How does Jane Austen use contrast between Elizabeth and Jane Bennett?

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lsumner | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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Jane Austen contrasts the characters of Elizabeth and Jane Bennett. While Jane is sweet and trusting of men, Elizabeth is quick to point out the weaknesses of others. Truly, Elizabeth is quick to judge. She does not trust Darcy. On the other hand, Jane sees the best in people. She is nonjudgemental. She is deeply caring about individuals. She is one who easily overlooks one's faults.

On the contrary, Elizabeth is nontrusting of others. She is quick to make judgements. She worries that her sister Jane will get hurt by her trusting nature. No doubt, Elizabeth is her own person who refuses to accept others uncritically:

Unlike her older sister Jane, [Elizabeth] resists accepting all people uncritically. She is quick to recognize most people's principal characteristics—for instance, she recognizes the stupidities of many members of her family and quickly characterizes Lady Catherine de Bourgh as a control addict and her sister's suitor Charles Bingley as a simple and good-hearted young man.

Truly, Elizabeth is a keen observer of people. She thinks she has everyone figured out. Due to her pride, Darcy is the last man on earth with whom she could be. Cleary, Elizabeth is prideful and prejudiced. She refuses to accept the fact that Darcy could be worthy of her love.

Jane is adorable in her sweet, trusting nature. Jane is content in pleasing others. Even Jane's father assesses her as too willing to please others:

Her father considers her too willing to please and believes that she lacks the character to deal with life's difficulties. He tells Jane, "You are . . . so complying, that nothing will ever be resolved on; so easy, that every servant will cheat you; and so generous, that you will always exceed your income."

Both sisters are lovable in their own unique ways. Eventually, each sister finds the happiness in which both are so deserving.


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