Scholarly Pride... or is it Prejudice?
The title of a literary work often reveals its significance as the story unfolds. While reason behind some titles are obvious, other novels require extensive in depth analysis to truly understand the meaning behind the title. Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice certainly falls into the latter. Many scholars have conflicting views of the meaning behind Pride and Prejudice, leading to a great deal of scholarly debate. In particular, Robert Fox and D.J. Dooley have opposite interpretations of the title, revolving around the idea of prejudice versus vanity. Although Robert Fox sees the title of Pride and Prejudice merely as Jane Austen's fall back plan of alliteration and antithesis, I agree with D.J. Dooley's analysis of the title, stating that it refers to the two prevalent flaws of the main characters.
Pride is an emotion we all feel at one time or another, and prejudice is a form of judgment many of us are guilty of at times. These two very common aspects of human nature are also the focal point of Pride and Prejudice. Elizabeth, the main character, feels that Mr. Darcy's pride is unbearable in the early stages of the novel. On the other hand, Elizabeth displays prejudice toward Mr. Darcy, judging him without truly having all the facts. She views his refusal to dance at the ball as a show of false pride, that he feels superior to those at the dance. Because of this first impression, Elizabeth believes Wickham's story about Darcy without second guessing him. Elizabeth's hatred of Darcy remains strong throughout most of the novel, with Charlotte even saying, "That would be the greatest misfortune of all! To find a man agreeable whom one is determined to hate!" (Austen 93) Darcy's initial impression of Elizabeth comes from her gossiping, inconsiderate family, causing him to believe that he outranks them. His pride, and he has much to be proud of, resonates throughout the ballroom in a portentous
manner. It is not until...
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