Summary of Jane Austen's Masterpiece Pride and Prejudice
Pride and Prejudice is a popular read all over the world. It gets many mentions in movies like After, 2019. The book is a great read for anyone looking to experience a refreshing story. Jane Austen is an incredible author and she does the story justice. It is comical, fun, romantic and an easy read.
As old as it may be, it is one of the finest books in American Literature that everyone should read. If you would like to read this book, our guide can give you a brief overview of why you should read it.
The book was originally published in 1813. Jane has inspired several movies, plays and musicals with her work. No doubt that her work has been influential in most modern literature that we continue to enjoy.
Let’s look at Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and what to expect from the British Literature.
Overview of Jane Austen and her works
Jane Austen is a famous English writer who wrote a few well-loved novels, including Pride and Prejudice. Austen was born in 1775 and lived through the shift of British literature from gracefully written romantic fiction to a more realistic style. She is best known for her classic ‘Regency’ novels, which are set in an elegant world of gowns, carriages, balls, and foxhunting. Austen began writing fiction at a young age and published her first novel, "Sense and Sensibility," at the age of 19. Her subsequent work received much critical acclaim, but she died at the age of 41 due to complications from tuberculosis.
Austen's novels examine social issues such as marriage, love, family life, friendship, and gender roles with wit, humor, and sharp analysis. In her works, characters are often complex with various layers of motivation. For instance, heroine Elizabeth Bennet of Pride and Prejudice is bold and fair-minded yet somewhat naïve and stubborn at times. The mature Jane Fairfax becomes a kindhearted heroine as she mends Elizabeth’s family relationships after her husband leaves her for another woman.
In terms of themes explored in the novel Pride and Prejudice , Austen addresses issues such as family ties and loyalties versus individual choice and free will; prejudice against a person because of his or her gender or race; marital vows; love vs lust; adultery; pride vs humility
An important trait of Jane Austen’s works is that they are characterized by a distinct sensibility--a wry tone that mocks social conventions while still portraying human emotions with sensitivity. She takes a dig at how women would use mariage to get ahead socially and economically.
A Plot Summary of Pride and Prejudice.
The novel examines the social divide between the landed gentry and those from a middle or lower class. This is reflected in terms of family structure, wealth, education, and lifestyle.
The novel follows a story about a family( the Bennet family) with five daughters. Though wealthy, the man(Mr. Bennet) has no heir and thus he has to secure his daughter’s future through marriage. The Longbaurn estate is entailed meaning that it can only be passed down the lineage through inheritance.
Elizabeth Bennet is a young woman of society who shows her wit and charm. She is witty, opinionated, and outspoken - traits that reflect her confidence in her own sense of morality. However, she also shows a strong sense of justice in a time when women did not have many rights or opportunities.
All the five daughters have to find a man within their class and stature to marry them before their father passes away. Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Catherine and Lydia are the names of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet daughters.
In town a man, Mr. Bingley is young and rich. According to the expectation, the young man must be out to look for a wife. He has a friend, Mr. Darcy who is two times richer. He seems to take an interest in Jane, the oldest daughter of the Bennets.
Mr. Darcy is an arrogant man who values his status as a wealthy landed gentleman above all else. He has high expectations of himself and others around him, a trait that reflects his elitist attitude towards marrying for love rather than wealth.
Mr. Collins, the heir to the Longbaurn estate, hopes to find a wife among the five Bennet daughters. He is under the guidance of Mr. Darcy’s aunt, Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Elizabeth turns Collins down and he proposes to Lady Charlotte, her friend.
Wickham, an army officer, discloses Mr. Darcy’s actions to Elizabeth making her prejudiced against him. She is more suspicious of him and thinks he was the reason Bingley left.
Jane visits Collins where she gets to learn that Darcy was the one behind Bingley’s canceled engagement to her sister Jane. She hates Darcy who brags about separating Bingley from a wrong match. Elizabeth can never love the man that causes her sister a heartbreak.
Darcy writes a letter addressing why he treated Wickham badly and also why he thought Jane was not good for Bingley. She feels bad for her family’s lack of propriety and becomes more open minded about Darcy.
Darcy's character embodies the idealized beauty of a young man from a wealthier family. It is evident from his carefree nature that he has more freedom than others in society to pursue his interests and ambitions
In the end, Elizabeth becomes fond of Darcy and accepts to marry him despite her pride and prejudice towards him. Jane also accepts Bingley’s proposal after his return to Netherfield. Lydia elopes with Wickham.
In conclusion, Pride and Prejudice reflects on its historical context with regard to the issues it raises. It demonstrates that no matter what class one belongs to, equality can be achieved through hard work and perseverance.
Themes explored in Pride and Prejudice
The novel all through focuses on marriage. It shows how the society expects women to adhere to set marriage rules. Charlotte is 27 and is far beyond the ripe age for marriage. She jumps on the opportunity to be with Collins when her friend turns him down. Also, Elizabeth is set on marrying for love even though she is looking for a man within her social status with a secure financial future.
Women mostly agree to arranged marriages rather than marry for their own convenience. The society determines a woman’s future as many men often investigate the woman’s background and their beliefs.
It seems like at some point the society decides that a man with wealth must need a wife. It does not matter if they want one or not. It is in the dictates that no wealthy man should stay single.
Wealth is the driving factor in the story. Every single move is to try and secure or gain more wealth. Anyone looking for a wife is looking for someone that guarantees them propriety. Also, women want to be married off to men with wealth.
Elizabeth turns down Collins who would have helped her safeguard their family wealth. She wants to marry the man her heart desires. Though Collins can help her keep her wealth, Darcy offers more.
Jane Austen tries to show how most people were not aware of themselves. In the novel, many people are quick to do what the society requires rather than what they want. Mrs. Bennet only cares about the news and visiting. She also works hard to get her daughters married as it is the only way they can succeed in that society.
Elizabeth and Darcy have a chance to self evaluate and grow. They each have to abandon their misgivings and understand each other. Elizabeth feels mislead by her pride and prejudice. In the end, they are able to connect and accept each other.
Class is an important factor in this society. I determines anyone’s future success. When looking for husbands, women want to go for richer men that can offer them the class they desire.
Anyone below the social class cannot content in the struggle to marry off the Bennet daughters. Only men of class can marry the girls. Even so, Lydia runs of with George Wickham, a man below her social class.
The novel explores the thee of family widely. The Bennets' and everyone else is out to do what’s bets for their family. There are societal expectations for family members. Also, the Bennet is an incomplete family as they lack a male heir to inherit the land.
Impact of Pride and Prejudice on literature
Pride and Prejudice is a beloved classic of English literature. It is widely regarded as one of the greatest works in the genre, a perfect example of the ‘olden-world romance’ subgenre. It set the standard for the modern romantic comedy genre, with its complex characters and themes that are still relevant today.
The story of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy’s unedited love has inspired countless adaptations, from stage plays to television series to films. Perhaps one of the most famous versions of Pride and Prejudice is the 1995 film starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle. Some readers will be familiar with its opening scene, where Mr. Darcy sneers at Elizabeth as he walks past her on the street in London. But while this may seem like a statement of disdain, it really indicates his interest in her, a notion that bears repeating over and over in the story's pages.
Reception of Pride and Prejudice
Early critical reviews of Pride and Prejudice have been highly positive. Readers have found the novel's themes of love, family, and social status to be captivating and insightful. The characters' witty dialogue and realistic relationships with one another have won many readers over.
How has Pride and Prejudice become a popular classic in modern times?
The novel's themes of love, family, and social status are still relevant to readers today. In addition to this, its well-developed characters, witty dialogue, and compelling storyline make it an excellent read for any genre of reader.
What does the novel tell us about gender roles?
Pride and Prejudice is a great example of how a woman’s place in society can change over time. Through Elizabeth Bennet’s development from an independent young woman to a dutiful wife and mother, readers can learn the value of equality between genders.
How does the book compare to other Austen's works?
Jane Austen's masterwork Pride and Prejudice is a love story set against a backdrop of social and family intrigue. It explores the central themes of love, marriage, and social class.
The story revolves around Elizabeth Bennet, a young woman who feels that her life has been overshadowed by her sisters' due to her family's good fortune. She longs to experience more of the world and take charge of her own destiny. This prompts her to accept an offer of marriage from Mr. Darcy, an elitist aristocrat known for his pride and
prejudice against those he considers below him. He is handsome, witty, and dashing—everything Elizabeth desires in a husband.
Mr. Darcy is daunted by Elizabeth’s beauty and wit but can't find it in himself to give her what she wants. The two protagonists' individual quests for self-fulfillment make them ideal partners for a love story.
In terms of plot structure, Pride and Prejudice follows the classic three-act structure common in most modern fiction. It is divided into three parts: a first encounter, courtship, and marriage ceremony. The narrative voice is characterized by its flowing prose and use of wit and social satire to illustrate critical points about society at large through a series of characters' perspectives or opinions on various topics such as love and marriage.
In a literal sense, Pride and Prejudice is a classic novel of romantic entanglements that are as timeless as they are universally relatable. But the reasons for its endless popularity and appeal go far beyond the surface. The book is a treasure trove of witticisms, memorable quotes, and life lessons, which you can compare to any other work of literature. You will be able to relate to it no matter your age or background, because the themes of prejudice and pride are universal. If you haven't read it yet, we urge you to pick up a copy right away!