Essay about Pride and Prejudice

Submitted By renees81
Words: 2111
Pages: 9

Author Jane Austen was born in Georgian era England during which society viewed a famous woman as someone who has lost femininity, leading Austen to publish anonymously. A realist, Austen shows in her novel a society where social mobility is almost nonexistent and the expression of one’s class is widespread. Considered by some to be a conservative author, Austen often writes about her main character fighting against societal restrictions. Austen was born to a clergyman and represents the Church of England with a great sense of morality derived from her religion. Austen often uses her religion to juxtapose the Puritan society of her era. Gender also plays a large role in her writing; men are portrayed as those who are in the military, church but attain wealth through their own work. Women are shown to only become wealthy through marriage. Austen’s extensive portrayal of the middle and upper class alienates the lower class, as they are only mentioned as servants that are content with their lives. Austen must have done community service, as her father was a member of the clergy, therefore experiencing the hardships of the poor. Nonetheless, Austen shows an absence of appreciation for the poor and their contributions to society. Austen’s work was favorably criticized by contemporaries, even having her works compared to those of William Shakespeare and Homer. 19th century critics viewed the works of Dickens and Eliot more favorably because Austen’s novels did not adhere to Romantic or Victorian experiences that were widespread and adored during that era. However, Austen’s novels were bought by many, although not bestsellers. Modern critics have simply adored Pride and Prejudice, creating a plethora of artistic renditions to the classic tale it has become. Pride and Prejudice has become one of the “must reads before you die” (Wikipedia).


Pride and Prejudice revolves around the five daughters of the middle class Bennet family, whose goal is to find a suitable partner, and their potential suitors. The novel mainly tells of Elizabeth and Jane’s (the two eldest daughters) paths to holy matrimony. A wealthy young man rents a house in Netherfield (where the Bennets live), causing a stir among the family. The young man, Bingley, is accompanied by his two sisters, one married and the other single, and his friend Darcy. Bingley and Jane have mutual interest in each other after attending a dance together. Darcy, on the other hand, is conscious of the Bennets’ social standing and refuses to dance with Elizabeth; however, Darcy finds himself more and more attracted to Elizabeth as time passes. Bingley’s younger sister also shows snobbish characteristics when Elizabeth arrives at Bingley’s house with a dress that was covered with mud due to Elizabeth’s urgent need to tend to Jane, who has fallen ill during her travel to Bingley’s house. Mr. Collins, a young and arrogant clergyman, visits the Bennets and declares his case to inherit Mr. Bennet’s property; after proposing but turned down by Elizabeth, Collins takes his leave. Militia officers are also stationed near the Bennets and have captured the attention of the Bennet girls. Wickham, a handsome member of the militia, informs Elizabeth of the treachery of Darcy, leading Elizabeth to have even harsher feelings towards Darcy. After the Bingleys and Darcy return to London, Elizabeth’s best friend Charlotte becomes engaged to Collins; explaining that she needs the marriage to live a decent life, Charlotte chooses lifestyle over love and accepts Collins’ proposal. Darcy meets Elizabeth again when she visits Charlotte and he is staying at his aunt Catherine’s house. Darcy suddenly proposes one day but is rejected by Elizabeth, who blames Jane and Bingley’s failed relationship and Wickham’s loss on Darcy. Darcy later writes a letter, explaining that he believed Jane and Bingley’s relationship as a “summer romance” and that Wickham lied about Darcy because Wickham tried to run away with