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Pride and Prejudice

By hyeonp Mar 10, 2011 1663 Words
Jane Austen originally intended to title it "First Impressions," but later changed it to "Pride and Prejudice." Nonetheless, the title still goes off that premise. Both Darcy and Elizabeth are "pride" and "prejudice," because their entire relationship throughout the novel is marked by their "pride" and "prejudice." Now that I think about it, that may have been why she decided to change the title. It's not just their first impressions of each other, but instead, about the "pride" and "prejudice" they constantly have and must get over in order to be "happy." You could also extend the whole "pride" and "prejudice" argument to the other characters as well. The novels basic argument is that human relationships are complicated and manipulated by "pride " and "prejudice."

There are a lot of quotes that refer to the pride of Elizabeth and Darcy, you kind of have to infer the prejudice part though… I've included some of those quotes that speak about the pride of both Elizabeth and Darcy, as well as some other characters. These should help you formulate your argument, or expand your knowledge of the book, or whatever your purpose may be.

"I could easily forgive his PRIDE, if he had not mortified mine." (Elizabeth about Darcy; Ch. 5)

"Vanity and PRIDE are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be PROUD without being vain. PRIDE relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us." (Mary; Ch. 5)

Elizabeth's astonishment was beyond expression. She stared, coloured, doubted, and was silent. This he considered sufficient encouragement; and the avowal of all that he felt, and had long felt for her, immediately followed. He spoke well; but there were feelings besides those of the heart to be detailed; and he was not more eloquent on the subject of tenderness than of PRIDE. His sense of her inferiority— of its being a degradation— of the family obstacles which judgement had always opposed to inclination, were dwelt on with a warmth which seemed due to the consequence he was wounding, but was very unlikely to recommend his suit.

"And this," cried Darcy, as he walked with quick steps across the room, "is your opinion of me! This is the estimation in which you hold me! I thank you for explaining it so fully. My faults, according to this calculation, are heavy indeed! But perhaps," added he, stopping in his walk, and turning towards her, "these offenses might have been overlooked, had not your PRIDE been hurt by my honest confession of the scruples that had long prevented my forming any serious design. These bitter accusations might have been suppressed, had I, with greater policy, concealed my struggles, and flattered you into the belief of my being impelled by unqualified, unalloyed inclination; by reason, by reflection, by everything. But disguise of every sort is my abhorrence. Nor am I ashamed of the feelings I related. They were natural and just. Could you expect me to rejoice in the inferiority of your connections?— to congratulate myself on the hope of relations, whose condition in life is so decidedly beneath my own?"

The tumult of her mind, was now painfully great. She knew not how to support herself, and from actual weakness sat down and cried for half-an-hour. Her astonishment, as she reflected on what had passed, was increased by every review of it. That she should receive an offer of marriage from Mr. Darcy! That he should have been in love with her for so many months! So much in love as to wish to marry her in spite of all the objections which had made him prevent his friend's marrying her sister, and which must appear at least with equal force in his own case— was almost incredible! It was gratifying to have inspired unconsciously so strong an affection. But his PRIDE, his abominable PRIDE— his shameless avowal of what he had done with respect to Jane— his unpardonable assurance in acknowledging, though he could not justify it, and the unfeeling manner in which he had mentioned Mr. Wickham, his cruelty towards whom he had not attempted to deny, soon overcame the pity which the consideration of his attachment had for a moment excited.

Her heart did whisper that he had done it for her. But it was a hope shortly checked by other considerations, and she soon felt that even her vanity was insufficient, when required to depend on his affection for her— for a woman who had already refused him— as able to overcome a sentiment so natural as abhorrence against relationship with Wickham. Brother-in-law of Wickham! Every kind of PRIDE must revolt from the connection. He had, to be sure, done much. She was ashamed to think how much. But he had given a reason for his interference, which asked no extraordinary stretch of belief. It was reasonable that he should feel he had been wrong; he had liberality, and he had the means of exercising it; and though she would not place herself as his principal inducement, she could, perhaps, b Source(s):

It's not one of my favorite books (I don't like Austen that much), but nonetheless, I have read it several times and wrote about it for a English class I once had.)

This manuscript was first titled "First Impressions." However, in 1797, the manuscript was rejected by a publisher. As Austen spent time refining it before it was published as "Pride and Prejudice" in 1813, we can assume it was not the name change that brought upon its success. Even so, the second title is much more appropriate.

The protagonist, Elizabeth, suffers from both pride and prejudice. She has pride in her ability to understand human nature. She teases her sister for being too understanding, and thinks she herself sees people more honestly. For instance, she quickly discerns that Mr. Collins is both an arrogant and foolish man. However, Elizabeth's pride in this ability causes her to trust it too much. Enter prejudice. When Mr. Darcy ignores her, she becomes prejudice against him. When Mr. Wickham shows an interest, she becomes prejudice towards him. It is not until much later that she learns how wrong she was. In those climatic moments, she says, "until now, I never knew myself." She has let her pride and her prejudice mislead her.

The secondary protagonist, Darcy, goes through a similar learning experience. His pride in his status and intelligence makes him behave with prejudice towards others, until Elizabeth teaches him a lesson. Once the two characters have overcome these failings, they start on the road to being together.

Pride and Prejudice is, in fact, a very significant title. The word pride can be defined as ‘justifiable self-respect.’ The dictionary definition for prejudice is ‘an opinion for or against something without adequate basis.’ The whole novel revolves around these two simple nouns. When Darcy first comes to Lizzy’s small countrified town, he is considered ‘too proud’ because he haughtily avoided talking to the town’s inhabitants and only danced and spoke with his own party. What Lizzy discovers later is simply a form of shyness and uncomfortable unease, Darcy is judged negatively because of it. This causes Elizabeth to hold off admitting that she loved him for a long time, especially to herself, because she assumed he was a ‘proud’ man and not worth her time. General observations on pride can be found in several quotes:

“ Pride is a very common failing I believe. By all that I have ever read, I am convinced that it is very common indeed, that human nature is particularly prone to it, and that there are very few of the sore of some quality or other, real or imaginary. Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used simultaneously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us.” (Austen: ch 5, pg 33)

“His pride does not offend me so much as pride often does, because there is an excuse for it. One cannot wonder that so very fine a young man, with family, fortune, everything so in his favor, should think highly of himself. He has a right to be proud.” (Austen: ch 5, pg 31)

Prejudice is also a hugely important word in this story. When Lizzy condemns Darcy as not worth her while, she is acting on a prejudice rooting from other people’s personal anecdotes regarding him. When Darcy resists falling in love with Elizabeth, he is acting on a very strong prejudice against her unorthodox family, her country upbringing, her unworthy bloodlines and fortune. After a while, he finds he cannot repress his feelings despite all of his prejudices toward Elizabeth herself and admits that he loves her.

The book’s name, Pride and Prejudice, is important because basically it is because of these two words that there is such a story of Elizabeth and Darcy. Without pride, another woman may have fallen in love with Darcy earlier. Without prejudice based on pride, Elizabeth would have loved Darcy sooner. Without pride and prejudice, Darcy would have realized he loved Elizabeth sooner and therefore there wouldn’t have been a cause for a book on Pride and Prejudice and the story of Lizzy and Darcy to be told.

In fact, this book’s original title was First Impressions, and that title would have been just as suitable. It is Lizzy’s first impression of Darcy that depicts him as prideful, creating an obstacle, and it is Darcy’s first impression of Lizzy that deems her linage and upbringing as unworthy, which was a prejudice of his. First Impressions would have been a title fitting for this book, but not as catchy or revealing as the title Pride and Prejudice.

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