“Darcy needs a woman to force him to change” Lizzie does NOTHING!!! she yells at him ONCE and then AVOIDS him meanwhile he’s sitting around agonizing over being A Little Bit Rude in that letter he wrote after his crappy proposal and probably moping to his baby sister about how he completely blew the only chance he’ll ever have w this girl by being a dumbass!! they interact ONCE between the two proposals (not counting him wingmanning Bingley bc he’s still operating on the assumption that she thinks he’s an asshole and doesn’t want to talk to him so he leaves her alone) and then she can barely look him in the eye she’s so mortified about how harsh and wrong she was in her first impression i cannot stress enough how little effort Lizzie put into encouraging Darcy to suck less!! She worked significantly harder at the end of the novel trying to convince him that he actually didn’t suck that much to begin with and she was just being a judgmental jerk than she ever did trying to Change Him For The Better
Yes! This. Darcy does all the heavy lifting. Basically, Lizzie’s rejection puts up a mirror for Darcy to see himself as the wider world does, and it shames him because he doesn’t see the man his parents are trying to raise. And then he goes about trying to do better, make a real effort at civility, and he doesn’t expect to get anything out of it. He only proposes again because Lizzie’s response to Lady Catherine awakens hope that he might have a chance. And that response was borne out of the same blunt honesty that informed Lizzie’s rejection of the original proposal. It wasn’t like she was trying to do anything.
I was re-reading the ending of the book to pull quotes for my rebuttal against that dumbass marysue article and may i just say one of the best parts of the ending is both of them apologizing to each other over and over and being like “i was wrong about you you’re perfect” “no I was wrong YOU’RE perfect” back and forth anyway here’s a good Darcy quote from the end of the novel re: him reacting to and changing in the face of her criticism
“The recollection of what I then said, of my conduct, my manners, my expressions during the whole of it, is now, and has been many months, inexpressibly painful to me. Your reproof, so well applied, I shall never forget: ‘had you behaved in a more gentlemanlike manner.’ Those were your words. You know not, you can scarcely conceive, how they have tortured me;—though it was some time, I confess, before I was reasonable enough to allow their justice.” (ch 58)
the jane austen fandom has come out swinging today and i’m so here for it
She did not ‘fix him’, like we see in so many ‘romantic’ stories. In so many non-romantic stories. She was the catalyst, yes, but he fixed himself. A flawed character independently took responsibility for their own actions and worked to better themselves, and not to then gain a prize.
Such a perfect story.