Why my older daughters were eight and nine, I introduced them to the 1995 movie version of Pride and Prejudice. What I didn’t realize, was that the language of the movie was a little tricky for them. I had to push pause often, explain what was going on, then start up the movie again. I wanted them to see the story as an example of what an innocent courtships were like. I’m realistic enough to understand that when they start having relationships with young men, we’re not going to sit around our parlor and discuss how many ladies and how many gentlemen will be at the ball. (Too many ladies!) But what I did want them to see, was how easy it was to be deceived by charming young men and how important it was to have your family help you make relationships.
My oldest daughter was completely taken with the movie. She was worried, “How will we know if he’s a Wickham?” My answer to her was this: “You don’t. That’s why it’s important to see young men in different contexts. To see them get angry. To see how they treat their families. To see their character in all situations.” I also reassured her. “You’re not in this alone. Daddy and I will help you.” She was only partly relieved. She’s holding out for a Mr. Darcy. She’s almost 15 now and still is.
So, what do you think, readers? How can we spot a Wickham? Am I right in my advice to my daughters? And what do we do about the disturbing lack of ladies at the ball?
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