Jane Austen’s Pride and Prudence : Brief Comments

Jane Austen’s novels have rightly been called domestic novels. For one thing ‘She never go co out of the parlor’ and choose to work with two or three families in a comity village’ as her raw material. Thus in Pride and Prejudice she deals mainly with the domestic life and aspirations of the Bonnets, and to some extent with those of the leases. They are ordinary middleclass people with nothing extra-ordinary - exceptional about them. The novel satirized the attitudes of the rural middle and upper-middle classes. Austen centered her story on the Bennett daughters: Elizabeth, Jane, and Lydia. Elizabeth, a spirited girl, is “prejudiced” against the wealthy landowner Fitzwilliam Darcy, scorning his lofty attitudes and “pride.” In the first excerpt, Darcy calls on Elizabeth and her friend Charlotte in the mistaken belief that all the ladies of the house are in. In the second excerpt, Elizabeth, after accusing Darcy of ruining the engagement between her sister Jane and Jane’s fiancé, Bingley, receives a letter of explanation from Darcy. Elizabeth then recognizes the error in her judgment and also discovers some faults in her own nature. Thus the action moves around a common everyday level: Visit is exchanged, dinners are given and occasionally there is a ball. However, suck is the art of the novelist that even this homely stuff has been treated dramatically and made gripping in us interest. 

The central theme of Pride and Prejudices the husband hunting campaign of Mrs. Benet and Mrs. Lucas, the mother of marriageable daughters. The action centers round their efforts to secure suitable husbands for their daughters, and out of this simple theme the novelist weaves a drama of the highest order.

There arise stress and strains and conflicts   which give roe to pathos, to tragedy, and to comedy of the highest order. And within that drama involve Darcy-Elizabeth main plot, Jane-Bingley sub plot, Lydia-Wickham episode and Collins -charlotte’s episode. We find the clash of pride but in the course of the novel, the folly both of pride and prejudice has been exposed, and as a result shored off. 

  1. Comment on the title of the novel?
  2. What is the limitation of Jane Austen as a novelist?
  3. What kind of person is Mary Bennet, the middle daughter? What makes her unique in the family? Can she be considered a satirical character? Why or why not?
  4. What is Mr. Collins's main motive for getting married?
  5. When Charlotte accepts Mr. Collins's proposal, Elizabeth is shocked and angry. Why?
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