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Despite Elizabeth's obvious coldness toward him, Darcy finds himself increasingly attracted to her, particularly her beautiful dark eyes. The darkness of her eyes also represents Elizabeth's main weakness: the pride and prejudice that cloud her perception. Elizabeth prides herself on her ability to judge others and uncover their motives. However, her prejudgment of Darcy makes her blind to his admiration. In the conversation about Darcy at Netherfield, Elizabeth offers that Darcy's defect is "a propensity to hate everybody," while Darcy perceptively replies that hers is "willfully to misunderstand them." Indeed, while Elizabeth judges Darcy for over-valuing his first impression of her, she exhibits the exact same shortcoming. Ultimately, the darkness of her eyes reflects the complexity of Elizabeth's prejudice, but that complexity is very much what draws Darcy towards her in the first place.
Though Pride and Prejudice is largely a story about individuality, Austen portrays the family unit as primarily responsible for the intellectual and moral education of children. Mr. and Mrs. Bennet's failure to provide a proper education for their daughters leads to Lydia's utter foolishness. Elizabeth and Jane manage to develop virtue and discernment in spite of their parents' negligence, though it is notable that they have other role models like the Gardiners. Darcy shares both his father's aristocratic nature and the man's tendency towards generosity, while Lady Catherine's daughter is too frightened to speak. This attitude extends to the larger community, as well. Lydia's time in Meryton and Brighton bring out her worst impulses. Similarly, the community around Pemberley respects Darcy's generosity and follows his lead in being kind and trustworthy.
First Impressions describes the main romantic conflict - will Elizabeth and Darcy end up together despite their first impressions of one another? However, Pride and Prejudice suggests a much deeper psychological struggle, more fitting to the complexity of Austen's novel. Whereas First Impressions only implies a story of corrected perceptions, Pride and Prejudice describes a story where the characters must investigate themselves, addressing the unconscious impulses that work to prohibit self-awareness. Finally, the final title is all-encompassing, reaching beyond just Elizabeth and Darcy. It offers a comment on the novel's larger themes like class and the role of women.
Explain why Austen ends her novel with a line about the Gardiners, even though they are minor characters in Pride and Prejudice.
Austen's original draft of this novel was titled First Impressions. Explain why this title makes sense, as explore the reasons why Pride and Prejudice is more apt.
The Gardiners are important because they are a middle-class couple that behaves reasonably and virtuously. Mrs. Gardiner is a great role model for Elizabeth, though she reveals little unique personality of her own. Mr. Gardiner proves to be instrumental in saving Lydia from her scandalous elopement. They both acknowledge the importance of class and education, but place a greater emphasis on personal conduct. The Gardiners also externalize Darcy's inner struggle. When Darcy treats the Gardiners well at Pemberley and then later works with Mr. Gardiner to rescue Lydia, it indicates that he has internalized Elizabeth's view of personality and class. The novel thus ends on the Gardiners because is offers a final illustration that Elizabeth and Darcy have reached a happy medium between class and behavior beyond the barriers of pride and prejudice.
Charlotte and Mrs. Bennet both believe that marriage is a business transaction in which a woman must be the active party in securing a good match for herself. This pragmatic assessment stands in stark contrast to Elizabeth's more romantic worldview. However, at this period in history, at least in certain higher classes, if a man chose not to marry, he only risked loneliness and regret. Meanwhile, a woman in the same situation could lose her financial security. Therefore, it is understandable why Charlotte and Mrs. Bennet believe that a woman must consider employing manipulation for the sake of her future. Charlotte deliberately draws Mr. Collins's attention in order to secure a proposal. However, Jane does not follow Charlotte's advice and nearly loses Bingley's love in the process. Lydia takes a drastic action that forces her marriage to occur. It is only Elizabeth who operates entirely outside the societal norm, but Austen makes it clear that her situation is quite unique.
Pride and Prejudice study guide contains a biography of Jane Austen, literature essays, a complete e-text, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.
Ultimately, Pride and Prejudice takes a moderate stance on class differences. Austen never posits an egalitarian ideology. However, she does criticize the society's over-emphasis on class instead of individual moral character. Darcy's journey from extreme class-consciousness to prioritizing manners over money is the best example of Austen's criticism. Meanwhile, Elizabeth is affected upon visiting Pemberley. The grand estate does have an impact on her already changing feelings towards Darcy, which is one example of Austen justifying the appeal of the upper class. Overall, Austen accepts (and even appreciates) the existence of class hierarchy, but also offers a warning about how class-based prejudice can poison society.
Pride and Prejudice essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.