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Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Summary

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Introduction

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice was published in 1813 by Thomas Egerton of London. This novel was written in England between 1796 and 1813 and is set in during the Napoleonic war which was from 1797-1815. The place of the setting is Longbourn which is in rural England. The novel is told from Elizabeth Bennet's point of view and she is the protagonist. The narrator is third person omniscient and the novel is written in the past tense with a comic tone however Jane Austen describes the tone as 'light and bright and sparkling' Jane Austen is regarded as one of the greatest English women novelists on the strength of her six completed novels. Noted particularly for their sparkling social comedy and accurate vision of human relationships, they are still as widely read today as they have ever been. Jane Austen was born on 16th December 1775 at Steventon, Hampshire. Her father was Reverend George Austen and he was an intelligent and sensitive man who encouraged Jane's reading from an early age. In 1783, she was educated by a relative in Oxford then Southampton. In 1785 she was educated for a year at the Reading Ladies boarding school in the Abbey gatehouse in Reading, Berkshire. In general, she received an education superior to that generally given to girls of her time and started writing her first novel in 1798. ...read more.

Middle

Elizabeth stubbornly refuses, saying she is not engaged to Mr. Darcy, but she will not promise anything against her own happiness. A little later, Elizabeth and Darcy go out walking together and he tells her that his feelings have not altered since the spring. She accepts his proposal, and both Jane and Elizabeth are married. Impressions of Characters Elizabeth Bennet Elizabeth is the second of the five daughters and is also the protagonist in this novel. Fitzwilliam Darcy A wealthy man, who owns the Pemberley estate and he is the nephew of Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Mr. Darcy is intelligent and honest. Throughout the novel, he lessens his class-consciousness and learns to love Elizabeth for her strong character. Jane Bennet Jane is the oldest and most beautiful of the Bennet daughters and a lot quieter than Elizabeth. Charles Bingley He is Mr. Darcy's very wealthy best friend. He is a genial, well-intentioned man, whose laid-back nature contrasts Mr. Darcy's rude appearance. He doesn't care about class differences. Mr. Bennet He is a gentleman of modest income with five unmarried daughters. Mr. Bennet has a sarcastic sense of humour that he uses to irritate his wife. Though he loves his daughters (Elizabeth in particular), he often fails as a parent. Mrs. Bennet Mr. Bennet's wife, noisy woman whose only goal is to see her daughters married. Because of her low breeding and often unsuitable behaviour, Mrs. ...read more.

Conclusion

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 satirizes this kind of class-consciousness, particularly in the character of Mr. Collins, who spends most of his time toadying to his upper-class patron, Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Though Mr. Collins offers an extreme example, he is not the only one to hold such views. His conception of the importance of class is shared, among others, by Mr. Darcy, who believes in the dignity of his lineage; Miss Bingley, who dislikes anyone not as socially accepted as she is; and Wickham, who will do anything he can to get enough money to raise himself into a higher station. Mr. Collins's views are merely the most extreme and obvious. The satire directed at Mr. Collins is therefore also more subtly directed at the entire social hierarchy and the conception of all those within it at its correctness, in complete disregard of other, more worthy virtues. Through the Darcy-Elizabeth and Bingley-Jane marriages, Austen shows the power of love and happiness to overcome class boundaries and prejudices, thereby implying that such prejudices are hollow, unfeeling, and unproductive. Of course, this whole discussion of class must be made with the understanding that Austen herself is often criticized as being a classist: she doesn't really represent anyone from the lower classes; those servants she does portray are generally happy with their lot. Austen does criticize class structure but only a limited slice of that structure. ?? ?? ?? ?? Andrea Burton ...read more.

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