• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How effectively does the opening chapter of 'Pride and Prejudice' introduce the reader to the central concerns and themes of the novel?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

How effectively does the opening chapter of 'Pride and Prejudice' introduce the reader to the central concerns and themes of the novel? The novel Pride and Prejudice, originally entitled 'First Impressions' was written by Jane Austen and first published in 1813. It deals essentially with the fortunes of the Bennet family and their social circle. Several themes and central concerns feature throughout the novel and the reader is given a taste of these in the first chapter. The title itself, Pride and Prejudice embodies the central concerns which appear later in the novel. Jane Austen's novel, Pride and Prejudice, the attributes of pride and prejudice certainly cause a number of characters to misjudge each other. This can be seen in the characters such as Elizabeth Bennet, who makes mistakes of judgement for George Wickham, Charlotte and Fitzwilliam Darcy. Darcy is also guilty of excessive Pride and Prejudice which prevents him from having a clear understanding of Elizabeth. Elizabeth prides herself on her ability to judge other characters. Many of her observations have been correct, as she has a clear understanding of her mother, sisters and Mr Collins. Her friend Charlotte Lucas is a character she misjudges due to her pride. Elizabeth is unlike many girls of her time and won't marry for inconvenience. Although she is aware of Charlotte's differing opinion in terms of marriage, she is completely taken by surprise when Charlotte accepts Mr Collins' marriage proposal shortly after her own rejection of him. Elizabeth's surprise is due to her refusal to believe Charlotte would actually put her opinions to action. She is personally biased against Mr Collins in saying: 'Mr Collins is a conceited, pompous, narrow minded man' Elizabeth's own pride will not allow her to marry Mr Collins for convenience and she misjudges Charlotte by believing she would also act the same way. Charlotte Lucas is not the only friend that Elizabeth misjudges. ...read more.

Middle

"Her mind was less difficult to develop," as she was more interested in getting her own way, rather than gaining knowledge and understanding. Mrs Bennet's "weak understanding" and "illiberal mind" prevents any "lasting affection". The matrimony succeeds on the grounds that they keep out of each other's way. The marriage of Lydia and Wickham is also one of little "understanding of one another's character" and as we later realise there is no "financial security" either. The initial attraction between the two characters was based on appearances and first impressions. However after initial attraction, Mr Wickham becomes disinterested in Lydia and this adds to the problems. A condemned Lydia fails to comprehend the shame she has brought upon the Bennet family. However the convenient marriage of Charlotte Lucas and Mr Collins collaborates well. The first marriage seen in the novel is that between Mr Collins and Miss Charlotte Lucas and is probably the most typical marriage of the time. As Jane Austen states in the novel, 'It was the only honourable provision for well educated young women of small fortune, and however uncertain of giving happiness, must be their pleasantest preservative from want.' The marriage is not based on any physical attraction or true love between either party but different requirements from both sides. At twenty-seven and with little beauty or money to recommend her, Charlotte sees marriage as her best chance of securing a reasonable standard of living, good marital status and attaining financial security. 'Miss Lucas accepted him solely from the pure desire of an establishment' (page 103). As we had already learnt from Mr Collins's proposal to Elizabeth, he only has three reasons for matrimony; he would like to set a good example as a clergyman to his parish, he is confident it would add to his happiness and Lady Catherine advised him that he should marry ('twice'!). It is obvious Mr Collins does not care about beauty or love, since we are told Charlotte has little beauty and only three days before his proposal to Charlotte was his request of the hand of Elizabeth. ...read more.

Conclusion

The reader of the novel can tell that Mr Darcy too, wants to marry Elizabeth solely for affectionate reasons. One would expect him to marry a wealthy lady of high class, with many accomplishments, with excellent connections, etc. He has a large choice of women that would marry him yet explains to Elizabeth during his first proposal that he cares for her despite her awful family and the large drop in society. This shows he must truly love her. Society's rules cause many barriers for Elizabeth and Mr Darcy and Lady Catherine De Bourgh specifically reproves of the marriage. She has difficulty accepting it, visiting Elizabeth in person and questioning, 'Are the shades of Pemberley to be thus polluted?' (page 288), thus implying Elizabeth and her connections are so low they will contaminate the wonderful building only fit for those of a much higher class. It is possible that overall the marriage between Elizabeth and Mr Darcy is the most successful. When at last they are together they are financially secure and are accepted by most of society - eventually by Lady Catherine as well. The couple triumph over many original misunderstandings and conquer all their pride and prejudices against each other - in Mr Darcy's case also against her social class. The victory over numerous obstacles seem to have brought them closer together and genuinely in love, 'They were able to love each other, even as well as they intended.' Elizabeth and Mr Darcy are both straightforward characters that are intelligent and honest as well as caring and loving and they make an extremely compatible couple. Additionally, they continue to have equality within the relationship (it was often common at the time for the male to have a more dominant role) and as Georgiana is astonished to find, the couple constantly get along, always having something to discuss, 'she [Georgiana' often listened with astonishment . . . at her [Elizabeth's] lively, sportive manner of talking to her brother.' This marriage turns out to be the strongest and Jane Austen leaves nothing that could be criticised about the union. 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Jane Austen section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Jane Austen essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Pride And Prejudice:Why is the news of the elopement of Lydia and Wickham in ...

    5 star(s)

    her to Brighton even after Elizabeth?s pleas to withdraw the offer, simply because ??We shall have no peace at Longbourn if Lydia does not go to Brighton.?? This shows that he was lazy and couldn?t be bothered to deal with Lydia in the house, so it was easier just to send her away at that point.

  2. In Pride and prejudice by Jane Austen, the attributes of pride and prejudice cause ...

    Elizabeth finds Mr Wickham a charming man, despite being suspicious at first when seeing Darcy's negative reaction towards Mr Wickham upon their first meeting. In contrast to Mr Darcy, Elizabeth forms a good impression of Mr Wickham, saying: 'His appearance was greatly in his favour' She does not doubt her

  1. Free essay

    Pride and Prejudice

    And he shouldn't fall in love with her. However later when Caroline tries to make Mr Darcy tease Elizabeth, he is uncomfortable and does not want to join in, this shows us that he is already starting to fall for her.

  2. How do pride and Prejudice affect the relationship between Darcy and Elizabeth - Compare ...

    ' When she reassures him this is not the case with her, Mr Collins finally accepts her rejection; he insults her by telling her she may not receive another offer of marriage. When you finish chapter 19 you don't really feel sorry for the rejected Mr.

  1. Pride and Prejudice is a novel about women who feel they have to marry ...

    This is shown when she refuses Mr. Collins' proposal and Mr. Darcy's first proposal. This is one of the most radical acts in the novel. It is radical as nineteenth century women were expected to accept the first marriage proposal that they get because they might not get another one.

  2. Pride and prejudice- how do pride and prejudice affects the relationship between Darcy & ...

    Darcy thinks that Jane was not good enough and doesn't fit in his needs for Mr Bingly and it would have been a waste of time if Jane had married him. When Fitzwilliam said to Elizabeth "Darcy congratulated himself on having lately saved a friend from the inconveniences of a

  1. Portrayal of Marriage in Pride and Prejudice.

    that Elizabeth is to be engaged to Mr Darcy and is alarmed. She has travelled from Kent to Hertfortshire to stop it. She says Darcy is to marry her daughter because she and the late Mrs Darcy arranged it so, and because that arrangement would be in accordance with the honour of the family.

  2. Explore Jane Austen's presentation Of Mr Darcy in "Pride And Prejudice".

    But however much they had tried; Wickham stayed a gambler with no money. As the letter continues, he opens up more and at the very end, he ends with "I will only add, God bless you". This suggests care, consideration, regard and love for her.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work