PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
The pivotal theme is that marriage is important to individuals and society. Throughout the novel, the author describes the various types of marriages and reasons behind them. Marriage out of economic compulsions can be seen in Charlotte’s marriage to Collins. Marriage due to sensual pleasure can be seen in Lydia’s marriage. The marriage of Jane and Elizabeth are the outcome of true love between well-matched persons. Another major theme is that pride and prejudice both stand in the way of relationships, as embodied in the persons of Darcy and Elizabeth respectively. Pride narrows the vision of a person and causes one to underestimate other mortals. Prejudice blinds the vision and leads to false perceptions about others. Darcy’s pride and Elizabeth’s prejudice come in the way of understanding each other and keep them apart. Only when Darcy becomes more humble and Elizabeth becomes more accepting can they relate to one another and find happiness together. About the author
Jane Austen was born in 1775 at Steventon, Hampshire in southern England, where her father was a minister. She was the sixth child in a family of seven children Jane began to write at a young age. Pride and Prejudice, her most popular novel, was the first to be written, although not the first published. She wrote on it for several years and finally completed it as First Impressions in 1797. It, however, was not accepted for publication until 1813, when it appeared with its current version with its new title
Social and cultural background
Pride and Prejudice is, set among the rural middle and upper classes who are landowners. None of the major characters works, for these moneyed classes live entirely on their income from rents and inheritances. There are, however, petty distinctions among the landed classes, determined by the amount of wealth possessed by the members. For instance, Miss Bingley and her sister look down on the Bennets because they are not as wealthy. Class distinctions in Jane Austen’s time were in fact very rigid.
aristocracy belonged to the highest rung of the social ladder, and all power was in their hands. Next in rank came the gentry. The new, prosperous industrialists and traders (like Mr. Gardiner) were gradually rising as a class, but had still not won the right to vote. The lowest in English society were the workers and laborers For the women of the time, life was largely restricted to the home and the family. For the poor and the lower-class women, there was ample work in the home and in the fields to keep them busy. But for the ladies of the landed upper-classes, life was one big round of dances, dinners, cards, and visits to friends and relatives. They were not required to do any household work. “Ladies,” thus, lived a life of ease and leisure, mainly concerned with society, children, and marriage THE LITERARY
Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice appeared on the English literary scene in 1813. The author had worked on its realistic style and content for more than fifteen years, for she was a perfectionist in her approach to writing. Her first novel was unlike any of the hundreds of others written at the time, which were mainly Romantic (filled with emotion and passionate) or Gothic (filled with horror). Austen was the first novelist to portray realistic characters by using the direct method of telling a story in which dialogue and comment take an important place. She used the method to dissect the hypocrisy of individuals and the society in which they played their games of love and courtship. From the beginning, Austen’s literature centered on character studies, where a person’s common sense (or lack of it) was developed in detail. The chosen setting was always limited to a small social group of the upper classes and composed of a few families. Family life was always central to her works. Her novels also portrayed traditional values and a belief in rationality, responsibility, and restraint. But she often viewed the human condition, with its many weaknesses, through humor, irony, and sarcasm, with her undesirable characters portrayed as ignorant, proud, or silly human beings, not evil villains