Friday, April 23, 2010

Is Edward Cullen a modern Mr. Darcy?

Do I dare compare Pride and Prejudice with the Twilight sagas?  A most beloved classic and a pop culture phenomenon?  I can almost hear the intake of breath from Austen devotees.  :)  I know they are two very different things, but how different are they really?  I don't mean to get any feathers ruffled, but the more I dive into Darcy's character, the more parallels I see to a new literary heartthrob (not the actor heart throb), Edward Cullen.  If we can separate Colin Firth and Matthew MacFadyen from the literary Mr. Darcy, then we can pull Robert Pattinson, "purdy" as he may be, away from Edward Cullen and examine the men from the books.

Let's really look at the two and try to get past the whole fantasy vampire genre.  Darcy and Edward are both good decent men (slash vampire.)  They are both very reluctantly drawn to a strong young woman that they meet by chance with lots of other people around.  Each are surprised by their unexplained attraction and initially treat the objects of their desire quite horribly, in hopes that Lizzy and Bella will stay away from them.  Darcy and Edward are uber-rich, brooding, intelligent, and have lost their parents.  They both dress impeccably and are from completely different worlds than the ones Lizzy and Bella come from.

Even though both books are about our heroines, their love interests interest us all for the same reason.  We just love tortured men!  If there was a contest, Edward would win hands down for most tortured with the whole "I'm a vampire and had no choice in becoming one", and spends his waking hours (which are all of them) quelling an unrelenting thirst for human blood.  He knows that he should stay miles and miles away from Bella because he's afraid that his darker instincts might overpower him if he gets too close to her.  But Darcy in his own tortured way was all alone in the world and doesn't know how badly he needs Elizabeth until she flatly rejects him in Hunsford.  We don't get to see him beyond when he and Elizabeth are in the same room, but we get the idea that he spends the majority of his time trying not to think about her, yet inventing ways in his mind to be near her.  And there is nothing sexier than a man torn to bits over a woman he can't or shouldn't have.

When Darcy first met Elizabeth, he flatly refused to dance with her and called her "tolerable, yet not handsome enough to temp him" within her earshot.  Ouch!  But we all know that it was only a knee-jerk reaction to his instant attraction to her.  Edward saw Bella from across the cafeteria and couldn't read her thoughts.  That was intriguing, but when he got a whiff of her in Biology class, he literally had to lean away and not take a breath for fifty minutes.  Poor Bella even sniffs her own hair to make sure she isn't the one offending.  Like Lizzy, Bella was absolutely mystified why and how he could be so suddenly repulsed by her.  Each lady was left with bitter memories and did not look kindly on the man who acted repulsed.

Interestingly enough, while fighting his attraction, Darcy still asked Lizzy to dance at the Lucas gathering and again while Lizzy was staying at Netherfield.  Which shows us that there was a real war going on in his head.  He then decided that he would not speak to her if he could help it, after he realized where his heart was heading.  Austen writes a scene where the two are in the same room alone for quite some time without saying a word to each other, but we all know that their thoughts were full of each other.

Struggling with his attraction, Edward couldn't help but save Bella when he saw a car skidding straight for her.  But after the hospital, when he fully realized what danger they all were in from his attraction, he did not say a word to her for six weeks, though they sat next to each other in Biology class each day.  Bella narrates the book, and every once in a while she thinks she sees Edward's head slightly incline her way when she is talking to someone else, but she can't be sure.  Well played, Stephenie Meyer.  I was on edge for those six weeks!

There is just something about being in on how tortured each man is--longing for and wanting the girl, but holding back.  And that is one thing that I tried to do in my book--let everyone in on Darcy's struggle.  I longed to know what he was thinking in P&P, and this was my interpretation--he could not get her out of his head.  I even touch on Colonel Fitzwilliam's struggle.  He gives up Lizzy because he knew in the end, it was for the best.

And there is most likely a longing in all of us to be the object of such love.  Maybe the extra handsome produce manager looks forward to your weekly shopping trips, and switches his hours with someone knowing that you come at 5:30 every Wednesday evening.  Maybe he thinks you are too good for him with your Jimmy Choo shoes and your Lexus parked outside, so he barely says anything to you, but he thinks about you all the time while he works his way through graduate school.  And even though you are attracted to him, you think he is a huge snob because he smiles and heartily greets everyone but you.  Heavy sigh. 

It's highly intoxicating, and that is why there have been two centuries of women in love with Mr. Darcy, and now droves of youngsters and cougars alike who can't get enough of Edward Cullen.   It's a delicious formula that works and has held up for over two hundred years.

I did it.  I just compared Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy to a sparkling vampire.  If Jane will forgive me for writing a fanfic with her dearest characters, then maybe, just maybe she can forgive me for this...


  1. LOL! Jane will forgive you for the comparison, and don't worry about being attacked by Janeites. Anyone who has a problem with the comparison probably hasn't read either book(s). I happen to agree with you and have crushes on both literary men, or boy/man in Edward's case. There are similarities between Darcy and Edward, and you are right about women loving a tortured man. But better on the page or screen than in real life!

    Congrats on finishing your book, BTW. I have already left comments on AHA, but thought I'd do it here as well. You deserve tons of praise. It is amazing, truly the best fanfic I have ever come across and the ending is so incredibly beautiful, heart wrenching and completely satisfying. My heart was racing and I felt like I was getting soaked with Elizabeth and Darcy in the rain. You wove in humor, raw emotions and just the right amount of angst. It was a lovely ride. And I loved getting into Darcy's head. I can't wait to see what else you have up your sleeve, and just know that a publisher will want you. Best of luck!


  2. I'm already in love with your grocery store romance. Write it!! Amen on the Edward and Darcy comparison. I always felt they were similar in character, but distinct in other ways.

    To tortured men-- May they entertain us, but stay far away!

    Ashlee (who should be studying)

  3. Hi girls!

    Glad you want to keep the tortured men at bay. :0) I'm all up for writing a grocery store romance, but it sounds a bit like "Win a Date With Tad Hamilton" which is such a cute and surprisingly funny movie, but our love birds are grocery store employees there. I'll think about it more and write it my idea book for when I finish my current book (not this one). I'll reveal more about my new one which also has a Jane Austen theme (but is not a fanfic) soon. Thanks for visiting me!

  4. Hey hon! I love your comparison! LOL
    I just recently crossed over to the Twihard side. I read the entire saga on my trip!! AAHHHHHH! The more books with Darcys and Edwards... the better I say!! Another thing that I find wonderful is that Edward is born from another era... Maybe he knew Darcy?

    Okay... I am being silly. I just love these kinds of stories! I am looking forward to a reread of yours now that you have been doing some changes etc.... As soon as my upcoming art show is up! Talk to you soon sweetie... can't wait for some brainstorming on some Jane inspired art! xo

  5. Carrie! I missed you!!! I'm so happy to hear from you!

    I've been writing like a mad woman this weekend, and have almost finished adding my 17,000 words! Only 1,000 to go! (It sounds like a lot, but it's probably only about 2 pages worth.) I've added lots of fun stuff in almost every chapter. I'm hoping to get it off to a few select publishers by the end of the week. (She crosses her fingers.)

    I'm so glad that you read the Twilight series on your vacation. I love those books, and frequently reread the first three. I ADORE Jacob, and honestly think that she wrote the most compelling love triangle I've ever read. I actually cried when Bella broke up with Jacob while he was all crushed in his little bed, and then she sobbed uncontrollably all night long. Jacob reminds me so much of my husband, his humor and the way he loves Bella but doesn't handle her with kid gloves. The last book sort of changed gears and had a completely different feel to it, but after I reread it, I appreciated it more. I think that I just missed the love triangle most of all. I'm gonna write me a real involved love triangle one of these days.

    Good luck on your current art show, Carrie. I'm sure you will blow everyone's socks off!!

    Thanks again for checking in with me. :0)

  6. Hi! This is darkwingsdarkwords from I made an account here just so I could leave you comments. Again, I wanted to say how amazing I thought your story was there, and since you've changed some things here I am very much looking forward to reading it again.

    And, while I am not one of Twilight's biggest fans (I think, because of the fact that the vampires sparkle), I will admit that there are some similarities between Edward and Mr. Darcy!

    :) Jamie

  7. Oh! (I was just reading the comment you left above mine) Jacob is my favorite character, which is probably another reason why Twilight fell from being a favorite of mine... I was hoping (in vain, obviously) that Bella would choose him, in the end. It broke my heart when she chose Edward!

  8. Welcome Jamie! I'm so happy to have you here. Thank you again for the kind words about my novel. I will let you all know when I update my chapters.

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