Invisible Worlds: Ms. Bingley and Mary
By Sophia Luo & Amy R. Parlapiano
After reading Pride and Prejudice together this year, we decided to write poems from the perspectives of two women in the story who are misunderstood and brushed aside.
In Jane Austen’s classic Pride and Prejudice, Ms. Bingley is a young woman who has her sights set on Mr. Darcy, a handsome, rich man, who unfortunately does not return her affections. This one-sided love leads Ms. Bingley to harbor some rather unpleasant feelings towards the person Mr. Darcy loves. Here is the poem I wrote from her point of view. By Sophia Luo watching you playfully argue back and forth with her is so tiring she knows all the right things to say the witty remarks the insightful comments her intelligence astounds you and astounds me. she is beautiful of course she is insightful she is everything i wish to be not that i would ever tell her that i lie awake at night crafting imaginary scenarios where you will turn around and say you’re the one for me how could i have been so blind! i fall asleep hopes renewed for tomorrow but when tomorrow comes she is always the one you are looking at she is the one for you but i cannot admit that to myself i refuse to accept it for this imaginary world that i live in is too great to lose.
“While Mary is adjusting her ideas,” he continued, “let us return to Mr. Bingley.” That’s just one of the many dismissive quotes about Mary, one of the five Bennett daughters who has big thoughts and ideas, but is often treated by her family as “silly,” or is simply ignored. Here is a poem from her perspective. By Amy Parlapiano Longbourn is a lifeless town, and I am floating through it Invisible, unnoticed, By my sisters, elder and younger. By my clueless father and mother. I sing, and their ears turn away. I speak, and I’ve ruined their day. Lacking genius and beauty, they say. Without knowing how their words cause me deep dismay. Why don’t they care about my thoughtful soliloquies And my profound interpretation of the wide world around us? Why don’t they see my potential for more than Meryton alone? Where is the adoration for me, Mary? So mistreated, so unloved. Such is the life of the fifth sister, Third in birth order, Last in their hearts. Pushed aside, left behind. That’s what it’s like to be me, Mary.
In Jane Austen’s classic Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennett is the hero of the story, but we see her relationship with Mr. Darcy unfold entirely from her perspective, never getting any insight into what Ms. Bingley, who is also in love with Mr. Darcy, is really feeling. Similarly, Mary is Elizabeth’s sister, but she’s treated as an afterthought by her family. We challenged ourselves to get into their minds, and see what they might say to others if anyone cared to listen.
Sophia Luo is a sophomore in high school in New York City. She loves to write poetry and short stories and is looking to explore different genres of writing. She loves to read and her favorite book changes constantly, but at the moment it is The Hate U Give.
Amy Parlapiano is an editor, writer and cheese-lover who is a first-year mentor with Girls Write Now and a current NFL editor at The Athletic. She is a New York native, a graduate of the University of Michigan (Go Blue!) and, sadly, a life-long Mets and Jets fan.