Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 315
Despite its comedy, Bridget Jones's Diary has some thematic elements. It is a satire on the hopes and dreams that many women have for themselves and, at the same time, a critique of those hopes and dreams. Bridget is in many ways the typical educated woman who holds herself to high standards. She wants to lose weight, reduce her drinking, have a good career, and find a boyfriend. She tortures herself to achieve these goals, and she realizes that at times, these goals are in opposition to each other. For example, she can't always keep her weight down while seeking to find the perfect relationship.
In many ways, as the enotes commentary on the book has noted (see the link below), the novel is a modern-day Pride and Prejudice. Like Elizabeth Bennet, Bridget is on a quest to get married (or at least is expected to get married), and she feels that the people around her look askance at her for not being at least in a relationship. However, in her quest to find a mate, she constantly makes wrong decisions and embarrasses herself. She continuously embarrasses herself in front of Mark Darcy, and her family has humiliating issues, much like the Bennet family in Austen's novel. However, in the end, Mark declares his love for her, and she realizes that love and dating are not as predictable—or controllable—as she had imagined. Like Elizabeth Bennet, Bridget is great in spite of herself, not because of what she intentionally tries to do.
The novel is in many ways feminist. Though Bridget tries to adhere to traditional ideas about a woman should be, she also finds that she simply cannot adhere to these traditional norms. Instead, it is her verve and outsized personality, as well as her humanity, vulnerability, and fallibility, that make her lovable to the reader, to Mark Darcy, and even to herself.