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"Nothing much happens." To what extent do you support this view of the novel, 'Pride and Prejudice'?

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Introduction

1. "Nothing much happens." To what extent do you support this view of the novel, 'Pride and Prejudice'? 'Pride and Prejudice' relates the events surrounding the relations, lives, and love of a middle-upper class English family in the nineteenth century. It is a novel that comprises the misunderstanding of love and affection through first impressions and how easily the mind derives conclusions through these impressions without scrutinising the true nature of a person. 'Nothing much happens' is a controversial statement upon which I disagree with this viewpoint. I believe that a lot does happen in the duration of the novel and the themes that arise in the novel are based around the relationships between the characters. The novel is centrally built around Jane and Elizabeth Bennet's relationship with eligible and noble men of high aristocracy. Marriage is a key theme that reflects the society of which the novel is based upon. It was thought that 'marriage was the only way of life' a critical view by Fredrick Bramley. Austen positions the reader to think about the importance of marriage at that time. She uses the characters as literary devices to show the juxtaposition between the relationships who have married for love and relationships which have married for other reasons. By explaining that marriage should only result from love, she influences the reader that it is this that results the key happiness within the characters. Jane Austen comments that marriage at the time is a financial contract, where love is strictly a matter of chance. This is clearly evident at the beginning of the novel: 'it is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want for a wife.' This suggests that the sole purpose for marriage is to increase the character's social and financial ranking. There is no mention of love, yet it provokes the mind of the reader that the purpose of marriage is to create security. ...read more.

Middle

-- Mr. Collins has made an offer to Lizzy, and she will not have him.'' Charlotte had hardly time to answer, before they were joined by Kitty, who came to tell the same news, and no sooner had they entered the breakfast-room, where Mrs. Bennet was alone, than she likewise began on the subject, calling on Miss Lucas for her compassion, and entreating her to persuade her friend Lizzy to comply with the wishes of all her family. ``Pray do, my dear Miss Lucas,'' she added in a melancholy tone, ``for nobody is on my side, nobody takes part with me, I am cruelly used, nobody feels for my poor nerves.'' Charlotte's reply was spared by the entrance of Jane and Elizabeth. ``Aye, there she comes,'' continued Mrs. Bennet, ``looking as unconcerned as may be, and caring no more for us than if we were at York, provided she can have her own way. -- But I tell you what, Miss Lizzy, if you take it into your head to go on refusing every offer of marriage in this way, you will never get a husband at all -- and I am sure I do not know who is to maintain you when your father is dead. -- I shall not be able to keep you -- and so I warn you. -- I have done with you from this very day. -- I told you in the library, you know, that I should never speak to you again, and you will find me as good as my word. I have no pleasure in talking to undutiful children, -- Not that I have much pleasure indeed in talking to any body. People who suffer as I do from nervous complaints can have no great inclination for talking. Nobody can tell what I suffer! -- But it is always so. Those who do not complain are never pitied.'' ...read more.

Conclusion

This humorous comment explains the character of Mrs Bennet as a whole. She believes that she will keep to her word, however, this is deeply ironic as 'she talked on' and 'insist upon it' that she has a 'little conversation together' with Mr Collins. She insists to talk to Mr Collins even though she briefly mentioned before that she has 'no great inclination for talking.' Another character of whom we see shows irony and humour is Mr Collins. He tries to adhere to the rules of the Bennet family when he knows that he cannot, as he has been rejected by Elizabeth. The humour in this is that he is trying to emphasise the point that clergymen should be married and that he will only marry to 'secure an amiable companion' for himself. He is not doing it for love but to extend the tradition. He shows a sense of pride in himself that Elizabeth would marry him, but her refusal damages him. He was 'meditating in solitude on what has passed. He thought too well of himself...and though his pride was hurt, he suffered in no other way.' His language is exaggerated and he speaks in an elaborated manner. 'Resignation to inevitable evils is the duty of us all; the peculiar duty of a young man who has been as fortunate as I have been in early preferment; and I trust I am resigned.' There is no need for him to speak like this, but he tries his best to gain any hope that may have been left in the relationship. The narrator could be indicating that the language Mr Collins uses to aggrandise his personality results in amusement as we know that we are not to accept his value in the novel. Jane Austen has used ' ' several times during this scene to keep the reader engaged in the conversation between Mr and Mrs Bennet and not to think greatly about the place the scene is set. This helps the reader to focus on the idiocy of Mrs Bennet and how Austen has played around with her character. ...read more.

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