First Impressions in Pride and Prejudice

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The narrative describes how the prejudices and first impressions (especially those dealing with pride) of the main characters change throughout the novel, focusing on those of Elizabeth Bennet. She had a smart first impression about Mr. Collins and how absurdly self-serving he is and about Lady Catherine de Bourgh and how proud and snobbish she is. Her first impressions of Wickham and Darcy steer her in opposites which ironically so, they do not like each other. Wickham is first thought to be a gentleman by all. His good looks and his easy manner hits Elizabeth without question. Elizabeth and many of the other characters see Darcy as proud. His pride is shown here, “The gentlemen pronounced him to be a fine figure of a man, the ladies declared he was much handsomer than Mr. Bingley, and he was looked at with great admiration for about half the evening, till his manners gave a disgust which tuned the tide of his popularity; for he as discovered to be proud, to be above his company, and above being pleased; and 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.” (Austen, 11). This first impression is given to Elizabeth and she takes it quite harshly. Instead of pride seen in him, Elizabeth sees vanity and she says, “Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us.” (Austen, 19). First impressions are taken in the novel highly and Mrs. Bennet also makes sure that her daughters are ready for a first impression because her first priority is to get her daughters married so that they may be with a fine husband. These are only a few of the major examples of first impressions, prejudice and pride in the novel, as these themes show up throughout the story.
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