Pride and Prejudice book review

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen, provoked much in my mind and for those that have read the book, here is some of my insight...

Submitted: September 15, 2010

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Submitted: September 15, 2010

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Set in the frivolous complexity of 19th century England, Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice is essentially the story of class-consciousness. Those influenced by it wish for marriage, while those that rebel against it, dream of love.

Elizabeth Bennett, the main character in the story, brings intelligence, wit and questions. She contributes to conversations with interesting points, often tongue-tying her opponents. Jane is the opposite of Liz, but trusts her the most. The younger sisters are busy and merry, adding pace to the story. Mr and Mrs Bennett contrast each other, him with sarcastic indifference and her with foolishness and poor judgment. Mr Darcy oozes pride and is a symbol of this, but also of prejudice. Elizabeth is prejudiced against his pride.

Pemberley is one of the few symbols in the story. I think that the story focuses more on the themes than the symbols, thus making the themes more prominent. The geographic symbol of the homestead represents the man that owns it and his wealth. The bridge to Pemerley represents the gap in the context of class between Mr Darcy and Elizabeth. The latter being a symbol of wittier women of the era who rebelled against gender discrimination.


The classic romantic comedy is introduced by the famous quote: "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of good fortune, must be in want of a wife." This theme is carried throughout the entire book as Elizabeth Bennett refuses to marry for financial purposes and only for true love. Elizabeth is looked down upon for such a refusal as the story criticizes gender injustices. Due to class-consciousness, wealth comes before love.

In Chapter 5, Mary Bennett confirms the theme of pride: "...human nature is particularly prone to [pride]..." She also very wisely states: "A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us."
Indirectly, she also verifies the theme of prejudice, because judgments are based on vanity, not reason, which leads to prejudice. These ar the barriers of Elizabeth and Mr Darcy's love, because Elizabeth prides herself on her perceptions, when she actually lacks perception in her judgment of Mr Darcy. Class-consciousness shapes the characters of Mr Darcy and Elizabeth, however, one cannot equate Mr Darcy with pride or Elizabeth with prejudice. Mr Darcy's pride of place is based on social prejudice, while Elizabeth's original prejudice against him is embedded in pride in her own quick perceptions.

Class-consciousness is the subject of satire in the novel. The story is critical of society's ability to judge properly with some of the upper-class characters that prove the vanity that class-consciousness can bring. Through the Darcy-Elizabeth relationship, Pride and Prejudice shows how the power of love and happiness can overcome class boundaries and prejudice.


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