A COUPLE of readers in the Twilight discussion have expressed the opinion that the male vampire hero in the movies and books is no more harmful or unreal than Mr. Darcy, the famous hero of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Leaving aside the obvious problem with comparing the clunky Twilight to the clever characterizations of Austen, I do not think any similarities with Mr. Darcy justify the romantic excesses of Twilight. That’s because Mr. Darcy is a very problematic hero for women.
Darcy is pure fairy tale and yet he is made to seem real. There are no Mr. Darcys in real life and female fascination with this character is unfortunate if it is not conscious of this fact.
I’m not saying that there are no men as intriguingly aloof and strong and interesting as Mr. Darcy. There are. But I think it is fair to say that there are almost no men who are as fantastically wealthy as Mr. Darcy and who yet combine in perfect proportion his arrogance and sensitivity, his haughtiness and emotional delicacy. Mr. Darcy is sublime, but he is one of the most unreal men ever to grace the pages of a minor literary masterpiece.
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