How Is Bridget Jones’S Diary Connected To Pride And Prejudice?

Updated 30 September, 2023
Sharon Maguire’s 2001 film ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary’ is quite similar to Jane Austen’s 1813 novel ‘Pride and Prejudice’. The main connection is the theme of prejudices that are engrained in the systemic beliefs associated to social class and gender.
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Jane Austen’s novel ‘Pride and prejudice’ and Sharon Maguire’s film adaptation of it, ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary’ share the same idea of prejudice and social pressure.
Firstly, during the Regency era social class was significantly stigmatised when a prospective marriage was on the horizon, as is so humorously represented through the satire by Jane Austen. What should have simply been the brewing love story between Mr Mark Darcy and Mrs Elizabeth Bennet turns into a war of ideologies, due to systemic prejudices surrounding marrying an individual of a lower status in the 1700s. This is especially displayed when Lady Catherine de Bourgh exchanges the following with Elizabeth Bennet: ‘While in their cradles, we planned the union: and now, at the moment when the wishes of both sisters would be accomplished, in their marriage, to be prevented by a young woman of inferior birth, of no importance in the world and wholly unallied to the family!’. This snippet of dialogue develops Lady Catherine’s apparent frenzied panic at the idea of Mr Darcy marrying a woman of an ‘Inferior birth’, her detrimental remarks a prime example of how society stigmatised people of the same demographic but different social standing.
Another example from Austen of how prejudices about social class impact an individual’s sense of self-worth is again found in the dislikeable Lady Catherine, when she implies that her daughters wishes are of more value than Elizabeth’s. This along with the reference to an arranged marriage emphasises the distress surrounding marrying outside of your class and displays the extent people would go to, to preserve a familiar nature. This provides the audience with contextual knowledge about the severity of this prejudice and how people attempted to preserve it.
Moving along 200 years, to a late 20th century England, where Maguire’s text is set, it seems that nothing much has changed. Although the actual assumptions change, the way in which they impact society and individuals remains the same. This is manifested when Bridget’s mother exchanges the following with her: ‘He’s divorced apparently. His wife was Japanese. Very cruel race.’
An allusion to the now blatant prejudices stemming from culture – not just social status, is when Maguire adds this element to the narrative to show the detrimental impact of sustained prejudice that thrives and in fact evolves, shown here in the shadow of prejudice surrounding the first Queen. Mrs Jones judges Mr Darcy’s ex wife without meeting the woman, when speaking of her, she exchanges raised eyebrows, a sigh and a concerned face. By including the woman’s race after implying that Bridget should meet Mr Darcy, Bridget’s mother almost suggest that Bridget is essentially an upgrade.
Mrs Jones, also a caricature character, exemplifies the prejudices stemming from Austen’s days - her desperate attempt to hook up Mark and Bridget by belittling Mark’s ex-wife displays the negativity connotated to not being married by a certain age. This allows the audience to understand how possessing prejudice opinions are inherited yet changed over time. Alternatively, the way in which prejudice impacts a society and an individual despite the differences of the prejudice in both texts, is effectively displayed.

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