote my brother when I told him the original tale, “This ruins my childhood!!“
Romeo and Juliet
Sure, one of Shakespeare’s most overrated plays may have spouted some of the most romantic words to ever be uttered by actors (such as “My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand/ To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss,” and “My bounty is as boundless as the sea, My love as deep; the more I give to thee, The more I have, for both are infinite”), but I personally think it’s a story full of pretty words without any of the underlying sincerity.
First of all, Romeo is DESPERATE! At the beginning of the play, he’s sobbing over the fact that he’s been rejected by a girl named Rosaline, to the point that Romeo’s parents are questioning over why he’s been locking himself in his room for the past few days. That evening, he sneaks into the Capulet family’s party with the hopes that he will see Rosaline. Instead, the moment he lays eyes on Juliet, he becomes obsessed with how beautiful she is.
Um, hello? Romeo, you were sobbing over Rosaline one minute ago!
Out of the blue, Romeo grabs Juliet’s hand. Conveniently for Romeo, Juliet digs this, and they both kiss without knowing each others’ names. The following morning, they marry each other.
Did I mention that Juliet is 13? Also, though never explicitly mentioned, Romeo has been estimated to be 16 or 17. Awkward…
Here’s a timeline: THE WHOLE PLAY TAKES PLACE WITHIN A SPAN OF 4 DAYS!
Day 1: Romeo and Juliet meet.
Day 2: Romeo and Juliet get married, and Romeo murders Juliet’s cousin, Tybalt.
Day 3: While Romeo is in banishment, Juliet’s parents, who are oblivious to the fact that Juliet is now married, force her to accept a marriage proposal from a suitor named Paris. Juliet goes to Friar Lawrence for help, and he hatches a plan to have her drink a potion to trick everyone into thinking she’s dead. Then, while she’s in the crypt, he’ll send a message to Romeo to sneak her out of the tomb, and they can escape together.
Day 4: Before the message reaches Romeo, he hears the gossip and believes that Juliet is actually dead. He goes to her tomb and drinks poison, believing that he will be with her in death. Right after he dies, she wakes up. She stabs herself with Romeo’s dagger and they’re now both dead.
Get past the pretty words, and this is just a story of teenage stupidity and infatuation. *facepalm*
Three classic stories do not seem to be enough to rant about, but I think it’s time to end this unexpectedly long blog post.