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Book Report on Pride and Prejudice

By liuzhitong Apr 05, 2011 907 Words
Book Report on Pride and Prejudice
The author of Pride and Prejudice is Jane Austen who was born in Steventon, Hampshire, in the south of England, in 1775 and died at the age of 41. She began writing at the age of fourteen as entertainment for her family. Austen’s early writing often made gentle fun of popular fiction of the time. Love and Friendship, her first book (completed in 1790), was not very kind to those writers who scorned emotional self-control. Northanger Abbey was written at the same time, but only appeared after her death. Sense and sensibility was begun in 1797 but did not appear in print until 1811. This book, Pride and Prejudice (1813), Emma (1816) and Persuasion (1817) are Austen’s best-known works. A more deeply serious work is Mansfield Park (1814); this has never been as popular with the reading public as the others, but to many it is the height of her achievement. Austen’s novels were fairly popular in her lifetime, but it was only after her death that they achieved great success and that she was really given the respect she deserved. Pride and Prejudice is one of Jane Austen’s masterpieces which are dealing with the everyday lives and concerns of middle-class people living in the countryside and towns of England. The story in this novel happened in England in the 19th century when parents were seriously concerned about their children’s marriage. It was very important at that time for young women of a certain class to marry well, since they had no money or property of their own and were completely dependent on their fathers first and then on their husbands. By showing how various characters choose their marriage partners and the mistakes they make along the way, the story indicates that it is incorrect to marry for property or position only, but it’s also stupid to marry without considering about those factors. They, both, will lead to unhappiness. Therefore, the author emphasizes the importance of an ideal marriage which is based on the emotion between men and women. Besides, Jane also shows that an honest and honourable nature is more important than social rules which are followed only on the surface. "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife." It is obvious that the main subject of the novel will be about courtship and marriage from the beginning of it. In fact, there are seven different marriages presented in the novel. Excluding the Gardiner and the Lucas, the remaining five marriages contrast each other to reveal Jane's opinions and thoughts on the subject of marriage. The marriage between Darcy and Elizabeth reveals the characteristics which constitutes a successful marriage. One of these characteristics is that the feeling cannot be brought on by appearances, and must gradually develop between the two people as they get to know one another. In the beginning, Elizabeth and Darcy were distant from each other because of their prejudice. Then, a series of events which they both experienced gave them the opportunity to understand each other and the time to reconcile their feelings about each other. For example, Darcy spent a large amount of money for Lydia, Elizabeth’s youngest sister, who is devoted to a life of dancing, fashions, gossips and flirting only in the hope of not ruining the reputation of the Bennets. Finally, their mutual understanding lays the foundation of their relationship and leads them to a peaceful and long-lasting marriage. The marriage between Jane Bennet and Bingley is also an example of successful marriage. Jane Austen, through Elizabeth, expresses her opinion of this in the novel: "....really believed all his [Bingley] expectations of felicity, to be rationally founded, because they had for basis the excellent understanding, and super-excellent disposition of Jane, and a general similarity of feeling and taste between her and himself." (Chapter 55) However, unlike Darcy and Elizabeth, there is a flaw in their relationship. The flaw is that both characters are too gullible and good-hearted to act strongly against external forces that may attempt to separate them: "You [Jane and Bingley] are each of you so complying, that nothing will ever be resolved on; so easy, that every servant will cheat you; and so generous, that you will always exceed your income." (Chapter 55) But finally, after all the ups and downs, they get together happily. Obviously, Lydia and Wickham's marriage is an example of an bad marriage. Their marriage was based on appearances, good looks, and youthful vivacity. Once these qualities can no longer be seen by each other, the once strong relationship will slowly fade away. As in the novel, Lydia and Wickham's marriage gradually disintegrates; Lydia becomes a regular visitor at her two elder sister's homes when "her husband was gone to enjoy himself in London or Bath." Through their relationship, Jane Austen shows that hasty marriage based on superficial qualities quickly cools and leads to unhappiness. According to these vivid plots, it’s not so hard for us to come to the conclusion that a happy and strong marriage takes time to build and must be based on mutual feeling, understanding, and respect. Hasty marriages acting on impulse, and based on superficial qualities will not survive and will lead to an inevitable unhappiness.

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