Critical Analysis of James Sherry’s Pride and Prejudice: The Limits of Society In this critical analysis James Sherry comes across a few critics that mention the word society and what it means in the novel Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. According to Sherry the meaning that critics like Walton Litz give society is that it’s “sociological attraction-an institution, a set of laws, or a tradition”. (pg 610) Sherry feels that for Jane Austen the word had a different meaning, and supports his idea by giving examples of how the word is used by characters. Sherry believes that society has nothing to do with conventions, laws, or tradition, he stresses that “the presence of other individuals with whom it’s either a duty or a pleasure to mix”. (pg 611) is the real meaning behind the word society. In order to establish this notion Sherry explores the responsibility some characters have in the novel to be open (social), how some have to engage and be responsive members of a community (forced to be sociable), and how some of the characters are in need of privacy(unsociable). In all three concepts the characters are restricted under the limits of their society and the characters interact with each other is a simple result of the limits.
Sherry begins by comparing some of the characters in the novel, and how each character lives under the limits of society. He introduces Mr Bingley who falls under the category of being social. Mr Bingley is “everything a sociable gentleman should be-lively, open, unreserved with a pleasant countenance and agreeable manner”. (pg 612) He immediately begins talking with everyone at the party and is liked because of that. His ability to be open to people creates this idea that he is social with everyone, especially with Jane who he becomes interested in. The Bennett’s with the exception of Elizabeth and her father fall under the same category as Mr. Bingley. Mrs Bennett in particular, looks for her daughters to marry...
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