Pride and Prejudice - Analysis

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Pride & Prejudice

Jane Austin, the author of Pride & Prejudice, was born December 16, 1775. She was one of five children to her parents George and Cassandra Austen. Austin was very close to her only sister Cassandra and the correspondence between the two was abundant, although many of the letters were discarded after Austin’s death. Cassandra is also responsible for the only unquestioned drawing that we have of Austin. Austin received her education from two family members in Oxford then in Southampton. She ended her studies at Reading Ladies boarding school in the Abbey gatehouse in Reading, Berkshire. Austin was influenced by the novels she borrowed from the library as well as her family who encouraged the presentation of her stories. Four novels were published in her lifetime, the most popular being Pride and Prejudice. She had only two potential romances in her life but neither one worked out. She received an engagement proposal from one of the men; she initially accepted but then changed her mind later. The other was a flirtatious crush that never amounted to anything but Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice is said to represent this man.

Pride and Prejudice is a love novel that tells a story about love in the eighteenth century. During that time marriage was not always for love people were very class conscious and would try to marry above their rank. The main characters are the Bennett sisters, who have one purpose in life which is to find a husband, as told to by their mother. The protagonist being Elizabeth Bennett, is not exactly like her sisters; she is smarter and witty. The story begins to unfold as a wealthy, single man takes up residence in a near by estate. With him he brings family and friends. This provides the Bennett sister with some choice men. As the novel continues two characters, Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, begin to show unexpected feelings for each other which bring about the climax of the novel. In the end they end up together and live happily ever after.

The novel raises many questions of marriage. Throughout the novel we see four main marriages; each persons marring for different reasons. Austin explores reasons that people unite in marriage. Marriage for love, need, passion and lust are the types discussed. I believe that Austin thought these were all major components of a complete marriage. The author experiences these types of relationships through her writing and conveys how she feels about each type. Throughout life peoples perception of what marriage or love should consist of changes, new ideas are constantly being formed. Austin shows this by the level of relationships she shows, the younger the person the more frivolous they are and the older the more serious.

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” The first line sets up the theme for the rest of the story, marriage. In the 19th century is was commonly assumed that if a wealthy man was single then he was in want of a wife. The same was true for a woman if she was single and in good social standing she too must want a husband. Four main marriages are discussed: Charlotte Lucas and Mr. Collins, Mr. Wickham and Lydia Bennett, Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy, Jane Bennett and Charles Bingley.

Mr. Collins first comes to Netherfield to fix a negative relationship that had existed between his deceased father and Mr. Bennett, the father of the Bennett sisters. He was next in line to inherit the land in which the Bennett lived on, he wanted to make truce with Mr. Bennett by taking one of the daughters for marriage. He first set his eye on Jane, but was quickly told that she was to be married soon. He tried then for Elizabeth, her mother was quite happy about this; when it came time for his proposal he was declined with disgust by Elizabeth. He tried to show his affection while they were at a ball which ended in him spending quite a lot of time with her best...
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