Lizzie Bennet as unlike “Other Girls”

So first of all, here’s a link to the article I was telling you guys about in class:

What’s so interesting is how this concept of being unlike “other girls” has been a staple in literature surrounding female heroines for quite some time, as we can tell with Lizzie in Pride and Prejudice. Mr. Bennet describes Lizzie as separate from her sisters, for, “they are all silly and ignorant like other girls; but Lizzie has something more of quickness than her sisters” (2).

So the question is, why must the female heroine be different from other girls? What’s so wrong with the rest of the female population that one is applauded for straying from the rest of her sex? Lizzie is special for although she is different from other girls, she is also not so different that she is unattractive. All of Lizzie sisters have one set of attributes designated to them, Catherine and Lydia are girlish and immature, Jane is beautiful and gentle, Mary is a pedantic book-worm.

Mary, one could argue, would be a good example of being unlike other girls. She is a book-worm who likes to show off her accomplishments. She’s moderately anti-social for she likes to practice her music and read in order to achieve more knowledge and talent. She is written as having no genius, yet she strives to gain intelligence. Because of her anti-social nature and lack of outer beauty, she cannot be unlike “other girls” in the way that Lizzie is.

Lizzie is a vast array of conflicting attributes, some positive, some negative: she’s pretty, sensible, sharp-tongued, intelligent, witty, and bookish. Because she has more positive than negative attributes, she is worthy of love and affection. Because she is social in nature and because her wit comes naturally to her, and she does not have to practice it like Mary, she is truly unlike the other girls, because being unlike other girls enhances her value rather than dampens it like Mary. Due to her possession of just the right degree of difference from the rest of her sex, she gets to have a happy ending. She gets to still be feminine and beautiful, like a woman should be, but she is witty and clever, like not all women are. Because she is a complex human being with conflicting emotions and attributes, she is different, unlike all of the one-dimensional females that exist in her universe. She gets to have the happily ever after because she hit the jackpot of being unlike other girls. Just the right degree of standing out from the rest of the crowd, but also blending into it.


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