The friendship portrayed between Charlotte Lu and Lizzie Bennet in The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is more effective than the relationship shown between Charlotte Lucas and Elizabeth Bennet in Jane Austen’s famed novel, Pride and Prejudice at producing an emotional reaction from its audience. This is especially showcased in the scene in which Charlotte tells Elizabeth that she is accepting Mr. Collins proposal for marriage (In The Lizzie Bennet Diaries this scene is changed so that Mr. Collins’ proposal is not one for marriage but for a job at his company). This scene showcases Elizabeth’s flaws, the depth of their relationships, and Charlotte’s poverty in comparison to Elizabeth’s privilege in a way that the book does not.
In Pride, Elizabeth quickly files away her emotions to be dealt with at a later time. But in Diaries, Lizzie’s inner turmoil plays out in a volatile way, making it easy for audience members to sympathize with both Charlotte and Lizzie. Lizzie’s exclamations when she first hears the news that Charlotte is taking the offer are much more satisfying than the composed and restrained comments from Elizabeth. Elizabeth and Lizzie’s selfish and egocentric flaws are the focus point of this scene in both versions, but there is something about seeing it play out with real emotions on real people that brings out all the little nuances. This is especially clear when Lizzie says in reply to Charlotte saying that she needs and wants to take the offer, “You don’t NEED to do anything!” (1:17). Her language throughout this episode is almost childish which adds to her image of being a naive woman. Lizzie is unable to understand why Charlotte would be willing to...
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...stand. By changing the Lucas’s problem from having too many daughters to marry off to crippling debt the writers choose a smart way to modernize the story and keep it relevant and relatable.
In Pride and Prejudice, this scene between Charlotte and Elizabeth lasts only a page, but in The Lizzie Bennet Diaries the writers stretch it out so it lasts for four minutes. This is a huge advantage for Diaries, the writers are able to play around with different emotions that are only just touched on in Pride. They develop the friendship between Charlotte and Elizabeth and make it feel less strained as it is in the book. The writers do not try to hide or make Elizabeth’s flaws more sightly as they are in the novel. And finally, they open up Charlotte’s character, giving her new depth and meaning. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is a successful modern retelling of a 200 year old book.
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