Thursday, May 19, 2011

I've Got a Dream: Mr. Darcy

On Monday, I used Flynn Rider as an example of a character whose dream changed. Mr. Darcy is exactly the opposite--his dream stayed true, but in order to achieve it, he had to change.

Darcy does a superb job of hiding his growing attachment to Elizabeth. This is largely because he thinks he can't possibly marry her, and therefore it wouldn't be right to show more affection, knowing he can't follow through with a proposal. His attentions are more overt in Kent, but by then, Elizabeth is so convinced he dislikes her that she misreads them completely. The first clue she has of his dream is in his proposal at Hunsford.

Disastrous! He's at a crossroads now; he can either give up on his dream of Elizabeth, or he can work to become a man capable of pleasing "a woman worthy of being pleased."

He of course chooses the latter, which is why women world over have fallen in love with him. Months later, after misunderstandings on both sides, he turns to her in response to her thanks for his actions regarding Lydia and says, "You are too generous to trifle with me. If your feelings are still what they were last April, tell me so at once. My affections and wishes are unchanged, but one word from you will silence me on this subject forever."

This is the story arc I'm in the middle of right now. He tells her later in that same passage that though he was angry with her at first, "my anger soon began to take a proper direction." Her words, "had you behaved in a more gentleman-like manner," started a transformation inside him, but it didn't happen over night. That gradual change from indignation to regret isn't easy to write. I begin to think Jane knew what she was doing when she followed Elizabeth rather than Darcy!

So today I have two questions. First, how long did it take Darcy to get past his anger, and second, what was the inciting incident that turned his thoughts in another direction? I already have some ideas on the latter, but I'm interested in your opinions.