Pride and Prejudice: Tea Party With Otsuka

2 mins read

In a space normally occupied by twenty desks arranged in a precise order, AP Literature and Composition teacher Lisa Otsuka transformed her classroom into a scene straight out of Bridgerton. Five tables are arranged inside, each with tasteful decorations including framed Pride and Prejudice quotes (“My good opinion, once lost, is lost forever”), bouquets of flowers, a delightful assortment of books, ceramic teapots, and freshly-picked oranges. Soft piano music plays in the background as students chat amongst themselves over tea and scones. 

The Pride and Prejudice tea party occurs every year at the end of the first semester. Otsuka’s students read the famous Jane Austen novel, which explores themes of love, class, familial obligations, marriage, and of course, sarcastic British remarks. The plot centers around the Bennets, a genteel class family in 18th century England, and the arrival of Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley, two wealthy landowners from Pemberley and Netherfield, respectively. The focus of the novel is the relationship between the Bennets’ second eldest daughter, Elizabeth, and Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy. Elizabeth is known for her witty and sarcastic remarks, which explains why Otsuka’s students honor her character by writing a satire of their own. Their topics varied from the arduous college application process to problematic desk designs.  

Jude Wilson with guitar and tasteful mug.

The tea party is held on a block day. The first 30 minutes of class are spent enjoying one another’s company. Students are seated in small groups and are encouraged to catch up and chat with one another while they snack on scones, tea, hot cocoa, and butter cookies, provided by the students themselves. In the wise words of Otsuka, the party was “BYOM (Bring Your Own Mug)”; each student brought their own mug, often at least somewhat representative of their personality. Class favorites were senior Jude Wilson’s mug featuring Sal from Impractical Jokers and senior Carlos Myers-Ascencio’s mug with a charming narwhal. 

The next half an hour is dedicated to the reading of satires. Each student was tasked with writing a satirical passage about a subject of their choosing prior to the tea party. Every attendee presents their satire to their own table, then the funniest (or most interesting) ones are read aloud to the class. Senior Kevin Jiang said regarding the party, “The satires were really fun,” and later added, “I’ve had five cups of tea so far.” The readings are interspersed with class karaoke, which featured the AP Literature students belting out the lyrics to “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen and the fan-favorite “Dancing Queen” by ABBA. Wilson also entertained the class with a plethora of guitar performances ranging from Radiohead to Ed Sheeran.

The class sings a karaoke ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’.

Given that the novel is set in 18th-century England, it only makes sense to hold a British accent contest. Each table nominates an individual whom they think has the best impression of a British accent. Then, the chosen one says their phrase aloud to the class, and the class determines the winner. From Otsuka’s 4th period, the winner was Minh Nguyen, with his short and sweet phrase, “Poppycock!”, which was only made more realistic by the presence of a top hat and spectacles. He truly looked like the protagonist of a Dickens novel. 

The ambience of the whole event can be summed up in the wise words of Eduardo Sanchez, who said, “It was wonderfully delightful.”

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