From the day it found its place in print till now, it has been a more appealing novel to teenagers and to all the lovers of literature who loves romance. Pride and Prejudice is a character-driven narrative focuses on Elizabeth Bennet, the protagonist of the novel.
The novel is set in the late 18th century, thus, one could see a lot of possibilities and consideration of marriage. Despite, love and marriage being the prominent themes in the novel, there is no violence or physical attraction in the story at all. Even during Lydia’s elopement, the readers were left to infer their attachment or living as husband and wife, with no hint to their attraction or attachments. Also, Lydia’s marriage with Wickham despite the family knowing his true nature is another constraint of the time Austen lived.
On the whole, the story focuses on romance, misconceptions, family relationships, and the problem with first impressions and gossip. This classically written romantic novel is see-through to the upper-class Victorian life.
Gender Roles and Marriage
Pride and Prejudice, in general, is Austen’s critical view on society and traditional stereotypical gender roles that portrayed women as objects of beauty with no rights. When men had financial independence, women had to depend on their male companions. In fact, middle- and upper-class women had few avenues open to them for a secure future.
If unmarried, they would remain dependent upon their relatives, living with or receiving a small income from their fathers, brothers, or other relations who could afford to support them. That is the reason we see why Mrs. Bennet insists on Elizabeth getting married to Mr. Collins, and getting her daughter well married for the better future of her daughters.
The marriage between Mr. Collins and Charlotte, Lydia and Wickham, portrays negative models of marriage. These marriages happen solely on the basis of a long-established understanding of gender roles and the desire to meet pragmatic social needs. When Lydia runs away it is made clear that only marriage can save her reputation and her family. Evidently, these marriages fall short of an ideal marriage. On the contrary, the marriage between Elizabeth and Darcy depicts independence, understanding, equality, and respect, suggesting a model for an ideal marriage.
In early nineteenth-century Britain, women did not have the privilege of higher education but they were educated through private tutors, governesses, and private schools. In addition, a young woman like Elizabeth Bennet had independence further her education through reading. As Elizabeth indicates to Lady Catherine, “such of us as wished to learn, never wanted the means. We were always encouraged to read and had all the masters that were necessary. Those who chose to be idle certainly might.” Also while talking about women of accomplishment Darcy comments that a really commendable woman will improve “her mind by extensive reading.”
A Realistic Novel
Pride and Prejudice is a realistic novel on many levels. Jane Austen fills her novels with ordinary people, places, and events. By contrast, and from the beginning, her readers saw that Jane Austen was doing something new with the novel, that she was using it to describe probable reality and the kinds of people one felt one already knew.
The novel has several references to financial advantages through marriage, a common aspect of 18th century domestic lifestyle. Money seems to be the prime object in the game of marriage. For example, Charlotte Lucas views marriage pragmatically and is quite willing to marry a fool, Mr. Collins, for the financial security and status he offers. Mrs. Bennet, though a rapturous woman in the novel, is practical and panicked over the reality of her daughter’s future, for they have no dowries or inheritances to count on. Lydia makes a fool of herself by running away with a man without money and spoils her reputation.
Wickham too is unwilling to marry her because she has no possibility of bringing financial advantages to his life through marriage. Fortunately, Darcy works out a plan and makes it financially advantageous for Wickham.
All’s well that Ends well
Pride and Prejudice ends with the happy union of Darcy and Elizabeth, Jane and Bingley, as it is expected at the very beginning of the novel. Elizabeth and Darcy go to live at Pemberley, while Jane and Bingley move to an estate nearby.
The final chapter of the novel focuses more on the impact of their marriage than their personal emotions. It also specifies how marriage impacts Kitty and Georgiana by giving them, positive role models. Also, Miss Bingley and Lady de Burgh gradually come to accept the marriage, compared to their initial despise over the possible union.
Evidently, the novel enlightens the readers on how marriage affects not just the individual partners, but the assorted family and society around them. On contrary to the concept of marriage during Austen’s time, the novel ends with the note that a good marriage is where both partners love and respect each other. Positively, it can have positive ripple effects on many people around them.
Pride and Prejudice Book Review: Jane Austen’s Classical Romance
Last Impact on the Reader
Pride and Prejudice Book Review
Pride and Prejudice is a novel of all the time. It has captivated the hearts of readers across ages. The interesting plot captures the reader’s attention from the very first line. As it is narrated through the perspective of Elizabeth Bennet, the readers will get the feel of living alongside the Bennet family. As Elizabeth undergoes a change in perspective and character, readers get a picture of the other characters present in the novel and the time of the novel.
One could understand the novel well in the very first reading. Though young readers of the present may find it difficult to understand the plot in a certain part, yet, close reading and a background knowledge of Austen’s time will help one understand the novel better and enjoy.
- Incredibly simple plot
- Realistic and relatable characters
- Actual projection of 18th-century upper-class life
- Unique writing style
- Elaborately described passages
- Free use of indirect speeches
- Plain, monotonous language