Pride and Prejudice
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife. However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his first entering a neighborhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families, that he is considered the rightful property of some one ot other of their daughters” (Austen, Pride and Prejudice 1).
These first sentences of Austen’s novel immediately establish a central motif of the work—marriageability—and equally demonstrates Austen’s use of irony. The novel is considered an Horacian satire, a direct form of satire which pokes fun at humble foibles with a witty, even indulgent tone. Austen described her work metaphorically as miniature painitngs on small bits of ivory, an art form popular in her lifetime. She prided herself on knowing to the smallest detail th e little corner of the world she created in her narrative. But as critics Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar have pointed out, this reference to the miniature is not necessarily the familiarity self-deprecating move of a woman writer of the time, but is in fact unsettling in that it reminds “us of the risk and instability outisde the fictional space.” In other words, Austen’s work is a metaphor for her interest in the subdivision of social space and the gender and class boundaries that such subdivision implies.
Before you read the novel, read and consider the attached articles, “The Best Qualities of Pride and Prejudice” by Somerset Maugham and “Clashes and Compromises in Pride and Prejudice” by Laura Mooneyham. The articles will give you a conext for a deeper understanding of Austen’s work.
Your Summer Assignment: As you read, mark (bookmark, sticky notes) scenes that strike you as particularly humorous/funny (remember, the humour is British—dry and witty). When you finish the novel, select five such scenes and write a dialect journal entry for each. The...
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