In Pride and Prejudice, how have the actions of the people around Elizabeth led to her sense of dissatisfaction?

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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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From the beginning of the novella Pride and Prejudice Elizabeth comes across as a very strong young woman, and as an independent thinker. However, her first real experience with people, other than her immediate circle, happens when her family becomes acquainted with the Bingley party. 

Therefore, we witness how Elizabeth is actually discovering for the first time the harsh realities of hypocrisy, class separation, and snobbery.

She discovers hypocrisy through Wickham; a man whom she first admires as a result of the lies he said about his upbringing, and then fights to defend. The result was only to find out he is neither an honorable nor dignified man. This shows that Elizabeth had never before experienced such a blow to her good intentions.

Elizabeth is exposed to class separation and snobbery through the actions of Lady Catherine and Ms. Bingley. Both women show Elizabeth the extent to which any connection to the Bennets would be a socially detrimental move to them, as upper class people. Perhaps Elizabeth never thought before that she (or her family) would be such a social burden to anybody, but she definitely knows now.

Conclusively, Elizabeth is consistently bombarded with new events and experiences that allow her to see society for what it really is: A charade of masks in which people hide behind good manners, and family names, only to engage in their consistently condescending treatment of others that they consider to be "below" their level.  

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