It is set during the 18th & 19th century in the English countryside. When a single man moves into the Netherfield estate, the neighborhood are thrilled. Mrs. Bennet hopes that one of her daughters marry them. The story shifts between the different manors of the families that are represented in the book.
Characters and Brief Description
Elizabeth Bennet – She is the protagonist of the novel. She one of the daughters of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet. She is the most sensible and intelligent of her five sisters. Is quick witted, and has a too sharp of a tongue for her own good. In the end she sees the good in Darcy.
Fitzwilliam Darcy – Darcy is a very wealthy gentleman. He is also the nephew of Lady Catherine. Darcy is honest and intelligent. His excess of pride causes him to look down on people.
Jane Bennet – Jane is the eldest Bennet sister. She is more gentler and reserved. Her relationship with Bingley is very different than it is with Elizabeth and Darcy.
Charles Bingley – He is Darcy’s best friend. He buys Netherfield, a home near the Bennets. He’s a well-intentioned man. He has a very easy going and is uncaring about class differences.
Mr. Bennet – The patriarch of the Bennet family. He has a cynical sense of humor and is sarcastic. He uses that to irritate his wife. Even though he loves his girls, he would prefer to back away from worrying about his daughter’s marriages.
Mrs. Bennet – She is a very noisy lady. The only goal she has in life is to make sure her daughters are married. She repels the men she try to get for her girls due to her behavior which reflects her low breeding.
George Wickham – he is a militia officer. He has a very attractive front, but behind that front is an awful man. This is revealed through Darcy’s letter to Elizabeth.
Point Of View
The narrator is in third person. The view seems to primarily follow Elizabeth, but sometimes we get information that Elizabeth does not know about. Although at the end of the story, it changes to first person.
Courtship – this story is about two courships. Darcy and Elizabeth, and Jane and Bingley. They both are very different from each other. Jane and Bingley liked each other almost right off the bat, but Darcy had to work for Elizabeths respect. In this book, courtship and marriage are the ultimate goal to life.
Journey – all of the scenes in the book are indoors. The scenes with the most action happen around the Bennet’s home. But even with that, the short journeys also signal change in the book. Elizabeth’s first one leads to her first proposal. The second is where she starts to like Darcy more. The third is looking for her sister. In the end Darcy finds them and saves her family’s honor, which just proves his devotion to her.
One of the narrative techniques in this book is third person omniscient. This means the author has full control of the story telling. Whatever is said we have to accept as fact and just follow along. Sometimes this method allows the narrator to talk to the reader to give information that the characters themselves do not know.
Another method used is dramatic method. This method completely takes away from the story telling of the scene and primarily dialogue is used. The dialogue reveals the personality of each person while at the same time, moving the plot along.
The third one is dramatizing the consciousness. She uses this to show the reader what her characters are thinking. She keeps track of the thought process of Elizabeth and reveals the emotions of feelings.
Description and Significance of Opening Scene
The beginning of the story give the reader and understanding on what’s going on in the Bennets life. It shows that their five daughters are entailed to very little of the estate. Mrs. Bennet hopes that one of her girls will marry well. The opening scene also shows how ridiculous the relation is between Mr. Bennet and Mrs. Bennet.
Description and Significance of Closing Scene
Traditionally when books end, you see the moral of the story. It may not be given to you directly, but you begin with a theory on what the story is supposed to convey. This story is very different from what appears the be the moral in the beginning and what shows up in the end. One could argue that it means preserving the status quo is the way things should be done. Its shown by how everything is settled in the end. Everything is happy, everyone is married. Men are better than women.
The ending could also be about progressing. Even with Darcy and Bingley being upper class and the Bennets being middle class, the Bennet girls end up married to Bingley and Darcy. This shows how much thought was put into the ending. It could be seen from two different views.
The village of Longbourn gets excited when the news that a gentleman has rented the manor of Netherfield Park. The Bennets are no exception to this. Mrs. Bennet is super desperate to get her five unmarried daughters, married and settled. Mr. Bennet goes and pays a visit to Mr. Bingley. Mr. Bingley ends up holding a ball, which the Bennets attend. Bingley spends most of the night dancing with Jane, one of the Bennets daughters. Although Mr. Darcy, Bingley’s close friend, is not as happy with the night. He even refuses to dance with Elizabeth, one of Jane’s sisters.
Over time Mr. Darcy finds himself becoming attracted to Elizabeth. Jane’s relationship with Mr. Bingley continues. One day, Jane goes to visit Bingley’s mansion. On the way to the mansion, Jane gets ill and is forced to stay at Netherfield until she gets better. Elizabeth wishes to tend to her sister, so she hikes through muddy fields to get the house. Miss Bingley’s sister is unhappy when she gets there because of how dirty she is. She gets even more upset when she sees that Darcy, who she likes, is paying a lot of attention to Elizabeth instead of her.
Mr. Collins is a pompous clergyman who is going to inherit Mr. Bennet’s property. This is because it has been entailed, which means it can only go to male heirs. Mr. Collins is enthralled with the Bennet girls. Once he arrivals, he proposes to Elizabeth, who turns him down, which wounds his pride. In the meantime, the girls become friendly with militia officers. Wickman, one of the officers, becomes friendly with Elizabeth. He tell her about how Darcy cheated him from an inheritance to discredit Darcy.
Winter time rolls around and the Bingleys and Darcy leave to return to london, which saddens Jane. Mr. Collins, shockingly, becomes engaged to Charlotte. Charlotte is Elizabeth’s best friend. Elizabeth is not happy with the match because she believes Charlotte can do better. Charlotte is the daughter of a poor local knight. As time goes on Charlotte explains to her friend that she needed the match for financial reasons. The two get married and Elizabeth tell her friend that she will visit them at their new home. As time moves on, Jane decides to go and visit her friends in the city. Mr. Bingley does not go and see her. Miss Bingley does, but she is very rude to her.
Elizabeth goes to visit Charlotte in the spring. Charlotte lives close to Lady Catherine, she is Darcy’s aunt. Dacry goes to see his aunt and finds out Elizabeth is staying at the Collin’s place. He then goes out of his way to visit several times. Darcy then decides to propose to her and Elizabeth refuses. She calls him unpleasant and arrogant. She gets angry and scolds him for him disinheriting Wickham and steering Bingley away from Jane.
Darcy leaves shortly after. Before he leaves, he gives her a letter. In the letter he talks about how he did urge Bingley to distance himself from Jane, but he says that he had no idea how serious their romance was. The letter also talks about Wickham, and that the officer is a liar. He says that Wickham tried to elope with his younger sister, and that was the cause of their argument.
Elizabeth thinks over the letter and rethinks her feelings for Darcy. She the goes home and acts coldly to Wickham. It is revealed that the militia is leaving, which makes the younger Bennet girls very upset. Lydia then gets the approval from her dad to stay with an old colonel for the summer. Elizabeth then leaves again to spend time with the Gardiners who are related to the Bennets. They end up in the neighborhood of Pemberley. Which happens to be where Darcy’s estate is.
Elizabeth then visits after making sure Darcy has left. She is happy with Pemberley’s place. All the the servants say that Darcy is wonderful. Darcy then shows up, but is scared around her. He invites her to come with him and meet his sister.
A short time later Elizabeth gets a letter from home saying that Wickham and Lydia eloped and now the two are nowhere to be found. It is suggested that they are living with each other out of wedlock, which would ruin the family and her sister. Elizabeth returns home in fear of the situation. Mr. Bennet and Mr. Gardiner go out looking for them. Mr. Bennet comes back, because he was unable to find any clues. Mr. Gardiner, on the other hand, sends a letter saying that he found them, and Wickham is going to marry Lydia, but he wants an annual income. The Bennets believe that Mr. Gardiner paid Wickham off. Later on Elizabeth finds out that the money came from Darcy.
After they get married, the two come back for a short visit before they depart to north of England. While they are there Mr. Bennet treats them coldly. A short time after they leave, Bingley comes back to resume his courtship of Jane. Darcy comes as well and pays a visit. Though he is there, he never says anything about wanting to marry Elizabeth.
Bingley proposes to Jane and they get married. Then Lady Catherine visits. She corners Elizabeth and tell her that her nephew is planning on marrying her. Since she doesn’t want Elizabeth to be with him, she demands to her that she tell him no. Elizabeth refuses to Catherine. She tells her she is not engaged to him yet, but she could not say no to anything that would make her unhappy. Later Darcy and Elizabeth take a walk. Darcy admits that his feeling have not changed and that he would still like to marry her. This time Elizabeth says yes. In the end, both Jane and Elizabeth are happily married.
1 – Social class
2 – Women who feel they have to be married to be happy
3 – Relationship between Mr. Bennet and her kids
Love – Elizabeth misjudges Darcy on a bad first impression. Austen poses smaller obstacles to the realization that they love each other. The pressures of social life and social connections interfere with that realization. Austen views love as something independent of social forces.
Reputation – it depicts a society where a woman’s reputation is of paramount importance. Often her reputation is the only value she has. There are ways women are expected to behave and stepping outside of those norms make the woman vulnerable to ostracism.
Class – Class and Reputation are related in theme. They both reflect strictly regimented nature of life. The lines of class are strictly drawn. The concept of the importance of class is often shared throughout this book. This whole discussion of class is often the point which criticisms are made regarding Austen as being a classist.
Thesis Statements for Each Theme
1 – Just because you love someone does not mean that it can affect you social standing, in Pride and Prejudice, it shows that love can be hard no matter your station.
2 – The events that take place in Pride and Prejudice establish an orientation to the social class and reputation of the characters.
3 – In Pride and Prejudice, Mr. Wickham ruined several romantic relationships because of his desire to raise his social standing.
Significant Quotes to be Memorized and Related to Theme/Thesis
1 – “Indeed, Jane, you ought to believe me. No one who has ever seen you together can doubt his affection. Miss Bingley, I am sure, cannot. She is not such a simpleton. Could she have seen half as much love in Mr. Darcy for herself, she would have ordered her wedding clothes. But the case is this: We are not rich enough or grand enough for them” Chapter 21
2 – “In vain I have struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” Chapter 34
3 – “Certainly, my dear, nobody said there were; but as to not meeting with many people in this neighbourhood, I believe there are few neighbourhoods larger. I know we dine with four-and-twenty families.” Chapter 9
4 – “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” Chapter 1
5 – Where there is a real superiority of mind, pride will be always under good regulation.” Chapter 11