Pride and Prejudice is a world-known novel written by an English author Jane Austen in 1813. The story revolves around the importance of education, marriage, financial viability, and traditions in the United Kingdom during the Regency era. Humor is used as the primary artistic means of the narrative, which attracted many readers and ensured the popularity of the book. This essay contains the analysis of the novel, including the summary, description of the main characters and themes, personal opinion about the narrative, and conclusion that summarizes the main points of the essay.
The Summary of the Novel
The story begins with the conversation of two characters, Mr. Bennet and Mrs. Bennet, who are talking about the visit of a young bachelor, Mr. Bingley, to their neighborhood. The Bennet family has five daughters, and Mrs. Bennet thinks that they should be friends with Mr. Bingley as he can marry one of her girls. Therefore, since the time of Mr. Bingley’s arrival, spouses Bennet try to use the opportunities to communicate with him.
One day the Bennet family meets Mr. Bingley at the ball, where his friend, Mr. Darcy, accompanies him. Even though initially Mr. Darcy made a positive impression on people, soon everyone found him to be arrogant, because he did not want to dance with anyone except for Mr. Bingley’s sisters. Mr. Bingley advises Mr. Darcy to pay his attention to Elizabeth, one of the daughters of the Bennet, but he did not express any interest to her. Elizabeth witnessed this conversation and felt antipathy toward Mr. Darcy.
Soon, Mr. Bingley realized that he felt in love with the sister of Elizabeth, Jane, while Mr. Darcy started having feelings for Elizabeth. Elizabeth talks to her new friend, Mr. Wickham, who tells her the story about the immoral behavior of Mr. Darcy. This only supports Elizabeth’s negative opinion about Mr. Darcy as she is sure that he despises her. Mr. Darcy, in his turn, thinks that the Bennets are out of his social circle because they demonstrate bad manners. He encourages Mr. Bingley to return to London and give up the idea to marry Elizabeth’s sister Jane.
Later, Mr. Darcy proposes to Elizabeth, but she rejects him, saying that he is guilty of destroying the happiness of her sister. Months later, the younger sister of Elizabeth, Lydia, runs away with Mr. Wickham. Mr. Darcy, trying to save the Bennets from shame, forces Mr. Wickham to marry Lydia. Being thankful, Elizabeth realizes that she likes Mr. Darcy, and accepts his proposal when he asks her to marry him the second time. Thus, the story has a happy end, where the pride of Mr. Darcy and the prejudice of Ms. Bennet were overcome.
The Main Characters and Theme of the Novel
Jane Austin created personalities in a way that made them unforgettable for readers (Wilhelm 2014, 30). Elizabeth Bennet, the second eldest daughter of the Bennets, is one of the main protagonists of the story. She is young but intelligent and witty, well-educated and, in contrast to the other members of her family, has good manners. She is a strong woman with principles, who is not ready for a marriage on a financial basis, even though she understands that money is necessary for a respectable life (Awan and Ali Nasir 2018, 673). However, Elizabeth tends to have a prejudiced opinion about people even if she does not know them well. Unfortunately, it does not allow her to be objective in evaluating people’s actions.
Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy is the second protagonist of the story. He is a tall, rich, and handsome man who is twenty -eight years old. At first sight, it seems that he does not have any drawbacks, but his pride spoils people’s impression of him. At the ball, where he meets Elizabeth first time, he proves his arrogance, saying that he does not see any beautiful women dance with. In his conversation with Mr. Bingley, he says: “Your sisters are engaged, and there is not another woman in the room whom it would not be a punishment to me to stand up with” (Austen 2017, 11). Thus, the prejudice of Elizabeth and pride of Mr. Darcy became a stumbling point for their relationships. Eventually, they could overcome these negative traits that ensured the happy end of the story.
Even though the personages of Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy create the most exciting line of the story, the other characters contribute to the humorous narrative. Thus, Mrs. Bennet is shown as a woman whose primary goal of life is to marry her daughters to wealthy men, even if it happens against their will. She says: “If I can but see one of my daughters happily settled at Netherfield, and all the others equally well-married, I shall have nothing to wish for” (Austen 2017, 9). Also, sometimes, she can behave in an indelicate way that creates comic situations and makes her eldest daughters Elizabeth and Jane blush.
Another personage that is worth to pay attention to is the youngest daughter of Bennet, Lydia. She is shown as a silly little girl who tends to do foolish actions without taking responsibility for that. Even though the Bennets cannot serve as the best example of a well-mannered family of the Regency era, these characters help the author to use humor as the primary artistic means of the narrative.
The main idea of the novel conveyed by the author is the importance of being unbiased and modest. Also, Jane Austen unfolds the concepts of marriage, true love, and the role of fortune in people’s lives (Wan 2019, 349). It does not matter how many years have passed since the first publication of the novel because these ideas remain significant for people, even nowadays, in the modern world.
The novel Pride and Prejudice can be recommended to read for both youth and adults because it raises topical questions for people of all generations. It narrates love, morals, family relationships, and the social status of people. Moreover, it is especially interesting to read nowadays, because it tells the story about traditions, entertainments, and way of life of people who lived two hundred years ago.
Therefore, the novel can serve as an excellent educational tool that not only entertains readers but also provides historical information. In my point of view, the author skillfully shows the influence of the social environment on people’s personalities in her novel. The story teaches readers to always stay true to themselves. For instance, even though society encourages women to marry wealthy men, the character of Elizabeth shows that one can still act in accordance with his or her opinion.
Jane Austen created a romantic story that became popular because of the author’s sense of humor and skillful way of storytelling. She created strong, ambitious, intelligent, and independent characters that attracted readers around the world and made the story unforgettable. Moreover, the narrative contains a lot of historical information that shows people’s life in England in the 19th century. Therefore, it is highly recommended for reading to everyone who wants to have a good time and receive some historical knowledge about the society of Great Britain in an entertaining way.
Austen, Jane. 2017. Pride and Prejudiced. Seattle: Amazon Classics.
Awan, Abdul, and Ambreen Ali Nasir. 2018. “Matrimonial Issues and Marxist Approach in Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.” Global Journal of Management, Social Sciences and Humanities 673 (4): 651-676.
Wan, Yongkun. 2019. “Study on Jane Austin’s Original Views toward Marriage in Pride and Prejudice.” Paper presented at the 9th International Conference on Education and Social Science, Yunnan Province, China, Francis Academic Press, 349-351.
Wilhelm, Julia. 2014. The Austen Formula: Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Century. Hamburg: Anchor Academic Publishing.