In Pride and Prejudice, what amount of time passed from the beginning to the end? How do you feel about the way their relationship professed from "Wow I totally hate you," to "Head over heels in love"?
The novel opens sometime in early September, I think (prior to Michaelmas, anyway,) and ends before Christmas of the following year, so altogether it’s the space of roughly 12 months or so, give or take a couple.
I mean, it’s inaccurate to say their relationship began at ‘wow I totally hate you’ because that was only Elizabeth’s experience, and it’s her point of view which we follow throughout the novel. Darcy’s an awkward insulting moron at their first meeting, and it’s just kind of interesting how there can be two such disparate experiences of a relationship after such an outset. He quickly comes to appreciate Elizabeth’s attractive qualities, but has little notion how to show his appreciation, particularly as her low connections and ridiculous family DO give him pause, at first, as he later admits (ungallantly,) and only her charms begin to render him helplessly in love with her against his better judgement. He can’t seem to help himself, and after some initial resistance and promising himself that He Can’t and Won’t and Certainly Does Not…oops, there he goes, up to his eyeballs in love with Miss Elizabeth.
MEANWHILE BACK AT THE RANCH, Lizzie’s own rankling dislike for Darcy’s manners and his first and only slight given to her are plumped up by Wickham’s dirty dirty lies, and also Darcy’s meddling with Bingley makes ANOTHER black mark against him, in Elizabeth’s book. So with all that against him, and Darcy being unaware, of course his first proposal is an unmitigated disaster.
Darcy retreats, does his best to set some of the misunderstandings to rights with regards to Wickham, then more slowly goes about fixing the mess he made with Bingley and Jane, and then gets involved in the whole Lydia debacle. He’s been in love longer than Elizabeth at this point, and has continued being in love.
Elizabeth’s progression seems swifter and choppier because she must dismantle her mistaken notions about Darcy and rebuild them with bits of information gathered second-hand from Mrs. Reynolds and the Gardiners, and her own fleeting experience of Nice!Darcy, as well as sifting through more of Wickham’s endless torrents of bullshit.
Darcy was almost always in love with Elizabeth, and Elizabeth always had the capability within her to respect and care for Darcy, had she come to know him, truly. But getting off on the wrong foot, her family being mega-ridiculous, Darcy’s social ineptitude, their investment in Jane and Bingley getting together or not, and Wickham’s rotten liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeessssssssss all contribute to blocking Elizabeth from truly coming to appreciate and love Darcy. Once those matters are rather cleared up, the groundwork has already been laid, and Darcy is clearly worthy of her affection, and so the step to loving him is easily accomplished, by the end. Lizzie has done some serious soul-searching and cringing in the meantime, though, so to say it’s a total leap from Hate to Love in one fell swoop wouldn’t be accurate.
And 12 months or so is more than enough time for me to be satisfied with the progression of their relationship. It’s not like they had Netflix back then, so they had to do something with their time. Like needlework and falling in love with someone’s eyes when you didn’t think they were cute enough to dance with.