Pride and Prejudice, a classic novel by Jane Austen, tells the story of a complicated love that develops between what was thought to be two very different personalities. The protagonist, Elizabeth Bennet, misjudges a man upon rumor and appearance, but finds out she is extraordinarily wrong. The novel explains how difficult it is to fully understand someone after settling upon assumptions and being under the influence of the authorities around them. However this is the trial one must pass in order to find true love or friendship.
Social class was a major influence throughout the 1800s, when this story takes place. Unfortunately, the Bennet family was fairly poor compared to Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy’s. This is where some of the conflict originates from. The Bennet girls fall in love with upper class men despite their social order which prevents them from being a desirable pair. On the other hand, the poor end of the relationship would benefit from a marriage to a rich family. Characters such as Elizabeth and Jane are torn apart as they struggle against the pressure from their mother and other aristocrats that frown upon their relationships with Darcy and Bingley.
The novel primarily focuses on the personalities and actions of female characters as they strive to gain happiness. However, the women in this novel can be divided into two groups. The first includes characters such as Mrs. Bennet, Miss Bingley, Lydia, and Lady Catherine. These women have the tendency to manipulate the world around them in their favor. They display all the faults in women; greed, over confidence, and stupidity to name a few.
The other half of women consists of Jane and Elizabeth Bennet, and Georgiana Darcy. These characters can be thought of as the good-hearted women. Although they have some realistic faults, their overall personality reflects the honest side of women. Jane and Elizabeth, regardless if they come from the same family as Lydia and Mrs. Bennet, appear to be more intelligent judging from actions they take and the way they respond to things. The two Bennet girls are not as heavily concerned with money as the other women. Also, Georgiana is a shy girl that does not have the arrogant personality that is often obtained by women of high rank and or wealth.
Austen is able to create a miniature representation of women in English society just by a few characters in this story. She criticizes ignorant women with similar mindsets as the first group of women (including Lydia, etc.) that she encountered from her experience. Readers are able to conclude from this novel that most women in the 1800s desired only marriage that would lead to wealth, gaining social rank, and saw it as their sole responsibility to become wives. The author restores some dignity in women by adding characters such as Elizabeth who have the sensibility and modesty that allows them to reflect upon their mistakes, while others never admit to theirs. Austen suggests ideal women should be like Elizabeth and not what the characters of the book consider accomplished.
In addition, male characters in Pride and Prejudice also have a variety of personalities. Characters such as Mr. Darcy have their faults towards the beginning but are able to fix them as the story progresses. For instance, Mr. Darcy’s pride and shyness contradicts itself, however both play an active role in giving Elizabeth the wrong impression. His secret love comes to believe the man as arrogant and unpleasant. In fictional reality, Mr. Darcy is actually a very gracious man, but is unable to express his thoughts in a polite manner especially to people he has never been acquainted with. Elizabeth also goes through the same process as she gains more information about Darcy from others, himself, and through personal experience. The prejudice that develops on Elizabeth’s side creates the drama that drives this story to be exciting.
In reality, the traits these characters have are quite common. By nature, human beings have the urge to create assumptions towards other people. They may be wrong, but it is only natural to have them. It is the goodness of the person that prevents them from presenting these assumptions without evidence. Some characters fail to do this, and whenever they approach an idea in their favor, they must share it. Whether we realize it or not, we have many faults. The morals of the story encourage the initiative that should be taken to fix the mistakes we make.
This novel teaches us not to misjudge a person without completely understanding them, which formulates the title, Pride and Prejudice. The story not only gives a happy ending, but a resolution to overcoming influences that have nothing to do with the actual relationship between people. An appropriate judgment can only be made by individuals themselves.
I would recommend this story to people who have been troubled with similar situations when it comes to judging or leaving a positive impression on others. The morals in Pride and Prejudice are put into relatable context to the real world. I am sure it will affect the reader’s viewpoint in one way or another, as it did for me.
Not only is this story for those troubled in relationships, but the fact that it is a beautiful love story should not be disregarded. I would definitely be interested in reading similar books like this or other novels by Jane Austen because I fell in love with the characters and the author’s writing. The style of writing that colored each picture and thought that went into every sentence was very well done. I praise the author’s ability to word this love story so perfectly.