Open Our Eyes

When Elizabeth Bennet reads Mr. Darcy’s letter of explanation in Pride and Prejudice, she is ashamed of her own pride and vanity: “ ‘How despicably I have acted!’ she [cries]; ‘I, who have prided myself on my discernment! I, who have valued myself on my abilities! . . . Had I been in love, I could not have been more wretchedly blind! But vanity, not love, has been my folly.’ ” She ends with this: “Till this moment I never knew myself.”

Elizabeth Bennet feels especially humiliated by her misjudgment of Mr. Wickham. She, who prides herself on her ability to judge well, fails to discern his true character. She judges him by his outer appearance and his “person, countenance, air, and walk.” She is charmed by his “agreeable manner” and is a “happy woman” when he sits with her, after catching the attention of “almost every female eye.” Ultimately, Elizabeth’s own pride deceives her.

Jane prayed

Have we thought irreverently of Thee, have we disobeyed Thy Commandments, have we neglected any known Duty, or willingly given pain to any human Being? Incline us to ask our Hearts these questions Oh! God, and save us from deceiving ourselves by Pride or Vanity.

What is the state of your heart today? How do you see yourself?

Dodge, Rachel. Praying with Jane: 31 Days through the Prayers of Jane Austen. Baker Publishing Group.

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Rachel Dodge

Rachel Dodge is a Jane Austen scholar and the author of Praying with Jane: 31 Days Through the Prayers of Jane Austen. She teaches college writing and literature classes and gives talks at local book clubs, libraries, and literary groups. Rachel is a regular contributor to Jane Austen’s World blog, Write That Book, Regency World Magazine, and the award-winning Inspire Writers blog. She was the keynote speaker at the Sacramento Public Library’s “How Austentatious!” series, Notable Books series, and 2014 Jane Austen Birthday Tea. Rachel is a graduate of the University of Southern California (B.A. in English and public relations) and California State University, Sacramento (M.A. in English literature). She wrote her Master’s Thesis on etiquette in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and won the 2005 Dominic J. Bazzanella Literary Award in non-fiction for “Pictures of (Im)perfection: Jane Austen’s ‘Delightful’ Elizabeth Bennet.” She is an active member of Inspire Writers, JASNA, JASNA Greater Sacramento, the L.M. Montgomery Institute, Write that Book, Literary Life, and several Downton Abbey and Jane Austen fan clubs.