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

Pride and Prejudice How successful this novel is in giving first impressions of the characters?

Extracts from this document...


Pride and Prejudice The novel Pride and Prejudice written by Jane Austen was originally to be called First Impressions. Hence the ultimate aim of this essay is to identify how successful this novel is in giving 'First Impressions' of the characters. The focus of this essay is on the opening chapters of the novel as this is where we are first introduced to the characters. 'It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.' This is one of Austen's famous quotes and sums up the main theme of the novel; that in the time this novel was written all men with a good wage are eligible bachelors in finding a woman to marry. I would consider this idea to be put under the theme of marriage. Another significant theme of this novel is society. In those days one's reputation was very important to ensure they sustained their status in the hierarchy of society. If one was to do something disrespectful towards others; by breaking the rules that had been derived in the 18th century, then the whole family would be affected by one's wrong doings. This novel is based on the tribulations that occur throughout the Bennett family. The Bennetts were members of the gentry and this was considered fairly high in society. Hence they would have reasonable status in the hierarchy of society. A brief example I can give of the theme of society is: later in this novel Lydia Bennett (youngest of five daughters of Mr. and Mrs. Bennett) runs away with Mr. Wickham (a dishonest officer as we later find out in the novel). Because Lydia and Mr. Wickham aren't married their attempt in leaving Meryton as a couple stirs up controversy amongst the town. As a result of this event the family's reputation is put in jeopardy and none of Lydia Bennett's sisters can get married to members of the gentry. ...read more.


Collins. Throughout the novel Mrs. Bennett always seems to deal with serious situations in a foolish way, like with Mr. Collins's proposal of marriage to Lizzie. Therefore from this evidence in the opening chapters the first impression of Mrs. Bennett is she is a brainless character. Like Mr. Bennett's favourite daughter is Lizzie, Mrs. Bennett's favourite is clearly Jane as supported by this quote when Mrs. Bennett is talking to Mr. Bennett, 'She (Lizzy) is not half as handsome as Jane.' In the opening chapters of the novel Mrs. Bennett isn't really in much anxiety, 'Oh! My dear. I am quite delighted with him.' Here you can unmistakably see that Mrs. Bennett is in high spirits because her favourite daughter (Jane) has taken the sight of Bingley; she believes that he is quite fond of her and she is convinced this will ultimately end in marriage, so she is happy. However you can see her boisterous character developing through the novel when the Bennetts are in a bad situation, especially when their reputation is in jeopardy she is always screeching and complaining to seek attention, 'Oh you have no compassion on my poor nerves.' How she develops through the novel allows me to make the assumption that she truly cares about the reputation of the Bennett family (unlike Mr. Bennett), and when their reputation is bad she is in great anxiety as her daughters cannot get married. This reinforces the fact that her goal in life is to get her daughters married and further reinforcement is shown when at the end of the novel when the majority of her daughters are married she is perfectly happy, ' Good gracious! Lord bless me! Oh! My sweetest Lizzie!' 'I am so please - so happy.' Therefore this reinforces the effective first impressions of stupidity given to the character of Mrs. Bennett, because of her 'childlike' behaviour presented throughout the novel. ...read more.


The context in which certain words were used is different from today. In example they would refer to their father as 'Sir' and both men and women could be considered 'handsome'. Ultimately the language and style reflects on the formal society and the respect they showed by using words such as 'Sir' to refer to their own father, however this shows how they would relegate women as they wouldn't show them respect by calling them 'Miss, Lady or Mrs' unless they were above their class. Referring back to the initial question which I aimed to answer: How successful this novel is in giving first impressions of the characters? I can note in most cases highly successful. For example the first impression relationship created between Jane and Bingley immediately highlights that it will end in marriage and the first impressions of these characters themselves does sum up their character (this is the case with most of the characters). However the first impression relationship created between Elizabeth and Darcy doesn't give us the impression of a relationship to develop between the two at all, and the first impression of Darcy does not display his true character. It is only through Lizzie's Prejudice do we see Darcy's Pride. I assume because of this reason Jane Austen called the novel Pride and Prejudice rather than First Impressions. Only on that instant are the opening chapters ineffective in giving the first impression of a character, as the first impression is a prejudice opinion. I can conclude that Jane Austen has appeared to illustrate herself as the character of Lizzie not only because most of the novel revolves around her giving us the impression that she has been in the same social situation as Lizzie, but she is also expressing the same ideas as Lizzie as given earlier in the essay. I deem that it was essential for Austen to name this novel Pride and Prejudice to give a moral to it; that never allow one's prejudice to judge one's character. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 Ashish Soneji ...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. How does Jane Austen reflect the social and historical context of her time in ...

    What a fine thing for our girls!" This, in particular, also demonstrates Mrs Bennet's desire for her daughters to marry for money as opposed to love. The marriage of Charlotte Lucas and Mr Collins is an example of one that is based on economies rather than on love or appearance.

  2. Discuss the significance of the title, 'Pride and Prejudice'.

    Luckily, Elizabeth's spirit and courage counteracts Lady Catherine at every turn of her pride and prejudice, 'a young woman (Elizabeth) of inferior birth, of no importance in the world.' Lady Catherine, except when she is talking about Anne, has little answer except haughtiness and pride, 'Miss Bennet do you know who I am?

  1. Analysis of Darcy's first proposal to Elizabeth

    and 'she is sorry for the pain he was to receive, but she 'lost all compassion in anger' with his subsequent criticism of her 'family's inferiority' while asking her to marry him. As Mr. Darcy 'spoke with apprehension and anxiety, Elizabeth's 'colour rose to her cheeks', she refuses Mr.

  2. Free essay

    Pride and Prejudice

    This shows that Mr Darcy does care for people other than himself. It is also shown that he cares for people when Elizabeth finds out that Mr Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam are the guardians for his sister Georgiana. 'Regard for my sisters credit and feelings prevented any public exposure but

  1. Pride and Prejudice - Social class differences in the first half of Pride and ...

    give people that impression so that they will respect him more in the long run. Another possibility could be that Darcy is changing, or coming out of his shell. When he first arrived he might have been acting so that he could be a looked upon as a very high person in the new community he is entering.

  2. Comic Characters in Pride and Prejudice

    But in reality is obsessed with the quantity and worth of his possessions, having little regard for their aesthetic value. He wants to marry for all of the wrong reasons and he desires a wife only for the sake of appearances.

  1. Jane Austen's View on the Social Class and How It Affects Elizabeth and Darcy's ...

    great fortune, he soon becomes so disgusted by everyone that "not all his large estate in Derbyshire could then save him from having a most forbidding, disagreeable countenance, and being unworthy to be compared with his friend." (Volume1, Chapter3, Page 12)

  2. Marriage in pride and prejudice.

    When Lizzy and Darcy are married they remain very close friends with the Gardiners and says that they both ' really loved them'. The Gardiners are one of two examples of a marriage and family life in the novel. The other is that of Mr.

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