Pride and Prejudice
Uploaded by bigpoppapump4l on May 15, 2001
Overcoming Pride and Prejudice through Maturity and Self- Understanding
Jane Austen, born in Steventon, England, in 1775, began to write the original manuscript of Pride and Prejudice, entitled First Impressions, which was completed by 1797, but was rejected for publication. The work was rewritten around 1812 and published in 1813 as Pride and Prejudice. During Austen’s career, Romanticism reached its zenith of acceptance and influence, while Pride and Prejudice displays little evidence on the Romantic movement, it also reveals no awareness of the international upheavals and consequent turmoil in England that took place during Austen’s lifetime. The society of Jane Austen’s era is a stratified one, in which class divisions are rooted in family connections and wealth. Austen is often critical of the assumptions and prejudices of upper- class England and her novels distinguish between internal merit and rank or possessions. The central concern of this “comedy of manners” is Mrs. Bennet's dogged efforts to find suitable husbands for her daughters. The amiable Jane and the gentle Bingley are almost drawn to each other. In contrast, the arrogant, insolent, conceited Mr. Darcy and the spontaneous, high- spirited, vivacious Elizabeth have several encounters of a battle of wits throughout the novel. Austen studies social relationships in the limited society of a country neighborhood and investigates them in detail with an often ironic and humorous eye. The significance of the title helps determine the actions of the two main characters and thereby the course of the plot. “Pride” is an unrealistic exaggeration of one’s importance. Prejudice prevents people from judging others according to their real merits. Both pride and prejudice are moral distortions and prevent the individual from seeing things as they really are. Marked by an elegant structure, and sharp satire, Pride and Prejudice encompasses the primary theme that maturity is achieved through the loss of illusion, particularly pertaining to the relationships between the witty yet prejudiced Elizabeth Bennet and the cultured yet prideful Fitzwilliam Darcy.
Throughout the novel, Austen satirizes the manners of all classes, exposing people who have excessive pride as rude and often foolish, regardless of wealth or station. While the terms of pride and prejudice pertain particularly to Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth, there are other characters as well that portray these traits as well. Austen uses Mr. Collins as an extreme example of how excessive pride can affect one’s manner. In Mr. Collin’s case, he prides himself...