The Sunday Salon -It’s My Birthday!!

The Sunday Salon.com

Yes, today is my birthday for real. June 29, 1973. Other events of less importance that occurred on this day were:

  • The Grateful Dead played at Universal Amphitheatre in Universal, California.
  • George Hincapie, Olympic road cyclist, was born in Queens, New York.
  • On June 29, 1973, Walter Carr opens Elliott Bay Book Co. at 101 S Main Street in Pioneer Square.
  • Elvis Presley was in concert in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • In Chile, a tank regiment under the command of Colonel Roberto Souper surrounded the La Moneda presidential palace in a violent but unsuccessful coup attempt. (the Tanquetazo)
  • In Bayview, Idaho, thirteen UFOs, which appeared as “steady white lights,” were reported over Lake Pend Oreille by a local family. According to one of the witnesses, the objects were in view for approximately one hour and were seen passing over the lake in all directions. They moved swiftly but emitted no apparent noise, according to the family.
  • 40 Carats, a movie comedy starring Gene Kelly opened to poor reviews.
  • Congress approved a compromise with President Nixon on the funding of U.S. combat activities in Indochina, agreeing that the bombing in Cambodia could continue.
  • An amendment finally passed by the Senate on June 29, 1973, after the signing of the Paris Peace Agreements, to prohibit any future use of U.S. forces in the Vietnam War, specifically in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, without congressional authorization.
  • President Nixon establishes the Energy Policy Office. The office is responsible for formulating and coordinating energy policies at the presidential level.
  • Former top Nixon campaign aide Frederick LaRue pleads guilty to obstruction of justice.
  • Cubs were at 47-31, in first place by a margin of 8 ½ games.
  • Queen Elizabeth II passed through Brantford at 5:00 p.m. during a train trip of southern Ontario

Obviously, I was the best and most important thing to happen on June 29th, 1973!

Now, to my reading…

I am still currently doing my Jane-a-thon.  I’m getting ready to start Mansfield Park.  From here on, all the Austens are unknown to me, unless you count watching Clueless, a modern day Emma.  I must admit, however, that I have been cheating.  I’ve been reading The Boat by Nam Le when out or away from my Austen book.  It’s a book containing short stories of Vietnamese people who’ve left their homelands.  I’m in the middle of the first SS, and am entranced.  It’s so good, I almost want to pitch Jane aside for it.  It’s also a book I promised to review, so that’s another reason I want to read it… I have twelve such books!

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Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice

Title: Pride and Prejudice
Author: Jane Austen
Publisher: Barnes & Noble Classics
Publish date: 2003
ISBN: 1593082010

“How despicably have I acted!” she cried. “I who have prided myself on my discernment! I, who have valued myself on my abilities! who have often disdained the generous candour of my sister, and gratified my vanity in useless or blameable distrust. How humiliating is this discovery! Yet, how just a humiliation! Had I been in love, I could not have been more wretchedly blind. But vanity, not love, has been my folly. Pleased with the preference of one, and offended by the neglect of the other, on the very beginning of our acquaintance, I have courted prepossession and ignorance, and driven reason away where either were concerned. Till this moment, I never knew myself.”

Pride and Prejudice, or First Impressions, was first published in 1813 simply “by a lady”.  It is the story of two sisters, the one prefers to view the world through optimism, while the second with sarcasm and pleasure with her own wit and views.  While the first sister, Jane, learns by the end of the book that evil can and does exist in people, and that people can be vicious and cruel all the while wearing a pleasant face and friendly voice.  The second sister, Elizabeth, learns that all is not as it seems on the first impressions, and judgement should be reserved until more facts have come to light.

In Pride and Prejudicewe see Mr. and Mrs. Bennet’s family of five girls and no sons,  whose estate must fall to a male heir,  deal with concerns for their future.  Mr. Bennet prefers retreat to his study and occasionally regret not having saved for his family’s future after his death.  He is permissive of his youngest daughters’ wild and flirtatious behaviour chasing after soldiers.  He continually berates his younger three daughters in deference to the older two “sensible” daughters.  Mrs. Bennet chooses to contrive opportunities for her daughters to be alone with a potential suitor, such as sending her daughter out in the rain so she can catch a cold and be forced to stay at the suitor’s home.  She shows wanton favoritism of her silly, ill-behaved youngest daughters, making a fateful choice to send her to Brighton where the daughter makes a socially reprehensible choice that threatens to ruin the family all together.

The lesson learned in Pride and Prejudice is that appearances are not often what they seem.  Mr. Bingley’s sisters seem friendly and doting to Jane, but it is all an act, as their true feelings are that of superiority and disdain.  Mr. Wickham is attractive, affable, and pleasant, but in truth is a wicked womanizer who runs out on his debts and responsibilities.  Mr. Darcy seems cold, snobbish, proud and ill-mannered, but this is really how his shyness and fear of meeting new people, as well as his choice not to reveal the truth of his past with Wickham in order to defend Wickham’s maligning him.

I have read Pride and Prejudice before, and rereading it reminded me how much fun and funny it was.  Many of the tete a tetes between different characters are delightful: Mr. and Mrs. Bennet’s interactions, Elizabeth and Darcy’s verbal volleys, and best of all, Lady Catherine’s demand the Elizabeth NOT to accept a proposal from Darcy is met with the latter’s socially inexcusable refusal which leaves the Lady sputtering and hissing disdain for the entire Bennet family.

I have found that the first time I read this book, I was definately Elizabeth.  Now, about 15 years later, I am still Elizabeth Bennet.  I tend to jump to judgements, though not as quickly as before.  I am a fierce defender of my family, more now than before.  I have a sarcastic wit that I enjoy in myself, which is richer with the experiences of life and a better understanding of people.  I love and respect those who champion integrity and help the loved ones of the one one loves.  I am, however tempered with a little Jane: I do choose to believe people good until they prove themselves otherwise.

Like Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice could be modernized and be just as true and socially relative as in 1813.  Parents still desire for their grown children to be successful and  happily married to a good person.  Children still die of embarrassment when out in public with their parents.  And the fiercest enemies of happiness is our own friends and family.