Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen, review

I. Theme

Social conventions of the higher society. The method of transmissions of the father’s property and securing the future of the female offsprings.

II. Subject

Money, property, marriage, love, romance, hypocrisy, pride = Mr. Darcy and prejudice - Elizabeth

III. Plot and structure

  1. Mr. Bingley a man of a large fortune buys Netherfield and Mrs. Bennet wants to marry one of her five daughters, so she does everything to do so.
  2. Bingley is invited by Mr. Bennet and then Bingley organizes ball during which Jane dances with Bingley and Elizabeth meets Darcy.
  3. Jane is invited to Netherfield, she gets sick, Elizabeth looks after her, during this visit Jane falls in love with Bingley and Elizabeth starts to like Darcy.
  4. Mr. Collins makes proposal to Elizabeth to save family property, when she refuses him, he marries Charlotte Lucas.
  5. When Elizabeth starts to like Darcy, appears Wickham, who talks he is bad and Elizabeth believes him
  6. Bingley departs to London
  7. Thanks to Gardiners Elizabeth meets Darcy at Pemberly and from colonel Fitzwilliam she learns that Darcy caused separation of Jane and Bngley, she is angry with him.
  8. Darcy offers marriage to Elizabeth, she refuses
  9. Elizabeth finds out that Darcy is not bad, that her prejudice prevented her from right judgement.
  10. Lydia escapes with Wichkam, - she wants to be first lady of all her sisters.
  11. Bingley comes back with Darcy and there are two other marriages

Structure of the novel is set in chronological order

Conflict: main conflict inside society, any young woman must marry otherwise she will loose everything, her heritage from parents, social status, etc. In this case conflict consists of person versus people. Elizabeth wants to choose the right husband herself, but her parents are unwilling to see it they would like to see her to be marry as soon as possible and other daughters too, especially their mother.

In chapter 36, p. 141 occurs another, psychological conflict, inside person, conflict in Elizabeth’s mind. Elizabeth realizes that she was prejudiced against Darcy, and generally in her outlook on human virtues and properties. Her previous senses were …vanity not love….

  1. Exposition – Mrs Bennet wants to marry one of her five daughters. At that time a man Mr Bingley buys Netherfield Park, and she hopes she could marry at least the oldest one, so she starts to organize things. Girls are attending balls where they consequently meet Mr Darcy, Wickham and others. Bingley start to like Jane the oldest one, and she invites her to Netherfield, but during the journey she becomes ill and stays there. Elizabeth comes to look after her and she starts to like Mr. Darcy. Meanwhile Wickham and Collins are introduced.

  2. Complication – chapter 15 Mr. William Collins comes to Mr. Bennet with offer to marry one of his daughters, Elizabeth, to save his property for his family, his daughters because they are not married yet. The reason for his offer is that Mr. Bennet himself doesn’t have a male offspring.

  3. Crises – from chapter 19 when Mr Collins asks Mrs Bennet for personal audience of Elizabeth, during which he explains personal reasons why he wants to marry her, p. 73 – reason – heritage. She refuses him. Mother wants to save situation but it is helpless, finally Mr Collins asks for apology for being bushed. Mr. Collins goes to town and make proposal to Charlotte Lucas who agrees and thus heritage is saved. Meanwhile Bingley left to London for winter. Chapter 32 – 38 Elizabeth likes Darcy but discovers that he is connected with separation of Jane and Bingley. Then starts to hate him, he on the other hand explains how he loves her and wants to marry her. They argue and she refuses him. She explains him that she could be in love with him but his pride and her prejudice prevents them. Later Darcy explains her everything in one letter why he did what he did with Jane but explains that Wickham was paid his school and was not treated badly. She realized she was wrong towards him, p. 141. Chapter 46 - 51 – Lydia escaped with Wickham, it is thought that to Scotland, but it is found out that they are hidden in London. Instead of punishment Father and Mr. Gardiner organized wedding – importance to marry daughter as soon as possible, and arranged money matters for just married couple because Wickham was in debts.

  4. Climax – Chapter 53 – 60 As soon as Lydia and Wickham left, Bingley and his company came back. Mr. Bennet announced to Jane that she is happy woman. Elizabeth is afraid whether Darcy still loves her but lady Catherine warns her not to flirt with him because they are devoted with Darcy from childhood. Elizabeth refuses her requests and sends her somewhere... Finally in chapter 59 they are married.

  5. Resolution – Chapter 61 Jane with Mr Bingley and Elizabeth with Mr Darcy got married. At home stay Mary and Kity. Lydia sent congratulation letter to Elizabeth and she was sending her some money. Darcy and Elizabeth were glad and thankful to Gardiners who invited them at Pemberly.

IV. Setting

Manufactured things – buildings, rooms, but also natural – parks, Netherfield, Hertfordshire, Loungbourn – village where Bennet’s live, Meryton, Pemberly, Derbyshire, Rosings Park, Hunsford

V. Characters

Main characters:

  1. Mr. Darcy – friend of Mr. Hurst. Much handsomer than Mr. Bingley, tall earning 10.000 per year. However he was of bad behaviour, too pride, speaking to nobody else at ball except his well known companions. In reality he wan not as bad as he looked he needed some time to express his senses to woman that he liked, also his family did not treated their stewards badly. In Character he expressed opposition to Elizabeth. At first He starts to like Elizabeth and wants to know everything about her but she is not impressed, she refused to dance on ball with him
  2. Mr. William Bingley – a single man of large fortune living in London (5.000 a year) bought a Netherfield park. He has five sisters and a cousin. Bingley is different from Darcy. Darcy is too proud and Bingley is more talkative and happy (during the first ball he danced all evening Darcy only once or twice).
  3. Jane – Mrs. Bennet’s oldest daughter, she danced with Mr. Bingley twice on the first ball. She is different in character from Elizabeth. Jane is shier than Elizabeth and more surprised by the compliments.
  4. Elizabeth – second oldest daughter. Elizabeth is the only one on the family who thinks that Mr Darcy is right to be pride. At first she is indifferent to him but when she spends some time with her sick sister at Netherfield she starts to like Darcy – after dancing reel. She thinks Darcy has no defect p. 40. but her attitude towards him changes

Minor - stereotype (flat) characters:

Mrs. Bennet – mother of five daughters she wants to marry one of her daughters to Mr Bingley as he cam to Netherfield. She is difficult in character. The business of her life is to get her daughters married. She likes Mr. Bennet and idea to marry Jane with him but she dislikes Mr. Darcy.

Mr. Bennet – has a sarcastic humour, reserve and caprice. He is married 23 years

Lady Lucas – Bennet’s neighbour

Mr. Hurst – Mr. Bindley’s Brother in law, he lives only to eat drink and play cards

Kitty – daughter of Bennet’s

Mary – young lady of deep reflection, daughter af Bennet’s

Lydia – the youngest daughter of Bennet’s, she is stout 15 years old. She explains to her older sister her will to get married earlier than they. She likes flirt and family is afraid she will bring shame upon family. She dreams of flirt with six officers at the same time.

Mr. William Lucas – Bennet’s family intimates with his

Charlotte Lucas – young woman, 27 years old, intimate friend of Elizabeth, later she marries Mr Collins and then wants to show Elizabeth how she was mistaken.

Caroline Bingley – sister of Mr Bingley – invites Jane to dine at Netherfield with officers. She is jealous of Elizabeth, so she talks about her before Darcy that she looks ill. She is engaged to Darcy from childhood.

Mr. William Collins – a tall heavy looking young man 25 years old, making compliments about daughters. He wants to marry one in order to inherit Mr. Bennet property. He is cousin of Mr Bennet, he is not very bright and educated but has a house. He chooses to marry Elizabeth.

Mr. Wickham – he is one of officers and has some debts. He fights with other officers for ladies. He thinks he should work in church not in army and has bad opinion of Darcy, which Bingley doesn’t approve. In reality he is son of Darcy’s steward.

Colonel Fitzwilliam – Darcy is his cousin, Elizabeth talks with him about Darcy and his behaviour at Netherfield. From him she learns that Darcy advised, recently, Bingley not to marry a young lady p. 126.Thus she finds out that Darcy is connected with separation of Jane and Bingley

Lady Catherine – Mr. Darcy aunt

VI. Point of view

3rd person omniscient narrator- there are introduced also feelings of characters

VII. Style

Diction: high/ formal – there are used elegant words, correct word order, and absence of contradictions.

VIII. Tone

Tone - uniqueness, spontaneity, speculations

Irony – situational – in Case of Mr. Collins If you will not marry me some other woman will….

IX. Symbolism, allegory

Card tables, balls dresses, carriages - everything are symbols of richness and of higher society

X. Genre (type) - fiction

In my opinion the novel is combination of classic novel and romantic novel. There are mixed existential problems of families, especially unmarried females with their love affairs and feelings during courting that create many ironic situations inside the society of the pattern if you do not want me I will have another.

XI. Own interpretation

The title “Pride and Prejudice” indicates that the novel will describe contradictions or unevenness. The contradictions regards two specific people, however, background of the novel describes unevenness in much broader sense, unevenness inside society among men and women.

Young girls from the age of 16 like Lydia are expected to get married in order to secure their own future, otherwise their social status would fall down, then to secure heritage of their father’s property if there is not any female offspring. Everything looks quite normal like ordinary business marriage with woman, the exchange of security for person for money, but there is the cold business side of it that hides only business as in case of Mr. Collins. So when Elizabeth starts to select her partners problems occur, her behaviour is against the social conventions of that time but she risks. She risks, her future, father’s property and also lives of her younger sisters.  Her next behaviour could be described only as love affair that any woman could require, that is against the social conventions of that time. However, her love affair, or better say dreaming and speculating leads her towards final dream and in her thought the best solution for her Mr. Darcy, whom she at first likes, then dislikes, but when she realizes her own mistakes in judging people she likes him again. So what to say at the end? Contradictions attract themselves, if some pride and prejudice created evenness then differences among men and women should be by their living equalized.