Pride and Prejudice Still Relevant for Modern Society

Categories: Jane Austen

Jane Austen, a young woman living amid 19th century gender roles and society’s own prejudices against women, crafted a novel that would leave a lasting impact on literature forever. One of her most famous works, Pride and Prejudice, would be a work that undoubtedly brought upon criticism, as it challenged ideals of the 1800's that used to be without question; such as social mobility, marriage, and domestication of women.

Pride and Prejudice was written in the midst of a time known as “The Age of Criticism,” according to Yale English Professor, Priscilla Gliman, writes in her journal, “Disarming Reproof” Pride and Prejudice and the Power of Criticism.

This pivotal point in literary history began one year before Pride and Prejudice was published. However, despite the pressure of your work being disapproved or rejected, Austen demonstrated little, if any, concern for the potential criticism she may have received. For example, she didn’t use conventional devices for defending her work as many other writers had, such as introductions, footnotes, etc.

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Her confidence in her own work and the importance of the messages she conveyed within her literary masterpieces proved to be more important that societal dismay, even though Austen published her novels anonymously. Pride and Prejudice, for example, was labeled as “by the author of Sense and Sensibility.” Female novelists and literary creators of the time were still often considered to be lewd, indiscreet, and uncommon, much alluded to female pioneers such as Aphra Behn who broke cultural barriers as one of the first English women to earn her living from writing.

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During this period in Austen’s career, women were expected to be vulnerable to male critics from such a male dominated field. Thus why many women didn’t partake in literature of their own works. All the same, Pride and Prejudice was a novel about the critic versus the criticizer and defended itself from criticism via Jane Austen's carefully articulated use of satire and the appearance of comedy. The novel itself deals with the very issues women of Jane Austen’s time dealt with on a day to day basis, and deserved a call to action. Among the Notes in Pride and Prejudice, Vivien Jones writes, “The culture in which Austen’s heroines make their choices is one of social aspiration and consumerism, and in which social aspiration and consumerism are themselves live moral and political issues--particularly for women,” which Austen undoubtedly recognized a need to write about such issues pressing her and her world.

Because of such strong themes and ideas that continue to carry through today’s day and age, Pride and Prejudice continues to prevail through various adaptations in a plethora of media based platforms.

Although Pride and Prejudice is easily known for the constant appearance of love, it hits on deeper topics such as inequality, standing up for yourself, and not conforming to the social normalities. The book shows how being unique should be the norm and not having to worry about being just like everyone that surrounds you. When a reader opens the book and starts realizing how Mrs. Bennet is treating her daughters, red flags appear While reading the book, the audience has to keep in mind that this book takes place in a different era where women were not superior to men. Granted today we aren't completely treated equally but we do have more equality and opportunities than the time period the book takes place in. These days we don't see parents marrying their daughters off to men just so they can still have the estate in the family or receive inheritance which played along with the topic Branko Milanovic in “What Pride and Prejudice Can Teach Us About Inequality ”. That's what mainly shocks the reader. What kind of parent doesn't put into consideration who their daughters love and who they dont want to spend the rest of their lives with. This as well plays a part in why this book is still read by many. Jane Austen was able to express how different our society is now.

Pride and prejudice is by far known as a classic by many. It not only was able to express the ideas of social status but was able to bring attention to the different roles each gender plays or played in this time period. Pride and Prejudice is able to express the true emotions that go through one's mind when they are in love and weak because of that. Jane Austen's work really shows the reader how different time is now and shows how the society as a whole has improved. Austen was able to let the reader relate to the characters. Elizabeth is the strongest character because she was able to express her true feelings and emotions through her by using third person narration throughout the novel.

Her writings have been popular for generations because her works are easy enough for a younger audience to understand but good enough for the older audience to agree and understand as well. It’s a piece that speaks to any reader. Because her work is so popular and easily understood many have taken it into their own hands to create adaptations. There are many spin offs for Pride and Prejudice which is making it still relevant because it's a story that changes with time hinted on by Hannah Kingsley in her article “What Makes Jane Austen Relevant to Modern Society?”. For example movies based on Pride and Prejudice are changing to make newer versions that can connect to the interests of the younger audience.

Based on the time period known as “The Age of Criticism” as stated above the book becoming well known really changed the way women were seen. Normally female writers changed their names to something more masculine so people would read their work. With her work becoming a hit this really gave women a new expectation by some. This gave women more opportunities to be seen as equal. Because of her being a female writer she is able to show how she believes women should be seen in society or how they should go with their guts and be themselves.

Pride and Prejudice is one of the first and greatest feminist books. It influenced so many different types of arts and especially music. The book talks about so many great ideals and helped women realize what they should live life like and how to be unique. The book also opened up so many different girls' eyes and allowed them to not change for someone, but rather make that person fall in love with the person that they want to be. Love was a huge part of the book along with the idea that you should only marry to be happy and not feel forced to be in a marriage just because of status or money. These ideals have been kept through all this time and have influenced lots of music.

One great example of some of the same ideas of Pride and Prejudice is the song called “Enchanted” by Taylor Swift. In this song she talks about how she was enchanted by the charm of a man that she had just met and she couldn’t help but stare and change how she looked and acted. This song is a perfect example of how Jane and Mr. Bingley met and the attitude towards one another. It also shows how so many girls change themselves to try to impress the handsome rich man who gets all the attention from all of the girls. In fact lots of Taylor Swift's music seem to be influenced by Pride and Prejudice and they have lots of ties and some of the same messages. In fact some fans even suggest that the songs are only slightly about her previous relationships and mostly about the book. I find this a little bit of a stretch however many of the songs do have several similar messages. The song “State of Grace '' really represents the surprising love of Elizabeth and Darcy. The song talks about how different her life is since they met and how she never knew that she would fall in love. This is a perfect representation of how Elizabeth when she found out the truth about Darcy she fell in love and eventually got married which changed her life for the good.

The book was so influential that there is now even a musical version and it has gotten lots of good feedback and is overall a great success. The movie also had a great musical soundtrack. Most of the music from the movie is composed by Jean-Yves Thibaudet and Dario Marianelli. The music has won several different awards including an Oscar nomination. Most of the music is just piano, however it speaks perfectly to the time period and sets the perfect tone for the scenes. The music is well known and is a perfect representation of the music that would have been listened to and made during the time period when every rich person owned a grand piano. Jane Austen was also a great piano player, and used to play her piano every single day. So the music in the movie is something that she would have played and listened to.

Many artists are somewhat influenced by the messages from Pride and Prejudice. Some of the most influential artists include Taylor Swift and Beyonce. Beyonce’s songs always talk about girl power and how you are good enough for yourself and that's all you need. She also talks about how you shouldn’t change for a man and you should love yourself for you. Her song “Dont Hurt Yourself” shows the message of when Darcy proposed to and lied to Elizabeth perfectly.

“When you hurt me, you hurt yourself

Don't hurt yourself

When you diss me, you diss yourself

Don't hurt yourself

When you hurt me, you hurt yourself

Don't hurt yourself, don't hurt yourself

When you love me, you love yourself”

These lyrics are a perfect representation of when Darcy lied to and proposed to Elizabeth. That when he hurt Elizabeth's family and lied to her, he really hurt himself and wasn’t able to marry the person he truly loved and rather made the whole situation a mess. It also shows how he changed because of Elizabeth and how when he loved her, he started to love himself more.

Pride and Prejudice was a great book, and has influenced several different songs and artists even if they are slight hints to the book or just have the same ideas. The book was one of the biggest kickstarters for feminism and therefore is responsible for many of the creations in today's society. (END BEN)

Pride and Prejudice shares the heart wrenching love stories between many different characters. The idea of a “true love” is seen between Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. The ups and downs of their relationship show principles that are still valid today. Their love story tugs at the reader's heart strings, showing that true love is meaningful, but challenges may arise as life goes on. As the story progresses, Austen presents lessons that can assist anyone in finding this idea of “true love.”

First impressions can be greatly misleading. This is seen in the novel as Darcy and Elizabeth meet for the first time. Elizabeth is at a dance when she hears Darcy tell his friend that he wouldn’t ask her to dance because “she isn’t pretty enough.” Elizabeth is left with those words floating around in her head, and concludes that he is an arrogant man and wants nothing to do with him. In the end, Elizabeth realizes that Darcy can be trusted and only did what he did to protect Elizabeth and her family. One of the lessons Austen teaches readers is that first impressions often do not have a meaningful root. Austen shows us that we need to get to know one another to see what they are truly like, then form an opinion. People typically don’t make the greatest predictions of compatibility without taking time to get to know each other.

The marriage of Elizabeth and Darcy is a rollercoaster ride of emotion and reason. They both recognize that their relationship reflects an important part of true love: passion that is governed by values. A relationship that includes virtue in its foundations, allows one to fully love. Elizabeth’s integrity is such that she doesn’t hesitate to reject Darcy’s first marriage proposal, even though the match would be advantageous for her and her family. Elizabeth disagrees with his behavior and could never see herself and Mr. Darcy having a future together. She isn’t intimidated by Darcy’s wealth and high social status and even tells the man what she thinks of him. When she finally accepts to be with him, it’s because she knows in her whole being that she loves him, with all his pros and cons. Everyone comes with flaws and Elizabeth slowly learns to fall in love with Darcy’s. That my friends, is Austen’s idea of true love.

Elizabeth and Darcy have clear ideas about what they want, but they still have to work through a painful process of maturing. They need to admit their faults and look into each other's perspectives before they can completely love each other. Elizabeth and Darcy are both brave enough to admit they’re wrong and can evaluate their past behavior. For example, after reading Darcy’s letter, Elizabeth realizes she had misjudged him. She faces the unpleasant truth about herself, and decides to change. Although the novel ends with them united, we know that marriage won’t free them from challenges in the future. Their strong minds and energetic personalities make us think that there will be many interesting situations ahead, including moments of difficulty. As a couple, they can help eachother grow by admitting the worst in themselves in order to change for the better.

Austen uses many tools to help build one cohesive idea of how true love may appear. These tools consist of first impressions, growing to mutually respect one another, and reasoning. Two of her main characters exhibit these ideals to help form the “perfect” couple. Though the road to becoming man and wife was difficult, with perseverance and maturation the two love birds came together.


Updated: Dec 12, 2023
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Pride and Prejudice Still Relevant for Modern Society. (2021, Apr 13). Retrieved from

Pride and Prejudice Still Relevant for Modern Society essay
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