Pride and Prejudice
Pride and Prejudice:
-Writing Style: In Pride and Prejudice there is very little focus on natural surroundings such as trees, bushes, flowers, or descriptions of the weather. Rarely does Austen describe character’s psychological states, instead this aspect of the characters is revealed through dialogue. The unnaturally flowery language in Pride and Prejudice may be seen by modern audiences as “cold” or “sterile,” but it is this use of language that helps to develop the characters and themes. Exaggeration and hyperboles (in a melodramatic form) are also common writing styles of Austen. In terms of style conventions, the usage of “Miss” and “Mr.” in Pride and Prejudice makes it at times unclear which character is talking, and therefore at times very confusing to follow the story. The frequent dialogue between characters also makes it difficult to distinguish which character is speaking. A number of plot points are also advanced in Pride and Prejudice through the writing of letters between essential characters, which tend to be some sort of monologue regarding a possible theme or conflict in the story.
-Predictions: In Pride and Prejudice there are many predictions that readers could make while reading the novel. If someone were to be around halfway into the book, these are some predictions that the person may make: First that the characters Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth will get married. That Mr. Darcy will become a better person throughout the story and especially during the end of the novel, evolving into someone who is not so prideful. That Elizabeth will learn to not be so judgmental towards others, and also learn that judgment has caused her to perform certain actions, and that it can be harmful to others. Another prediction may be that the Collins’ will not have a happy marriage, for they did not marry on behalf of love, but rather on more of an economical basis. The last prediction would be that if Lydia were to marry Mr. Wickham, that their marriage would only last happily for a short while, as both are very young, and have an unfortunate financial situation to deal with.
Upon completion of the novel many of these predictions come true, while some are left unanswered, leaving readers to wonder, or perhaps make up for themselves, what will happen to those characters not mentioned. Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth do end up married at the conclusion of the book, and go on to live at the Pemberley Estate with Mr. Darcy’s sister, Miss Darcy. Both are very happy in their marriage and look forward to family gatherings with Elizabeth’s Aunt and Uncle, of whom both Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth are least ashamed of in terms of Mrs. Darcy’s family. Mr. Darcy evolves throughout the story to realize that despite his great fortune and family background, it is possible for him to marry someone who is not as fortunate. The only way in which Mr. Darcy was ever really prideful was in regards to his family and upbringing, which he learns to forget about when he meets Elizabeth. In regards to Elizabeth learning to not be so judgmental towards others, she learns this lesson through Mr. Darcy. A person who she originally thought was to prideful to be friends with anyone came to love her, and as she got to know him better, Elizabeth saw that not everyone is who they seem to be at first glance. Austen never directly talked about the result of the Collins’ marriage, although in context with the story one could assume that both Mr. and Mrs. Collins would some day become very good friends. The marriage of Lydia and Mr. Wickham did take place, although the two ended up with much debt and were foreshadowed as never being financially stable. There was one event in Pride and Prejudice that would seem to be unexpected to some readers as it comes as a bit of a surprise, and that is the marriage of Jane and Mr. Bingley. Around the middle of the novel readers get the impression that Jane no longer has feelings for Mr. Bingley. Near the end of the novel, however, Mr. Bingley frequently visits the Bennet’s and Jane begins to love him again. Very shortly after this Mr. Bingley proposes to Jane and they are married soon after. Although some readers may have predicted this at some point in the novel it comes nonetheless as a surprise.
• “It is a truth universally acknowledge, that a single man in possession of a goo fortune must be in want of a wife” (p. 5).
• “Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves; vanity to what we would have others think of use” (p. 21).
• “I wonder who first discovered the efficacy of poetry in driving away love” (p.45)!
• “Without thinking highly either of men or of matrimony, marriage had always been the object: it was the only honorable provision for well-educated young women to small fortune, and, however uncertain of giving happiness, must be their pleasantest preservative from want” (p. 122).
• “She found, what has been sometimes found before, that an event to which she had looked forward with impatient desire, did not, in taking place, bring all the satisfaction she had promised herself. It was consequently necessary to name some other period for the commencement of actual felicity; to have some other point on which her wishes and hopes might be fixed, and by again enjoying the pleasure of anticipation, console herself for the present, and prepare for another disappointment” (p. 232).
-Conflicts: In Pride and Prejudice there are mostly conflicts between two characters, with one internal conflict of a central character.
• Mr. Darcy and Mr. Wickham. When Mr. Wickham is first introduced in the story he seems to be a very well behaved and likable young man. When he crosses paths with Mr. Darcy, however, there is sentiment shown on both sides. Because of this everyone it town believes that Mr. Darcy must have done something horrible to Mr. Wickham, causing him to hate him so much. Throughout the novel Mr. Wickham is talking poorly of Mr. Darcy, and Elizabeth especially believes what he has to say. Eventually, when Elizabeth travels to the Pemberley Estate, she learns that Mr. Wickham was actually the one who caused Mr. Darcy pain, for he was always looking for some way to obtain Mr. Darcy’s wealth to pay off his gambling debts. The conflict between the two continues throughout the novel, although Mr. Darcy is generous to pay off some of Mr. Wickham’s debts after he marries Elizabeth’s sister.
• Mr. Collins and the Bennett Family. When the Bennett family finds out that their cousin Mr. Collins is to receive their house upon the death of Mr. Bennett there is a great deal of tension. Mrs. Bennett fears that when her husband dies her daughters will have no place to live because the property will be turned over to Mr. Collins. Mr. Bennett has the same fears although he believes that if the house is to be Mr. Collins, that his daughters will not be neglected. It is never mentioned in the novel what happens the Bennet’s house, although it is of concern to characters during the story.
• Elizabeth and Miss Bingley. Throughout Pride and Prejudice it is evident that Miss Bingley, Mr. Bingley’s sister, has become very fond of Mr. Darcy, and wishes him to propose to her. Miss Bingley does not care for Elizabeth at all, especially when she finds out that Mr. Darcy loves Elizabeth. Throughout the novel Miss Bingley is trying to keep Mr. Darcy away from Elizabeth, and Elizabeth is trying to tell Jane that Miss Bingley is not a good friend. In the end Elizabeth ends up with Mr. Darcy, still leaving Miss Bingley in a state of resentment towards Elizabeth and Jane.
• Lydia and her Family. Near the end of the novel the character Lydia Bennett runs of to elope with Mr. Wickham. Lydia claims that she is in love with Mr. Wickham and that he will always take care of her. The rest of the Bennett’s are appalled with Lydia’s decision and know that Mr. Wickham has numerous amounts of debt from gambling, and will not be able to provide Lydia with a comfortable life. Mr. Bennett refuses to let Lydia and Mr. Wickham ever visit him again, for what his daughter did was extremely embarrassing for his family. Not only is Mr. Bennett ashamed of Lydia, but so are her sisters, with the exception of Mrs. Bennett. The only person in the family delighted by Lydia’s marriage is her own mother, who sees the disapproval of her favorite daughters marriage by her other family members disgraceful. At the conclusion of the novel these feelings amongst the Bennett family members do not change, but are stagnant and add a certain amount of stress to the family.
• Elizabeth’s internal conflict with herself. Throughout Pride and Prejudice perhaps the most important character in the story, Elizabeth, has ongoing conflicts in her head between what she feels and what she believes she should do. In the beginning of the story Elizabeth despises Mr. Darcy and judges him harshly, saying that he is too prideful of a man. After Elizabeth visits Pemberley Estate, however, she begins to have mixed feelings about Mr. Darcy. The housekeeper explains Mr. Darcy in a way that contradicts her original beliefs, and she begins to think of him in a different way. When she runs across Mr. Darcy at the Pemberley Estate she notices that he has changed since last seeing him and is having a hard time believing which personality is the real Mr. Darcy. After much consideration and thought Elizabeth decides that Mr. Darcy is after all a good man, and agrees to marry him upon his second proposal.
-Characters*: In Pride and Prejudice there are numerous characters, although only a handful play critical roles.
• Mr. Bennett. He is the father of Jane, Elizabeth, Lydia, Kitty and Mary, and is husband to Mrs. Bennett. In the beginning of the novel Mr. Bennett seems to be very detached from his family and mainly keeps to himself. He is very knowledgeable and wise, and has little to say. When he does speak he usually says something of importance, although he has diminutive tolerance for his wife and her emotions. Mr. Bennett has an odd sense of humor, which is revealed when he tells his wife he will not call upon Mr. Bingley, and then goes on to invite him to dinner, purely for his own amusement. Later on in the novel Mr. Bennett is shown as having stronger feelings towards some of his daughters, and it is evident that he favors Jane and Elizabeth the most. In the end Mr. Bennett turns out to be a caring man who really does love his family, even though he may not physically show it.
• Mrs. Bennett. Although Mrs. Bennett cares very much for her family, she seems to be a very materialistic, gossipy woman. All she cares about in life is the task of getting her daughters married to someone with wealth and good manners. One minute Mrs. Bennett will be saying something nice about her friends’ daughter and the next she will drastically change her opinion. Jane and Elizabeth especially, find their mother to be exceedingly embarrassing, for she speaks whatever is on her mind and does not care who is listening, criticizing whoever she can think of. Throughout the novel Mrs. Bennett has no major character ‘changes,’ but rather remains intensely focused on getting all of her daughters married.
• Jane. As the eldest of the Bennett sisters Jane is also the most practical. She is very intelligent, and thinks rationally about every situation. Jane is very thoughtful of others, and never hesitates to help someone in need. Perhaps a quality of Jane’s that is central to the novel is that she never suspects that anyone could do anything bad. When she hears that Mr. Wickham is in debt she says that it is just a rumor and that no one could ever do such a thing. Although Jane is very caring and thoughtful, she sometimes fails to see what the real world is like. Throughout Pride and Prejudice the aspects of Jane’s character remain the same, and she is much loved by all of her family and friends.
• Elizabeth. As the second eldest of the Bennett sisters Elizabeth is perhaps the most loved by her father, and possibly the most eccentric. Elizabeth is very good-looking, and well mannered, although she is quick to judge people when first meeting them. Throughout the novel Elizabeth is constantly learning that what she originally judges a person to be is not always true. Elizabeth has a very strong personality and always argues her point, for she believes her opinion to be worth hearing. At the conclusion of the novel Elizabeth has learned that judging people is not a good thing to do, and that waiting to get to know someone is much more agreeable.
• Lydia. As one of the eldest of the Bennett sisters Lydia has a great deal of growing up to do. In the beginning of the novel Lydia is always going to town to flirt with the officers, and is always concerned about her looks. Later on in the book Lydia spontaneously elopes with one of the officers, and thinks it is the greatest thing in the world. All she can do is brag about her new husband and rub the fact that she was the first to be married into her sisters’ faces. Lydia is only concerned with herself, and does not care about how her decision will affect the rest of her family. Throughout the entirety of the novel Lydia remains with these character traits, not realizing what her decisions have done to others.
• Mr. Darcy. When Mr. Darcy is first introduce in the novel he seems to be a very prideful man who has no desire of associating with anyone except his immediate friends. Although Mr. Darcy is very wealthy and comes from an impressive family, readers soon learn his real character. Mr. Darcy is not such a prideful man as Elizabeth originally thought; in fact he is kind, thoughtful, intelligent, and cares immensely for others. Although Mr. Darcy is worried about marrying someone who comes from an average family, he puts those feelings aside and shown his true character, someone who is capable of love and friendship.
• Mr. Bingley. As Mr. Darcy’s best friend it is originally thought odd that the two would be acquaintances, for Mr. Bingley is openly cheerful and outgoing unlike Mr. Darcy. Bingley is friendly to everyone and has something nice to say in regards to everyone he meets also. He is intelligent, and takes advice from Mr. Darcy very seriously. Although Mr. Bingley seems to be less practical than Mr. Darcy, he is much more open in regards to the subject of love and is not afraid to show his feelings towards Jane.
• Mr. Wickham. At first Mr. Wickham seems to be a very well mannered young man with very good intentions and a stable life. Later on, however, it is revealed that he has debts that he cannot pay. Mr. Wickham is only interested in marrying for money, and so it is odd that he marries Lydia, who has so little a fortune in his eyes as to be non-existent. It seems that Mr. Wickham is always depending on someone to do things for him, whether that be paying of his debts or giving him a place to stay. Although Mr. Wickham is very well behaved and sincere, his problems with money and selfishness are no good for anyone.
• The Gardiner’s. Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner are Elizabeth and Jane’s favorite aunt and uncle. They both are very kind and will do anything for their nieces. They both have extremely good manners, and very good taste. When in company with those of a higher status than themselves, both Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner are well behaved and conscientious. They are especially like by Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, who considers them to be the most favorable members of Elizabeth’s family.
• Mr. Collins. Being the cousin of the Bennetts Mr. Collins is unfortunately not highly regarded with any of his family members. He thinks very highly of himself and gives excessive compliments when they are not necessary. He talks incessantly, almost to the point where one might think he is trying to get the approval of others. Despite all these characteristics Mr. Collins is a very nice man, capable of gratitude and compassion for anyone he feels closest to.
• Lady Catherine de Bourgh. If anyone in Pride and Prejudice were to be considered prideful it would be Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Do to her wealth and high status in life Lady Catherine has evolved into someone who thinks very highly of herself and almost no one else. She believes that only wealthy people should marry wealth people, and that Elizabeth is a poorly bred girl. Although Lady Catherine will host people at her house, she is almost always talking about herself, and expects everyone to be interested in what she has to say. Throughout the novel Lady Catherine remains prideful, and fails to see the marriage of her nephew to Elizabeth as a good thing, but rather as a disgrace to human nature.
* Although there are more characters in Pride and Prejudice the ones mentioned above are the major characters. The other characters play such insignificant roles that only a sentence or two would be said about them; here are the rest of the characters: Kitty, Mary, Caroline, Miss Darcy, The Housekeeper, The Lucas’s, Miss Bingley, Mrs. Hurst, Charlotte.
-Plot Summary: The events in Pride and Prejudice happen as follows: The Bennett family is introduced and Jane and Elizabeth are described in a way that alludes to the fact that they will be the most important of the sisters. Mr. Bingley moves to town and the Bennett sisters, including Mrs. Bennett, are all eager to meet him. A ball is held which all of the sisters are invited to, which is where Elizabeth meets Mr. Darcy. Jane and Mr. Bingley begin to spend generous amounts of time together and form a relationship. In the meantime Mr. Collins arrives at the Bennett’s house and stays for a week or so, during which time he proposes to Elizabeth. During this time Mr. Wickham also moves to town as an officer, and is very well admired by all of the Bennett Sisters. Elizabeth very kindly refuses Mr. Collins proposal, forcing him to propose to her friend Charlotte, who gladly agrees to marry Mr. Collins. Shortly after this Mr. Bingley, and his family, along with Mr. Darcy leave town and it is rumored hat they will never return. Mr. Collins marries Charlotte, leaving Mrs. Bennett very jealous, and they move away to Mr. Collins house in the North. In the meantime Jane has become very sad due to Mr. Bingley’s departure, and try’s various ways of keeping her mind off him. Elizabeth is invited to go and visit Mr. and Mrs. Collins with Charlotte’s father and younger sister, and agrees to accompany them. During her stay there Elizabeth comes into company with lady Catherine multiple times, and always dreads having tea or dinner at her house. At the Collin’s house Elizabeth is proposed to by Mr. Darcy. Having no idea of his true character Elizabeth quite abruptly refuses his proposal, causing Mr. Darcy to write her a letter that tells the truth of Mr. Wickham and himself. Still not knowing what to think of Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth returns home, only to find that her younger sisters are infatuated with the officers in town. Lydia is shortly invited to go away with some of her friends to another ‘army camp,’ and excitedly accepts the offer. After this Elizabeth goes on a trip with her aunt and uncle Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner, only to find her self at the Pemberley Estate, Mr. Darcy’s home. The housekeeper of Pemberley Estate talks about Mr. Darcy in a way that is contradictory to what Elizabeth originally thought of him, and she begins to think of him in a different way. When Mr. Darcy appears at his house Elizabeth finds him to be acting quite differently, and it is soon arranged that she will meet his sister, Miss Darcy. When the two finally meet they get along very well, but Elizabeth’s stay at Pemberley Estate is drawn to an end by the arrival of news about her sister. Elizabeth’s sister has ran off and eloped with Mr. Wickham and is headed in the direction of London. The Gardiners and Elizabeth leave almost immediately in hopes of finding Lydia. When they arrive back at the Bennett’s house they only have to wait a few days before the news that Lydia has been found arrives. Lydia eventually marries Mr. Wickham and they come to visit for a few days. When they leave Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy arrive back in town, quite unexpected. Jane and Mr. Bingley begin to be friends again, and after a matter of weeks they are engaged and to be married. When Mr. Darcy shows up Elizabeth and he go on a long walk, during which both people express their feelings of love towards one another. It is announced that Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy will be married, and everyone is in a state of joy. When both Jane and Elizabeth are married Elizabeth moves to the Pemberley Estate to live with Mr. Darcy and Miss Darcy. Jane goes on to live with Mr. Bingley at his estate and everyone lives happily ever after.
-Themes: Upon the conclusion of Pride and Prejudice one could come up with several themes that have developed throughout the story. First that judgment is something that everyone should try to overcome. Judging someone and coming to conclusions is not an intelligent thing to do, and it is good for neither the person being judged nor the judger. Second that pride is not necessarily a bad thing. Someone may be prideful in a way that is selfish, or someone way be prideful like Mr. Darcy, in the manner that he is proud of his family, although he does not let this pride affect him. The third theme may be of social classes. There are many different social classes in Pride and Prejudice, such as the very wealthy Lady Catherine, and the poor Mr. Wickham. All of these people come into some sort of conflict due to their different social classes, and this causes certain people to do certain things. The different social classes of the novel show that people can control the outcome of their lives; they can either choose to be ruled by their own wealth or someone else’s, or take their fate into their own hands.