Pride and Prejudice
When a novel focuses on the day-to-day life of a family with five young unmarried daughters, the subject is certain to be romance. PRIDE AND PREJUDICE’S depiction of Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Kitty, and Lydia Bennet is something richer, though. As its title hints, the novel is a shrewd and subtle psychological study. Pride and prejudice are the double defects shared by the heroine and hero, spirited Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy, a rich, aristocratic young man she meets when his friend Bingley rents the estate next to the Bennets’.
In the course of the story, Darcy becomes more flexible in his social views and learns to recognize excellence (notably Elizabeth’s) in the ranks below his own. Similarly, Elizabeth becomes less rigid in her judgments, more aware of the many virtues of Darcy, whom she had at first dismissed as cold and haughty. Elizabeth and Darcy’s growing love delights the reader because everything about the two--their minds, tastes, appearances, and words--shows them to be ideally suited.
PRIDE AND PREJUDICE contains less brilliant variations on the marriage theme as well. Jane Bennet, the serene oldest sister, and easygoing Charles Bingley, a couple whose engagement is for some time thwarted by Darcy and the Bingley sisters, are equally well matched if less dashing. The Reverend William Collins, the pompous cousin who as next male relation will inherit the family estate on Mr. Bennet’s death, hopes to marry...
(The entire section is 1194 words.)
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