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Discuss the proposal scenes in Pride and Prejudice showing how they relate to the main themes and issues of the novel and how they give an insight into the characters and their attitudes.

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Introduction

Discuss the proposal scenes in Pride and Prejudice showing how they relate to the main themes and issues of the novel and how they give an insight into the characters and their attitudes Jane Austen wrote the love story 'Pride and Prejudice' to show her views on love, marriage and reputation at the time. It is set in the 19th century, mainly in Longbourn, Hertfordshire and Meryton, which is twenty-four miles from London. The theme of Pride and Prejudice is mainly marriage and social status and how the two are related and how sometimes they can come between two people. Marriage at the time when Pride and Prejudice was written was not always a love-based relationship. The people at that time had to worry about a secure and comfortable future, more then it is considered today. It was unusual to cross social boundaries within a marriage. Pride and Prejudice illustrates a society in which a woman's reputation is of high importance. A woman is expected to behave in certain ways. Stepping outside the social boundary makes her in danger to isolation. This theme appears in the novel, when Elizabeth walks to Netherfield and arrives with muddy skirts, to the shock of the reputation-conscious Miss Bingley and her sister. At other points, the ill-mannered, ridiculous behaviour of Mrs. Bennet gives her a bad reputation with the more refined Darcy's and Bingley's. The theme of class is related to reputation, in that both reflect the strictly disciplined nature of life for the middle and upper classes in England. The lines of class are strictly drawn. While the Bennet's, who are middle class, may socialize with the upper class Bingley's and Darcy's, they are clearly their social inferiors and are treated as such. Austen detests this kind of class-consciousness, particularly in the character of Mr. Collins, who spends most of his time pleasing his upper class patron, Lady Catherine de Bourgh. The novel is about Elizabeth Bennet's hurt pride, which makes her prejudiced towards Fitzwilliam Darcy. ...read more.

Middle

She is a twenty-seven years old middle class woman; she was not very attractive so her options were very limited. We learn the kind of marriage that women took advantage of by Charlotte because she was no longer marriage material, although Charlotte wanted to marry for love but she is a realist and realises that her chances for love are low, so she may have stayed a maiden. Charlotte gets married for security because she knows her chances of marriage are low so she accepts. Charlotte marries Mr Collins for future security. This proves that Mr Collins' feelings were not real and that his proposal was very superficial. The second proposal is from Mr Darcy: Mr Darcy is seen as a proud, arrogant and isolated character from Elizabeth's perspective at the foremost ball in Meryton, which is when we initially meet him. Mr Darcy was bought up to be proud, superior and of a higher status than Elizabeth. There is a difference in class between them, and his upbringing has conditioned him to unquestioningly accept this. During the ball Mr Darcy is accompanied by his friend Mr Bingley, who found himself hastily acquainted with the eldest of the Bennet daughters, Jane, accompanies Mr Darcy. They enjoyed each other's company and danced together. But there was an inappropriate interference by Mr Darcy who thought Jane and Mr Bingley's relationship was unsuitable. Mr Bingley moved to London on the say of Mr Darcy. This shows how influenced Mr Bingley is by people like Mr Darcy who is a very powerful character. Mr Darcy is socially superior and this is evident at the beginning at the Meryton ball. He stands and dresses in a particular style and he kept his distance from anyone he didn't particularly know. He has contact with very few people, so he is isolated. He feels it is below him to dance. When Mr Bingley asks if he should be introduced to Elizabeth, he says: "She is tolerable: but not handsome enough to ...read more.

Conclusion

This shows his deep affection for her. The words are italicised to emphasize the fact that he loves her. She feels his affection that is why she feels all the more awkwardness of the situation to carry on the conversation. "...And immediately, though not very fluently, gave him to understand, that her sentiments had undergone so material a change," Elizabeth uses the term 'material' to show how her opinion had changed about him and it was a big change because she thought directly opposite of what she thought of him earlier on in the novel. Everyone was surprised when Elizabeth told her family that she was engaged to Darcy. Jane refused to believe it but then believed Elizabeth when she told Jane that she loves Darcy. Elizabeth and Darcy got married and so did Mr Bingley and Jane. Everything works out for the best. Lady Catherine eventually forgave Darcy for refusing to marry her daughter and came to Pemberley to make peace with her nephew and his wife. Throughout the novel both characters develop for the better. Darcy crosses social boundaries to be with Elizabeth and Elizabeth's prejudice towards Darcy is forgotten. During this novel there was a change in Elizabeth's character, as she didn't realise what an intelligent, forthright and sensitive person Mr Darcy is. She suffered from lack of self-knowledge. Darcy's revelation about Wickham's disgraceful past clues her in to his true nature and simultaneously draws her closer to Darcy. Elizabeth tells him that she her feelings for him have changed, and as they walk, they talk of how they've finally come together. Their marriage was ideal because it contained elements of all things; physical attraction, financial security, mutual respect, accepting each other and believing that status is not everything. I enjoyed studying this novel because it was different to other romantic novels. The characters developed as the story did and the conclusions of the story were unpredictable. Overall this novel has a very unique and interesting story line, which tells us about the early 19th Century life. Bushra Akram 10CRE ...read more.

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