Can you tell me more about your decision to put Darcy in Hufflepuff? I am a Hufflepuff-identifying person who is often awkward and sometimes rude, but my reasoning is that I value kindness and honor over everything else, even if I am unintentionally unkind sometimes. I'm wondering if your reasoning for Darcy was similar, or if he just didn't fit anywhere else.
Certainly! Darcy as a Hufflepuff was a very deliberate choice on my part, because I think he does exemplify some of the better qualities of the house. Some have said he’s a Gryffindor, but I think that’s the knee-jerk urge to put any hero in the “heroic” house; but just because Gryffindors are known for their bravery doesn’t mean no-one else can ever do anything brave.
I think what I had to look at was what I felt the overall strongest positive traits were in Darcy, and despite his awkward ways, his deepest character element seems to be his loyalty. Even when he does wrong (separating Bingley and Jane) he does truly believe that he is doing what is best for his good friend. Later, even when he feels he must no longer have any real chance with Elizabeth, he keeps faith with her enough to perform a great and selfless service to her and her family, without ever asking for recognition or reward.
There’s a tendency to treat Hufflepuff as the Nice House, which I think does a disservice to people in general, really, because people can’t be categorized so neatly. (Except Jane and Bingley who are ANGELS but they are outliers and should not have been counted.) In every house there are examples of how their major traits can lead people into wrong choices and actions–Gryffindor’s bravery leading to reckless stupidity; Ravenclaw’s intelligence leading them to be too cerebral and unconnected; Slytherin’s ambitions leading them to brush aside anything which does not serve their purpose; and Hufflepuff’s loyalty and hard-work ethic perhaps leading to a kind of single-minded pride which may cause hurt to others.
Darcy is very careful–particularly after the incident with Georgiana, and in his own nature, he is not inclined to take risks. His proposal to Elizabeth is almost as much of a shock to him as it is to her. He’s a conscientious master of Pemberley, well-regarded by his employees and tenants, which speaks to his work-ethic as the manager of such a vast and important estate. Even after his rejection by Lizzy, he works to change himself, if only for the sake of acknowledging that She Had A Point. He does not initially expect to win her after such a rebuke as she left him with.
His honour forces him to delicately explain the truth of what happened with Wickham, as well as what happened with Bingley, and his honest involvement in it. He explains his motivation, there, without trying to soften what he did–only laying out the bare facts and what he had understood, even if he was wrong. Elizabeth, still in a rage on Jane’s behalf, cannot at first even acknowledge that, yeah, okay, her mother totally gave the impression that the girls were after rich husbands, and Jane herself is a touch too diffident when it comes to showing her true feelings towards Bingley in public, besides being A Friend to All making it very hard to read when she actually really really likes someone because she acts like she already really really likes everyone.
All this to say that Darcy is, to my mind, one of the huffliest puffs.