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Pride and Prejudice

By Nagrulz1 Jun 04, 2013 2179 Words
Pride and Prejudice
Pride and Prejudice is a novel by Jane Austen, first published in 1813. The story follows the main character Elizabeth Bennet as she deals with issues of manners, upbringing, morality, education, and marriage in the society of the landed gentry of early 19th-century England. Elizabeth is the second of five daughters of a country gentleman living near the fictional town of Meryton in Hertfordshire, near London. Though the story is set at the turn of the 19th century, it retains a fascination for modern readers, continuing near the top of lists of "most loved books" such as The Big Read.[1] It has become one of the most popular novels in English literature and receives considerable attention from literary scholars. Modern interest in the book has resulted in a number of dramatic adaptations and an abundance of novels and stories imitating Austen's memorable characters or themes. To date, the book has sold some 20 million copies worldwide.[2] The novel centers on the Bennet family, consisting of the bookish Mr Bennet, his wife, a woman somewhat lacking in social graces and primarily concerned with her family's fortunes, and their five daughters. The youngest, Lydia, mostly takes after Mrs Bennet; the eldest, Jane, is kind-hearted and proper; and the central character, Elizabeth Bennet, is the second-eldest and she mostly takes after her father, sharing his keen wit and occasionally sarcastic outlook. The narrative opens with Mr Bingley, a wealthy, charismatic and social young bachelor, moving into Netherfield Park in the neighbourhood of the Bennet family. Mr Bingley is soon well received, while his friend Mr Darcy makes a less favorable first impression by appearing proud and condescending at a ball that they attend (he detests dancing and is not much for light conversation). Mr Bingley singles out Jane for particular attention, and it soon becomes apparent that they have formed an attachment to each other, though Jane does not alter her conduct for him, confessing her great happiness only to Lizzie. By contrast, Darcy slights Elizabeth, who overhears and jokes about it despite feeling a budding resentment. On paying a visit to Mr Bingley's sister, Caroline, Jane is caught in a heavy downpour, catches cold, and is forced to stay at Netherfield for several days. Elizabeth arrives to nurse her sister and is thrown into frequent company with Mr Darcy, who begins to act marginally less coldly towards her.

Illustration by Hugh Thomson representing Mr Collins protesting that he never reads novels. Mr Collins, a clergyman, pays a visit to the Bennets. Mr Bennet and Elizabeth are much amused by his obsequious veneration of his employer, the noble Lady Catherine de Bourgh, as well as by his self-important and pedantic nature. It soon becomes apparent that Mr Collins has come to Longbourn to choose a wife from among the Bennet sisters (his cousins) and Elizabeth has been singled out. At the same time, Elizabeth forms an acquaintance with Mr Wickham, a militia officer who claims to have been very seriously mistreated by Mr Darcy, despite having been a ward of Mr Darcy's father. This tale, and Elizabeth's attraction to Mr Wickham, fuels her dislike of Mr Darcy. At a ball given by Mr Bingley at Netherfield, Mr Darcy becomes aware of a general expectation that Mr Bingley and Jane will marry, and the Bennet family, with the exception of Jane and Elizabeth, make a public display of poor manners and decorum. The following morning, Mr Collins proposes marriage to Elizabeth, who refuses him, much to her mother's distress. Mr Collins recovers and promptly becomes engaged to Elizabeth's close friend Charlotte Lucas, a homely woman with few prospects. Mr Bingley abruptly quits Netherfield and returns to London, devastating Jane, and Elizabeth becomes convinced that Mr Darcy and Caroline Bingley have colluded to separate him from Jane. In the spring, Elizabeth visits Charlotte and Mr Collins in Kent. Elizabeth and her hosts are frequently invited to Rosings Park, home of Lady Catherine de Bourgh, Darcy's aunt; coincidentally, Darcy also arrives to visit. Elizabeth meets Darcy's cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam, who vouches for Darcy's loyalty, using as an example how Darcy had recently stepped in on behalf of a friend, who had formed an attachment to a woman against whom "there were some very strong objections." Elizabeth is astonished to discover that said friend was none other than Mr Bingley, and her dislike of Darcy hardens further. Thus she is of no mood to accept when Darcy arrives and, quite unexpectedly, confesses love for her and begs her hand in marriage. Elizabeth rebukes him, and a heated discussion follows; she charges him with destroying her sister's happiness, with treating Mr Wickham disgracefully, and with having conducted himself towards her in an arrogant, ungentleman-like manner. Mr Darcy, shocked, ultimately responds with a letter giving a good account of (most of) his actions: Wickham had exchanged his legacies for a cash payment, only to return after gambling away the money to reclaim the forfeited inheritance; he then attempted to elope with Darcy's young sister Georgiana, thereby to capture her fortune. Regarding Jane, Darcy claims he had observed no reciprocal interest in Jane for Bingley, and had assumed her not to be in love with him. In addition to this, he cites the "want of propriety" in the behaviour of Mrs Bennet and her three younger daughters. Elizabeth, who had previously despaired over these very behaviors, is forced to admit the truth of Mr Darcy's observations, and begins to wonder whether she has misjudged him.

Elizabeth tells her father that Darcy was responsible for uniting Lydia and Wickham. This is one of the two earliest illustrations of Pride and Prejudice.[4] The clothing styles reflect the time the illustration was engraved (the 1830s), not the time the novel was written or set. Some months later, Elizabeth and her Aunt and Uncle Gardiner visit Pemberley, Darcy's estate, believing he will be absent for the day. He returns unexpectedly, and though surprised, he is gracious and welcoming. He treats the Gardiners with great civility. Darcy introduces Elizabeth to his sister, and Elizabeth begins to realize her attraction to him. Their reacquaintance is cut short, however, by the news that Lydia has run away with Mr Wickham. Elizabeth and the Gardiners return to Longbourn, where Elizabeth grieves that her renewed acquaintance with Mr Darcy will end as a result of her sister's disgrace. Lydia and Wickham are soon found, then married by the clergy; they visit Longbourn, where Lydia lets slip that Mr Darcy was in attendance at her wedding but that this was to have been a secret. Elizabeth is able to discover, from her Aunt Mrs. Gardiner, that in fact Mr. Darcy was responsible for finding the couple and negotiating their marriage, at great personal and monetary expense. Elizabeth is shocked but is unable to dwell further on the topic due to Mr Bingley's return and subsequent proposal to Jane, who immediately accepts. Lady Catherine de Bourgh later bursts in on Longbourn; intending to thwart local rumour, she warns Elizabeth against marrying Mr Darcy. Elizabeth refuses her demands. Disgusted, Lady Catherine leaves and drops by to inform her nephew on Elizabeth's abominable behaviour. However, this lends hope to Darcy that Elizabeth's opinion of him may have changed. He travels to Longbourn and proposes again, and this time, Elizabeth accept Biblilography

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pride_and_Prejudice
http://classiclit.about.com/od/prideprejudice/fr/aa_prideprej.htm http://anovelmenagerie.com/2009/05/27/book-review-prideandprejudice/

The Story
This is the story of Elizabeth Bennet and her family, which includes her parents and her four sisters.  Living in England in the early 1800′s, the focus of young women was on who they were to be compatible with and subsequently marry.  In the story of this family, Mr. and Mrs. Bennet have no male heir to their estate.  Subsequently, their home and wealth is slated to go to a cousin, Mr. Collins upon Mr. Bennet’s death.  As such, it is seemingly more important to Mrs. Bennet than other mothers to marry off her five daughters as soon as possible to ensure that they are cared for in the event of Mr. Bennet’s passing.  The story of Pride & Prejudice starts when a handsome and wealthy man, Mr. Bingley, comes to rent an estate not far from The Bennet Family’s.  As he takes possession of this fine rental, the families in the surrounding area buzz with excitement and anticipation that this fine gentleman will choose one of their daughters as a bride.  Mrs. Bennet  is no exception.  At a ball, Elizabeth’s older and beautiful sister, Jane, becomes the object of Mr. Bingley’s affections.  It is also at this ball that Elizabeth (“Lizzy”) overhears a handsome stranger, Mr. Darcy, state that she is not “handsome” enough to be considered for a dance with him at the ball.  Mr. Darcy is a very wealthy, handsome, and brooding stranger whom Lizzy will soon not be able to avoid. This story takes readers from the time of that ball until well over a year later.  During such time, The Bennet family is faced with an issue of family honor when their daughter Lydia runs off with a handsome, however untrustworthy military man, Mr. Wickman.  In addition, Mr. Collins makes an attempt to marry into the family to find himself a suitable wife.  Thankfully, The Bennet Daughters are spared despite Mrs. Bennet’s urging to accept his long-winded proposal.  However, the most important story within this novel is the love story between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy.  The reader observes her initial disdain for him grow into an irresistible love that she can not deny. The Review

From what I understand about Jane Austen, before her there were no other authors who narrated the human psyche as much as she did within the writings of a novel.  Her descriptions of society and of the inner the minds of her heroes and heroines changed the face of the English Literature.  Despite all of the rants and ravings I’ve heard over the years, mainly from women, about the excellence of Jane Austen… well, frankly I was uninterested.  In developing my passion for “The Classics,” I knew that Jane Austen could not be avoided forever.  Perhaps it was when my daughter started reading it that I thought to myself, “Okay, it’s time Sheri.”  And, so it was.  The good news is that reading this classic with an adult and appreciative mind, I was able to see the beauty in this literary masterpiece in a way that I’m not sure my high-school or college eyes would see.  As such, I read this book with a fervor that I can’t quite exactly explain.  I read this book quickly and aggressively because I was hooked.  Now, it’s not like a page-turner where you can’t wait to find out what happens next in the storyline.  In fact, expect the opposite in reading Austen.  There’s not much to the storyline at all.  I could sum up the events of this story in a paragraph lined with a few sentences… no problem!  Rather, it’s the addiction to discover the inner workings of the minds of the characters.  As a reader, I couldn’t wait to see Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy find a way to one another… What would Mr. Darcy do to convince her that he was the type of man that she could and would love?  Would the heart of this strong-willed woman melt in the arms of this uber-wealthy, super handsome man?  Would HE finally be deserving of her love? In speaking to others about this book, there is one main discovery that I’ve made.  The readers of this book have made these characters their own within their minds.  Whether they are loved, disliked or even what they look like is a very personal thing to the lovers of this book.  I must admit that I am NO different.  In watching the movie starring Keira Knightly, I formed strong opinions about the casting of the characters and how the movie was filmed.  It had to match my imagination for it to be right and good.  Now, this is something new and different for me.  Most book to movie translations I pick apart for other reasons… most commonly that the movie didn’t match the story within the book.  Because Pride & Prejudice is such a character-driven, psychological tale, it is that the characters must be cast like the book.  Here’s where the problem lies, the characters are formed in each reader’s personal imagination and no two Mr. Darcy’s are alike. I never, IN A MILLION YEARS, thought that I would ever be the type of person who now wants to see every movie version of Pride & Prejudice.  But, I do!  Nor did I ever imagine myself wanting to discuss a book as much as I want to discuss this one… but, only with women!  I’m just not that type of gal.  But, I guess apparently I am.  I’m shocked at myself.

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