Brit Soc Contemp Novs: Blog Post 1 (Bridget Jones)

Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding (1996)

Blog posts due & Presentations: Monday, March 25

Group 1: Why does Bridget have such low self-esteem? What does it mean?

Write a post here of two paragraphs (about 200 words) discussing Bridget Jones’s Diary. Choose one topic, or make your post a reply to someone else’s post.

For the presentations, choose one topic per group. Your presentation must present an opinion or argument; it cannot just summarize the story. You must e-mail or speak to me before your presentation to have it approved.

  1. Why do you think the author wrote the book as a series of diary entries? How does it change how we understand the story?
  2. Bridget often lies to herself in the entries, telling herself that she doesn’t like Daniel or that she will eat better or stop smoking. Why does she do this?
  3. Is it right for Bridget to be trying to date her boss all the time, or is it Daniel who is at fault? Why is she so attracted to him?
  4. Do you feel sympathy for Bridget, or does she get what she deserves sometimes for being lazy or silly or having bad personal habits like drinking too much?
  5. Discuss Mark Darcy. Does he treat Bridget properly, or is he wrong to look down on her initially? Why is he attracted to her?
  6. The novel is sometimes hostile to men, but Bridget’s father seems kind and is hurt by Bridget’s mother. Is there a reason the author makes her mother this way?
  7. Is Rebecca catty and mean, or is it maybe true as some critics say, that she is justifiably jealous of Bridget’s career and adventures? Are there times when Bridget is wrong, or fails to understand other people?
  8. Feminists have criticized the novel because Bridget isn’t very feminist; she can do stupid things and really only cares about getting a man. Is this true? Is this a fair criticism?
  9. Does the novel teach a lesson or have a moral to it? What is it?

20 thoughts on “Brit Soc Contemp Novs: Blog Post 1 (Bridget Jones)

  1. Hye Joon Jeon

    I think Bridget lies can be interpreted in two ways. First, She knows that her actions will be criticized by others. She relieves stress by eating like an eating disorder. Also, it continues an unhealthy love relationship. She lies about this situation because she knows it is wrong. Second, Her lies seem to be a fictional device. The reader can manage a novel through realizing that Bridget tells a lie. I think this is what the writer intended.

    1. Hye Joon Jeon

      Bridget often lies to herself in the entries, telling herself that she doesn’t like Daniel or that she will eat better or stop smoking. Why does she do this?

      A : I think Bridget lies can be interpreted in two ways. I was really funny when she lies at first, but soon I felt it’ll must be some reason why the writer makes her lier.
      First, She knows that her actions will be criticized by others. She relieves stress by eating like an eating disorder. Also, it continues an unhealthy love relationship. She lies about this situation because she knows it is wrong. Her diary is as conscious of the reader as there is a reader. When I read this novel, I felt that Bridget wrote the diary as a novel.
      Second, Her lies seem to be a fictional device. The reader can manage a novel through realizing that Bridget tells a lie. I think this is what the writer intended. This device makes a reader more clever than Bridget. So, we can think and discuss about her action. When I read the novel, I usually sympathize with the main character. In this case, I evaluate her rather than sympathize. I think I’ve really had an experience of understanding the main character when I look far away at her.

  2. Fama Fall

    2.

    In 1995 Bridget Jones was created by Helen Fielding, who finally offered to modern women across the world a relatable character.
    At the very beginning of the book, the fictional British publisher lists her New Year’s resolutions goals such as: drinking less, stop smoking, be more confident, diet and stop falling for “commitment phobics.”
    However, throughout the book we can clearly see Bridget falling out her path, giving up on her commitments and falling in love with her boss, Daniel Cleaver.
    WHY IS SHE UNABLE TO KEEP HER PROMISES?
    From reading the book I believe that the biggest enemy Bridget faces is herself. Her second mistake is wanting to conform to the impossible beauty standards that society imposes us. Society pressures women to look in a certain way, as if the worth of a human being is attached to their appearance. If only she could care less about what others think about her, she would be a much happier person. This’s the reason why her failures are connected to trying to please others. In addition, food and cigarettes are used as coping mechanisms every time she’s stressed.
    Bridget suffers from low self-esteem; therefore, she is an easy target for narcissist men like Daniel Cleaver. Lastly, in my opinion, Bridget is a fake feminist because she uses the feminist and independent woman card only when feels rejected by men.

  3. Chae-eun Kim

    I feel sympathy for Bridget Jones and sometimes she deserves for being lazy or having bad habits. I think Bridget is emotional person and it makes her sensitive and vulnerable to stress. Also, she has low self-esteem. She does not satisfy with herself. She is always looking forward to being better person but the gap between reality and ideals is huge. For instance, she fails to serve fancy foods for her friends at her birthday party. Also, she wears funny clothes to attend the party because she can’t hear the dress code alone. These situations make her more stressful.
    As I said she is sensitive and vulnerable to stress, so she needs to relieve her stress. Most of her bad habits appear when she is extremely stressed. I think it’s a way to relieve stress. In conclusion, it is okay for her to smoke a lot and drink a lot and live a lazy life sometimes because it is the way how she relieves her stress.

  4. Alina Kim

    Q. Why do you think the author wrote the book as a series of diary entries? How does it chsange how we understand the story?

    I think that Helen Fielding wrote a book as a series of diary bacause it makes the book different from the others. Also because the book is written like a diary, the language is simple and honest. (Sometimes we can see some abbreviations) In my opinion much of the charm of this book comes from its honesty and Bridget writes her thoughts, feelings, and happenings as she sees them in her diary. I like the way she begins much of her daily entries with a fally of her weight, alcohol consumption, cigarettes smoked, and some comments on her progress. Throughout this entries we can notice some aspects of her character. For example, when she stressed she eats and smokes a lot, rather than she is in the mood.
    However the book requires first point of view since it is written in the form of a diary, so it prevents readers from ever knowing what Bridget looks like and it limits us to know more details about her life.

  5. Yu Jeong Kim

    5.Discuss Mark Darcy. Does he treat Bridget properly, or is he wrong to look down on her initially? Why is he attracted to her?
    When Mark Darcy first saw Bridget Jones, he liked her. But, he thought Bridget looked bad at him. So, he was away from the party. And when I read a novel, I think Mark Darcy a thorough English man again. So I thought he might have shown a blunt face at first. But while I was reading this novel, Bridget felt more attractive because she was so honest and unable to hide his feelings. She’s always fighting dieting, pondering how to treat Daniel, and being honest about people. So I thought that Mark Darcy would have liked Bridget all the time again and actively helped her and her parents.
    But Bridget loves and loves Daniel from the beginning of the novel. I think Daniel wasn’t a good influence on Bridget, and I don’t like his behavior. But, I thought Bridget liked Daniel’s outwardly wrapped side. On the surface, Daniel looked nice, her boss, and intellectual. Perhaps because of this look I thought, Bridget kept showing favor to Daniel and was panicking whenever Daniel’s love was uncertain. However, as the latter part of the novel went on, Bridget became attracted to Darcy and waited for Darcy’s call. For the reader of the novel, Bridget felt the best choice.

  6. Park Seung Woo

    4. Do you feel sympathy for Bridget, or does she get what she deserves sometimes for being lazy or silly or having bad personal habits like drinking too much?

    As I read this book, sometimes I felt sympathy when a lot of poor events happen to her, and sometimes dissapointed to her indecisive choices. I can remember the ‘smug marrieds’ who made fun of her in a dinner party, and the lazy Bridget who had an absurd plans to serve her friends a nice supper. By seeing this, I thought that she is not a novel’s unrealistic character we can’t find in a real world. Rather she is a woman that we can see easily around us. That’s why I think that Bridget Jones is an adorable character. She is an extremely “normal” person. We always make a lot of ambitious New Year’s plans such as studying foreign languages, losing weight, but we don’t keep it because it’s hard to do. I also made plans to go to a gym and to study English everyday but these days, my main plan after school is just drinking soju with my friends. Like Bridget, I also having trouble keeping my promises.
    So I think that’s the reason why the author made her not that different from us. No matter where we came from, no matter how old or young I am, regardless of my gender, I can identify with her and reflect myself. Really enjoyed this book.

  7. Chaeyoung Moon

    5. Discuss Mark Darcy. Does he treat Bridget properly, or is he wrong to look down on her initially? Why is he attracted to her?

    At first, he looks down Bridget, or he doesn’t treat her properly, although his first impression may have been bad, I think it’s because of his bad experiences with women. He was robbed of his ex-wife by Daniel, and the women he knew were those who were almost always concerned with decorating themselves. But Bridget hang out with Daniel, so her usual behavior would have been a small stone to his eyes.

    Mark would have thought Bridget would act like any woman. However, Bridget has shown a lot of behavior that goes beyond Mark’s expectations. That’s why He thought she was unusual at first. But contrary to what he thought, his eyes would continue to look at her because of her lovely behavior. Seeing that makes him laugh naturally, and it must have been something he hadn’t experienced in his relationship with Natasha. I think those parts made Mark attractive to Bridget.

    1. Chaeyoung Moon

      I think those parts made Mark attractive to Bridget.
      >> I think those parts made Bridget attractive to Mark.

  8. Hye Jin Park

    Q. Feminists have criticized the novel because Bridget isn’t very feminist; she can do stupid things and really only cares about getting a man. Is this true? Is this a fair criticism?

    I think this is reasonable and also understandable criticism. While I read through the book, I can find myself getting upset and furious about Bridget’s action and people acting rude to Bridget. I agree that this book was written in 1996 and at that time, even in England, it was hard to find feminist movements throughout people. However, we need to accept the fact that Bridget’s acts are happening also in 2019. Because of this, we need to criticize (just as feminists did) not just Bridget but also other characters’ words and actions. We need to alarm ourselves through Bridget Jones’s Diary.
    I can see many criticizing points in the book. Of all that, I choose one point, which is that in every beginning of the diary, Bridget writes her weight, how much she ate, and so on. But I thought it was quite odd because Bridget is not fat. Even though she’s not an overweight, she always cares about her body. I can clearly see that Bridget is trying to fit in to the social standard of beauty, which is skinny and glamorous as television stars. I think if we want to make our body skinny, this must be done in healthy mind, which means not getting stress. But Bridget and many women these days are not. We need to stop trying to be beautiful like models or celebrities. I believe that this feminist movement is one of the most active these days, and through this book, we can acknowledge ourselves.
    So I think this criticism is fair and right. Also, I believe it can be great opportunity to be a feminist by criticizing it.

  9. Heewon Lee

    To begin with, I would like to make it clear that is not a ‘real diary’ you can believe someone actually wrote it down. No one reports their daily life in hourly intervals. Nevertheless, the reason why the author wrote the book in diary format, I think, lies in the advantages of the very format.
    First, this format gives limited view of the events to readers and makes the story more interesting. Readers can only see the development of the story in Bridget’s view, but at the same time, they can compare her responses to the actual situations. The difference between the two brings humor to this book. We can clearly see this difference in Daniel’s behavior and Bridget’s thought of him, as Bridget continues to portray Daniel as a hot gentleman, but the readers could only realize he’s not a very good person. Also, Readers can find themselves through Bridget being honest with the diary, and even lying. The scene of justifying herself as if she wanted to avoid the situation she faced would have made many readers reflect on their own experiences, and the scene of Bridget swearing recklessly would have brought a laughter.

  10. Park Kang Min

    Q : The novel is sometimes hostile to men,
    but Bridget’s father seems kind and is hurt by Bridget’s mother.
    Is there a reason the author makes her mother this way?

    In my opinion, the main targets of the romantic comedies are women in their 30s and 40s.

    In case of unmarried 30s, they are actively engaging in economic activities,
    and they have proper status.
    I mean they have economic powers. But, they have no boyfriends or husband.
    It can be make a sense of loss, low self-esteem.
    So, author set up men’s characters those have something lack.
    For example, simple, fool, casanova.
    By this setting, women who are main targets can feel relative superiority.
    So, they can overcome low self-esteem, and feel satisfaction.

    In case of 40s, a large number of them are married and do housework.
    Many of them imagined things those they’ve never experienced before.
    Such as powerful women(mother, wife), and even an affair.
    By setting Bridget mother’s character that way,
    they can get vicarious pleasure.

    For these reasons, romantic comedy can succeed.
    And, I think character setting such as hostile to men is a author’s strategy.

  11. Yoo Jieun

    Q. The novel is sometimes hostile to men, but Bridget’s father seems kind and is hurt by Bridget’s mother. Is there a reason the author makes her mother this way?

    The main reason would be to mimic ‘Pride & Prejudice’ . Bridget’s mother is somewhat similar to Elizabeth’s mother, meaning Bridget’s mother is ignorant and loud. One affect would be to compere her with Bridget, showing how smarter Bridget is.
    The reason for Bridget’s father, seemingly being kind may be seen for the same reason. Elizabeth’s father also has a weaker character compared to Bridget’s mother. He also plays a role to be a comparison and shows how brave Bridget is. For example, when Bridget was thinking about rejecting a party invitation, the only thing she was concerned about was that how to say it. But when Bridget’s father calls her to ask for mental support it shows that he is unstable and try’s to rely on to his child rather telling his friends not to invite his wife and partner.

  12. Kyungho Lee

    1.Why do you think the author wrote the book as a series of diary entries? How does it change how we understand the story?

    I think it the most obvious reason is catching the interest of the readers, since novels that are presented as journals aren’t exactly common. Merely having dates written on top and calling the chapters by the month of is enough to stand out from the rest.

    Another thing about being the diary is that it is easier for the reader to keep up with the events as they chronologically unfold, instead of having to rely on inferring the time, searching for the relation, or direct mentioning of the time in the text itself, Thus, Bridget guides the audience and establishes a clear and coherent timeline that people can easily follow.

    And last but not least, I think the diary is a good medium to present the unreliable narrator, which leaves the room for audience to interpret the scenes as they are all based on her own memories and feelings. Although, in cases like this, the narrator seems to be reliable enough to present more or less factually correct version of events, There is a lot of her own opinion or judgements are in there as well. I think it gives an interesting perspective that readers can appreciate.

  13. Chaeyeon Lee

    8. Feminists have criticized the novel because Bridget isn’t very feminist; she can do stupid things and really only cares about getting a man. Is this true? Is this a fair criticism?

    Yes. I think feminists criticized Bridget correctly. In Jane Austen’s time, to be chased by man or chasing man could be nothing wrong with. And it is true that most of girls have an old cliche that Cinderella meets prince who has fame and money. And I admit that Bridget Jones’ diary is not nowadays novel. In 1996, when this book was wrote, – even I wasn’t born-the society might not cared about feminism like these days. I was born in 1997 and am living in 2019, I could tell myself that only thinking about man is a precise problem and I do not have to. What I am thinking is also my peers’ thinking, I would say. My own opinion affects my friends’ and vice versa. That means, this society now i live in thinks feminism is a serious thing and at that time when this book was written might not. This can justify the writer’s opinion. However, ending the book just same as thr “pride and prejudice” in 21st century, like “find true love,” is a problem. I dare to say that if Helen Fielding wrote the book in last year, the story’s ending could have been diffrent.

  14. Seol JIyeon

    1.Why do you think the author wrote the book as a series of diary entries? How does it change how we understand the story?

    I think there are several reasons the author wrote the book as a series of diary entries. First of all, diary form is unique and interesting. The author seems to think this format is suitable to attract readers’ attention. Readers will feel less bored because they read diary rather than story. The part Bridget write about her weight, the number of cigarettes she smokes, and diet is most appealing part. This is because it best indicates that this is a diary form. Secondly, readers can easily and exactly understand how Bridget feels. Because Bridget speaks her feelings frankly and bluntly. Through this, readers will feel like they are looking into her whole life. Therefore, people who read this diary will be able to concentrate more on her story. And they also easily understand the whole story. Lastly, it is easier for readers to infer what will follow. Each diary has a title. Thus, Readers do not have to find double track in the story. I think this book get a lot of popularity because the author explained the story in a diary format.

  15. Jeong Hayong

    Why do you think the author wrote the book as a series of diary entries? How does it change how we understand the story?

    There are many types of writing, and each types have their own purposes. For example, rhetorical writing is used to convince someone, or statement of explanation is literally for explanation. However, when it comes to the diary, It is very private, or secret, and only for the writer himself. Regarding these characteristics, the author wants to show readers Bridget’s own inner thought without any concealment.
    By adopting the diary style, we readers are able to sympathize Bridget’s mentality more deeply. If it were not a diary style but other styles, the novel would be just a storytelling and we could only see what Bridget do, not how Bridget feel when facing a variety of events in the novel.
    Actually, I was surprised when I first saw the question, because I smoothly accept whole story without any awkwardness that If it were my usual state, I would never do. I think this is why the author wrote the novel in a diary style.

  16. Ah Kyung Kim

    4.Do you feel sympathy for Bridget, or does she get what she deserves sometimes for being lazy or silly or having bad personal habits like drinking too much?

    Before I read this book, I thought Bridget was a woman who was trying to take care of herself and live her life in a deliberate way. However, when I read the book, I felt that Bridget was a poor woman who drops her self-esteem by the high standards set by her own self-reliance. It was also sad that she thought she was very fat because his standards were so ideal and high that she couldn’t reach them, and didn’t want to show her true self in front of others. And if Bridget really thinks of herself, he should try to make her inner self more beautiful, not just to decorate her own face. Like Daniel, I think I should meet someone who loves Bridget, not Bridget’s body, but Bridget herself, and most importantly, Bridget’s first.
    And I don’t think Bridget is necessarily a bad habit to drink or smoke. However, I think it’s right to reduce it a little for the sake of one’s own health, not for anyone because it hurts one’s health. I don’t think it’s right to judge it all as a bad habit just because she drinks a lot, smokes a lot and is sometimes lazy.

  17. LIU, CHIA AN

    1. Why do you think the author wrote the book as a series of diary entries? How does it change how we understand the story?
    I think the author choose this way to write the book is because it’s more privacy and can make readers feel like they are close to the heroine, Bridget Jones, in this book. Even though there are many types of ways to write a novel, keep the novel as a series of diary entries is an interesting and eye-catching way. Readers get to feel the same way as Bridget does, also they may feel like they are a close friend of Bridget.
    Through this kind of writing style, writers can describe many kinds of things, such as the observation of our daily lives, things that around us, people that we know and so on. In this writing style, readers get to know how Bridget thinks of her friends and people around her, readers may feel the same way and know her feelings easily compare to other writing style. If this novel is written in other way, it can be a completely different story and may not be that attractive as the original writing style.

  18. Stella Lupita Doringin

    Q. Is it right for Bridget to be trying to date her boss all the time, or is it Daniel who is at fault? Why is she so attracted to him? (3)
    .
    From the beginning of the book, Bridget knows that she should not be with Daniel Cleaver, or an ‘alcoholic, workaholic, commitment phobic, people with girlfriends or wives, misogynists, megalomaniacs, chauvinists, emotional fuckwits or freeloaders, perverts’, as she wrote it. Almost all of these things that she is avoiding, exists in the living form of Daniel Cleaver. At that moment, Bridget has no idea about that. Daniel Cleaver appears so full of charms: attractive, full of confidence, and seems to be attracted to Bridget at first. Most females can fall for this type of men. Especially Bridget, who is concerned about her love life. As the storyline went on, the bad traits of Mr. Cleaver that Bridget was trying to avoid, unfolds. Bridget was almost there, to having a lover, just as she always wanted. At this point, she does not have much option either. Therefore, despite knowing how Daniel is no good for her, she insists on hopping the bus: hanging in the hopes that he will change.

    I think it is not wrong for Bridget to be attracted to Daniel, at first. However, insisting on the relationship even after knowing his bad traits is what makes it wrong. For Daniel however, trying to please himself is always in his nature. Therefore, I will not bother to compare whether his actions are right or wrong, to Bridget’s actions. In the end, this ‘bad experience’ helps Bridget to find and appreciate a better man. So I suppose, it is not entirely a lost for Bridget.

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