Study Guide

Pride and Prejudice

by Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice Essay - Critical Essays

Sample Essay Outlines

  • Topic #1

    Elizabeth’s character is influenced by her relationships with other characters in the novel. Write an essay to show how she changes either in a positive or negative manner due to another’s influence.

    Outline
    I. Thesis Statement: The role of Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice is developed through the negative and positive influences of Jane, Darcy, and Mrs. Gardiner.

    II. Influences of Jane
    A. Positive influences
    1. She can be trusted for her honesty
    2. She will share sisterly confidences
    3. She possesses a forgiving quality
    4. She evinces the goodness of leading a moral life
    B. Negative influences
    1. She never sees evil in others
    2. She keeps everything emotionally inside

    III. Influence of Darcy
    A. Positive influences
    1. He forces Elizabeth to analyze her feelings
    2. He makes Elizabeth grow in self-understanding
    3. He makes Elizabeth change her emotional state
    4. He shows Elizabeth how her own pride and prejudices
    can be overcome
    B. Negative influences
    1. He is quick to judge
    2. He often seems too proud and vain
    3. He is sometimes too reserved in speaking his mind

    IV. Influences of Mrs. Gardiner
    A. Positive influences
    1. She helps Elizabeth analyze her true feelings toward
    Darcy
    2. She provides an opportunity to put Elizabeth and
    Darcy together
    3. She shows by example how intelligence and rational
    thinking can work out problems
    B. Negative influences
    1. She is sometimes naive about the Bennet family’s lack of social class
    2. She is often too impressed by the upper class

    V. Conclusion: Jane, Darcy, and Mrs. Gardiner are three major characters who influence Elizabeth.

  • Topic #2

    Austen interjects comedy into many of the novel’s more serious moments. How do Mrs. Bennet, Mary, and Mr. Collins bring comic relief to some of the novels dramatic scenes?

    Outline
    I. Thesis Statement: The comic sides of Mary, Mrs. Bennet, and Collins enable Austen to lighten some of the more serious moments in the novel.

    II. Mary
    A. How is she portrayed?
    1. She speaks like a textbook
    2. She is always the sister who thinks too much
    3. Her comments have little to do with a given situation
    B. Instances of comic relief
    1. She has opinions about events that she knows...

(The entire section is 1143 words.)

Ed. Scott Locklear, Michael Foster