Pride and Prejudice: Summary
Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice is a complex novel that relates the events surrounding the relations, lives, and loves of a middle-upper class English family in the late nineteenth century. Because of the detailed descriptions of the events surrounding the life of the main character of the story, Elizabeth Bennet, Pride and Prejudice is a very involving novel whose title is very indicative of the themes contained therein.
The first volume opens in the Bennet household at Longbourn in England. As there are five unmarried daughters living in the home at the time, the matron of the family, Mrs. Bennet, is quite interested when news of a wealthy man moving to Netherfield, a place in the near vicinity. Mrs. Bennet, in the best interest of her daughters, soon after begins urging her husband to meet with the newly arrived neighbor, a Mr. Bingley, but he is quite reluctant to do so. Soon after, Mr.Bennet surprises his daughters and his wife by announcing that he had visited Netherfield and found Bingley to be "quite agreeable." The interest of the Bennet daughters arises when they learn that certain members of the Bingley party will be in attendance at an upcoming ball in Meryton. At the ball, acquaintances between the families are made, and all find both Mr.Bingley and his cousin Fitzwilliam Darcy to be exceedingly handsome, however Darcy's pride is so irritating and repulsive, it makes his character almost totally disagreeable. It is at this ball, however, that the oldest Bennet daughter, Jane, becomes involved with Mr.Bennet; her younger sister Elizabeth, however, falls victim to Mr. Darcy's pride and is shunned by him during the entire ball. Beginning with this event, Elizabeth forms a prejudice towards Mr. Darcy that will prevent her future involvement with him. It is here then that the two main themes of he work, pride and prejudice, are first presented. Soon after the ball, it becomes obvious that Mr. Bingley's feelings towards Jane deepen, and Jane's feelings also appear when the family visits their neighbors the Lucases after the Meryton Ball. This, however, produces concern from both his older sister and Mr. Darcy, who dislike the behavior of her family and, being part of the upper class, are prevented by their pride from liking anyone of lower status. Mr. Darcy's attitude towards Elizabeth Bennet, however, soon begin to change, as he appreciates her subtle beauty. It is because of her prejudice against him, however, that Elizabeth does not recognize his affections; he begins to join her conversations, and even expresses to his cousins his feelings. Mr. Darcy's sister, however, seems to have feelings for him and criticizes her unrefined character, however, Mr. Darcy, for the first of several times, is unaffected. He, however, has already established his own prejudice against the Bennet family, which would later be shaken upon meeting the Gardiners, Elizabeth's aunt and uncle. Jane soon receives an invitation to Netherfield, however, to her disappointment, it is not from Mr. Bingley but his sister Caroline. Still, she is pleased to go, and her mother advises her to go on horseback, as in the event that it might rain, she would be obliged to stay. Mrs. Bennet's plan works, however Jane is caught in the rain and becomes ill. She writes to Elizabeth and the latter decides to walk to Netherfield to attend to her sister. Upon her arrival at Netherfield, Mr. Bingley's sisters remark on the wildness of her appearance, but Darcy is markedly impressed. After Jane's condition remains poor, Mrs. Bennet is called upon, but she sees her daughter's illness is not severe. Still, she remains there long enough so that Elizabeth, through a series of interactions with those living at Netherfield, convinces the sisters that she is unfit company, but attracts Mr. Darcy further. At Longbourn, Mr. Bennet receives a letter from a Mr. Collins who will supposedly be inheriting...
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