Pride and Prejudice Lesson Plan - Lesson Plan

eNotes Lesson Plan

Introductory Lecture and Objectives

Pride and Prejudice eNotes Lesson Plan content

One of the most famous first lines in English literature is found in Pride and Prejudice, published in 1813: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” The sentence immediately introduces the theme of marriage, a topic that is explored in the novel by following the character of Elizabeth Bennet, the second oldest of five daughters in a family of landed gentry, and her relationship with a man of great wealth and property named Mr. Darcy. The first line also establishes the wry humor and irony which Jane Austen employs throughout the book; as the reader quickly realizes, the novel is not so much about the fact that a “single man” wants a wife—but that a single woman, particularly one without a fortune, is in dire need of a husband. The marriage theme is also explored through the characters of the Bennet sisters and Elizabeth’s friend, Charlotte Lucas.

Jane Austen once described her work as existing within “that little bit (two inches wide) of ivory, in which I work with so fine a brush as produces little effect after much labour.” However, in focusing so narrowly on the life and trials of the Bennet family, its daughters, and their suitors, Austen creates in Pride and Prejudice a surprisingly incisive and revealing portrait of how social ritual, class, and gender were woven into the fabric of life in eighteenth century England. That Austen’s original title for the book was First Impressions provides fodder for discussion; there are clear episodes in the plot that illustrate how exterior markers such as appearance or fortune don’t always provide an accurate basis for making assumptions or judging others too quickly. The eventual title, Pride and Prejudice, perhaps encapsulates this theme more precisely.

The novel also depicts the reality that women—particularly if they were unfortunate enough to have their family estate entailed away as in the case of the Bennet daughters—were rarely in positions of power or authority. In creating the witty, intelligent, and assertive character of Elizabeth Bennet, Austen found a way to challenge the constraints of gender and the paradoxical rules that governed social institutions like marriage.

Few novels from any time period have the long-lasting cultural relevance of Pride and Prejudice. It has been adapted into well-known television productions, such as the BBC miniseries starring Elizabeth Ehle and Colin Firth; a 2005 film version earned its star, Keira Knightly, an Oscar nomination. It also has inspired many other works with titles ranging from Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2005) to Death Comes to Pemberley (2011), a murder mystery by well-known author P.D. James.

Jane Austen was born in 1775, the seventh child of the rector of Steventon parish located near Basingstoke, England. She remained at Steventon with her family until her father retired in 1801 and they moved to Bath. From the time she was a child, she wrote stories. Four of her novels were published during her lifetime, including Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814), and Emma (1816). Two other novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, were published after her death in 1817.

By the end of the unit the student will be able to:

1. Describe what makes Elizabeth Bennet an appealing and interesting heroine, particularly given the time period of the novel.

2. Explain why the first line of the novel is among the most famous in English literature.

3. Analyze the way the social institution of marriage is both clearly explained and treated with gentle irony.

4. Identify the way social class and economic status affects the central characters.

5. Find examples in the text of how Austen illustrates the social hypocrisy of the era.

6. Explore the implications of gender in nineteenth-century society and how gender affects Elizabeth’s struggle between constructions of femininity and independent selfhood.

7. Describe what makes the novel a timeless classic.

8. Explain how the novel, through various characters, presents embodiments of “pride” and of “prejudice.”

Instructional Focus: Teaching With an eNotes Lesson Plan

This eNotes lesson plan is designed so that it may be used in numerous ways to accommodate ESL students and to differentiate instruction in the classroom.

Student Lesson Guide

  • The Lesson Guide is organized for study of the book in sections as indicated by chapters. Lesson Guide pages may be assigned individually and completed at a student’s own pace.
  • Lesson Guide pages may be used as pre-reading activities to preview for students the vocabulary words they will encounter in reading each section of the book and to acquaint them generally with its content.
  • Before Lesson Guide pages are assigned, questions may be selected from them to use as short quizzes to assess reading...

(The entire section is 534 words.)

Essay and Discussion Questions

1. Why might Austen want to write a novel about marriage? What complexities or insights into nineteenth-century society might be illuminated by this particular focus?

2. Is the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet depicted as a happy one? What background issues of class and economics inform the nature of their relationship?

3. Compare and contrast the ways that Elizabeth and Charlotte view marriage. Which of their views reflects the way society of the time viewed marriage? Which of them do you agree with?

4. What is the appeal of Wickham for Elizabeth? What type of basic human error does she make that prevents her from seeing the truth?

...

(The entire section is 633 words.)

Chapters 1 and 2

Vocabulary 

acquaintance: one’s slight knowledge of or friendship with someone 

acquainted: to have personal knowledge of; to have been brought into social contact 

advantage: a more favorable or improved condition or position 

amends: corrects, fixes 

assemblies: formal social gatherings 

assuring: restoring or intending to restore confidence 

caprice: an impulsive change of mood or behavior 

chaise: a horse-drawn traveling carriage, usually two seated and chair backed 

circumspection: marked by caution and earnest attention to all possible circumstances 

conjecturing: making suppositions and speculations as to possible outcomes 

...

(The entire section is 1019 words.)

Chapters 3 and 4

Vocabulary 

affectation: the act of taking up or displaying a feeling, attitude, or opinion not natural to oneself or not genuinely felt 

air: aura, manner, style 

amiable: of a generally agreeable nature 

apt: quick 

ascertaining: determining with certainty 

beheld: seen, witnessed 

Boulanger: Georges Ernest Boulanger, a French general 

candour: unreserved, honest, or sincere expression 

censuring: judging 

circulation: passage or transmission from person to person 

commendation: the expression of approval 

conceited: having overly high self-esteem or self-regard 

conceive: to imagine, to visualize 

consequently: as...

(The entire section is 1714 words.)

Chapters 5 and 6

Vocabulary 

accosted: confronted; approached boldly or aggressively 

application: the act of fixing one’s mind closely or attentively 

archly: slyly, playfully 

arising: originating from a specified source 

asserting: stating plainly or strongly 

bestow: to provide 

capital: most enjoyable; excellent 

civil: adequate in courtesy and politeness 

Commerce: popular nineteenth century card game 

complaisance: archaic complacence; a ready attitude to please, often indicated by agreeing to a request 

compliment: a formal expression of esteem or respect; praise, flattering remark 

composure: calmness of mind in appearance...

(The entire section is 1585 words.)

Chapters 7 and 8

Vocabulary 

abominable: quite disagreeable or unpleasant 

affinity: an attraction to or liking of something 

alternative: a choice, an option 

ample: plenty, more than enough 

animation: liveliness 

apothecary: British a physician 

assent: agreement 

benevolence: disposition to do good 

brilliancy: brightness (often associated with beauty) 

capacity: the power or ability to hold, receive, or contain 

clerk: an employee in charge of keeping records or accounts; one who performs routine office tasks 

coach: a large, usually enclosed, four-wheeled carriage with side doors, passenger seats, and an elevated driver’s seat...

(The entire section is 1655 words.)

Chapters 9 and 10

Vocabulary 

adhering: holding, following, or maintaining loyalty steadily and consistently (as to a person, group, principle, or way) 

advisable: wise, sensible 

affront: to insult especially to someone’s face by behavior or language 

alacrity: a quickness in responding; eagerness 

alliance: union 

amendment: the act of changing something, especially for the better 

apparent: obvious, easily seen or noticed 

appertain: to belong or be connected as a rightful part or attribute 

approbation: approval; good or positive opinion 

atoned: made up for an improper action; made amends 

aweful: archaic awful, unpleasant,...

(The entire section is 1265 words.)

Chapters 11 and 12

Vocabulary 

amused: pleasantly diverted 

anecdote: a usually short story of an interesting, amusing, or biographical incident 

civility: courtesy; polite social behavior 

confidence: trust 

congratulation: an expression of sympathetic pleasure regarding an achievement 

diffuseness: the state of being widespread 

failing: a personality defect or character weakness 

implacable: not able to be settled or appeased 

inflexibly: stubbornly 

inquiry: a request for information 

insufferably: acting in a way incapable of being endured 

laconic: brief or concise 

meditating: reflecting on, contemplating 

petition: an earnest...

(The entire section is 837 words.)

Chapters 13 and 14

Vocabulary 

abode: a home, a dwelling 

absurd: ridiculously unreasonable 

affability: the quality or state of being sociable 

allude: to make an indirect reference 

alterations: changes 

antagonist: an opponent 

asperity: severity; rigor 

beneficence: active goodness or kindness 

breach: a break in friendly relations 

christening: the ceremony of baptizing and officially naming a child 

commendable: worthy of being praised 

condescension: an act of descending from a higher position to relate to inferiors 

constitution: the whole physical being of a person, particularly as it relates to health 

defective: flawed 

...

(The entire section is 738 words.)

Chapters 15 and 16

Vocabulary 

amply: generously, thoroughly 

astonish: to surprise or amaze 

authoritative: having an air of authority over others, often demanding submission from them 

avowal: an open declaration of direct acknowledgment 

bequeathed: given by formal declaration so that the thing given passes into ownership of the recipient after the death of the donor 

bonnet: a woman’s hat 

cessation: a pause or an end (as of an action) 

conditional: not certain, dependent on other factors 

conversible: pleasant or easy to talk with 

corroborated: established or made firm; supported by evidence or authority 

degenerate: to pass from a higher to a lower...

(The entire section is 1452 words.)

Chapters 17 and 18

Vocabulary 

abundantly: greatly, plentifully, by a large amount 

accounts: statements or opinions about a specific topic 

acquit: to free, to rid 

affected: given to false show; assuming or pretending to have what is not natural or real 

age: a relatively long time period 

alienated: made unfriendly or hostile especially in terms of friendship 

allusion: an indirect or implied reference 

attending: applying the mind or paying attention with a view toward understanding or performing correctly 

attentions: acts of courtesy or care toward someone or something 

audible: capable of being heard 

ceremonious: marked by ceremony, especially by...

(The entire section is 1791 words.)

Chapters 19 and 20

Vocabulary 

coaxed: influenced or persuaded by gentle urging, caressing, or flattering; persuaded with persistence 

conference: a meeting 

contemplation: deep thought 

coquetry: flirtatious behavior intended to attract affection or attention 

dawdled: wasted time, spent more time than necessary on a task 

declaration: a formal statement or proclamation 

detained: stopped, delayed 

diffidence: lack of confidence 

dissemble: to hide under a false appearance 

disservice: unfairness, wrong, injustice 

doleful: miserable, sad 

earnestness: a serious state of mind; a firm sense of purpose 

economy: archaic the art of...

(The entire section is 759 words.)

Chapters 21 and 22

Vocabulary 

abatement: the ending, reduction, or lessening of something 

apprehension: anticipation of future unfavorable things 

assiduous: marked or characterized by constant or persistent attention 

avail: to take advantage of; to use or benefit from 

beaux (beaus): boyfriends, love interests 

bewailed: expressed deep sorrow or regret 

cease: to stop 

comparatively: by comparison to a previous condition 

composed: formed of 

comprised: included, contained 

conception: a general notion 

concurrence: a meeting or coming together 

continuance: the state of remaining in existence or operation 

cordiality: warm regard,...

(The entire section is 1080 words.)

Chapters 23 and 24

Vocabulary 

abhorrence: intense dislike 

allowances: the taking into account of circumstances that could change an opinion or decision 

appease: to satisfy, to bring to a state of contentment or peace 

barbarously: horribly, cruelly 

befal: archaic to befall; to take place 

boisterously: noisily, roughly or rudely in behavior 

conjunction: a coming together, a joining 

courtier: a person who woos or seeks favor 

crossed: obstructed 

discharging: relieving or getting rid of something that burdens 

disinterestedness: freedom from selfish motives, fair-mindedness 

distinction: a difference in rank or level 

...

(The entire section is 857 words.)

Chapters 25 and 26

Vocabulary 

ablution: the washing of one’s body or part of it 

acquiescence: acceptance, agreement 

acquisition: coming into a new possession 

advance: to move forward or toward something 

alleviated: lessened, relieved 

artful: crafty, deceitful 

attachment: a feeling (as affection) that ties a person to another person 

banish: to drive away, expel 

cleanse: to wash, to clean 

combated: fought, struggled with 

defection: desertion, especially to an opposing side 

detest: to hate, to intensely dislike 

discourse: conversation, discussion 

distractedly: in a deeply troubled or emotionally distressed manner 

...

(The entire section is 1122 words.)

Chapters 27 and 28

Vocabulary 

adieu: French goodbye, farewell 

amidst: in the middle of 

aspect: archaic appearance to the eye or mind 

attentive: regarding with care or attention 

avarice: excessive desire for wealth or gain, greediness 

bustle: noisy or energetic activity 

cultivation: training, developing 

diversified: varied or changed from the usual 

drawing-room: a more or less formal reception room 

fender: a low often ornamental fence of iron or brass set before a hearth to confine coals and ashes 

hedge: a fence or boundary formed by a row of shrubs or low tress planted close together 

mercenary: seeking only...

(The entire section is 431 words.)

Chapters 29 and 30

Vocabulary 

antichamber (antechamber): a room or foyer placed before and leading into a chief apartment and serving as a waiting room 

apparel: clothing, dress 

ascended: moved upward 

awful: deserving of awe or wonder 

betray: to reveal something unintentionally 

cassino: a card game played by two or more persons in which each player wins cards by matching or combining cards exposed on the table with cards from his/her hand 

commission: a formal written warrant or authority granting certain powers or privileges and authorizing or commanding the performance of certain acts or duties 

controverted: disputed 

counterpart: a thing that serves to complete or...

(The entire section is 570 words.)

Chapters 31 and 32

Vocabulary 

amiss: not quite right; inappropriate, out of place 

billiard table: a pool table 

concise: brief, compactly stated 

convenience: suitability which provides advantage or comfort 

conversing: engaging in conversation 

counterbalance: a force or power that offsets or neutralizes an opposing force 

emergence: a coming out into view 

fingering: the act or method of using the fingers (as in playing a musical instrument) 

impolitic: unwise, foolish 

informed: educated, knowledgeable 

proficient: expert 

retaliate: to put or inflict in return 

Study Questions

1. While Elizabeth is playing...

(The entire section is 323 words.)

Chapters 33 and 34

Vocabulary 

acutest: most intense, most powerful 

agitating: disturbing or troubling to the mind and feelings 

ardently: with warmth or heat of emotion, feeling, or sentiment; passionately 

attained: reached, achieved 

charge: a person or thing committed or entrusted to the care, custody, management, or support of another 

degradation: reduction to a lower rank, position, or level 

dependence: the state of requiring something or someone as a necessary condition 

disposal: the power or authority to make use of as one chooses 

encounter: to come upon face to face 

exasperate: to excite or increase anger 

ground-work: basis, foundation 

...

(The entire section is 761 words.)

Chapters 35 and 36

Vocabulary 

accede: to give approval or consent 

accordingly: therefore, so 

art: slyness, cunning 

connivance: assent to wrongdoing 

contrariety: the state of being contrary, opposition 

courted: pursued 

depravity: a corrupt or evil action 

detaching: separating, withdrawing 

dissipation: wasteful or immoral living 

dissolved: ended, disconnected 

elopement: the act of running away secretly with the intention of getting married usually without parental consent 

employment: activity in which one uses time and energy 

err: to turn aside from the proper path; to make a mistake 

extinguished: put out, destroyed 

...

(The entire section is 1077 words.)

Chapters 37 and 38

Vocabulary 

abide: to endure or put up with 

abiding: living, staying 

accounting: giving a reason for something 

afresh: again; again with a new energy or focus 

Barouche box: a four-wheeled shallow carriage with a driver’s seat high in front, two double seats inside, and a folding top over the back seat 

chagrin: vexation, disquietude, or distress of mind brought on by humiliation, hurt pride, disappoint-ment, or consciousness of failure or error 

commissioning: instructing or requesting something 

consternation: dismaying or distressing excitement 

deemed: formed an opinion of based on reflection 

diminution: a decrease, a lessening in number...

(The entire section is 448 words.)

Chapters 39 and 40

Vocabulary 

allayed: put at rest, calmed 

chaperon (chaperone): to guide, to escort 

coarseness: rudeness, crudeness 

congenial: kindred, having the same disposition 

depreciate: to lower the worth of 

disclosure: a revelation of a certain knowledge or discovery 

dressing: preparing food for cooking or eating especially by adding something that coats or covers the surface 

encamped: settled in temporary camps or living quarters 

equivocal: ambiguous, unclear, vague 

forbad: prohibited 

harboured (harbored): contained, held 

incumbrance: archaic encumbrance; something that holds back or delays an action or makes...

(The entire section is 601 words.)

Chapters 41 and 42

Vocabulary 

anew: for an additional time 

anticipation: the act of looking forward to something 

apace: quickly 

augment: to increase 

cast down: gloomy, depressed 

clamorous: noisy, loud 

commencement: the beginning of something 

conjugal: relating to marriage 

contracted: shortened, shrunken, narrowed 

curtailed: ended prematurely, cut short in scope or duration 

death-warrant: something that puts an end to the existence of another thing 

detect: to discover the true character of something or someone 

deter: to turn aside, to discourage 

diverted: entertained, amused 

drooping: becoming depressed 

...

(The entire section is 829 words.)

Chapters 43 and 44

Vocabulary 

abrupt: sudden, unexpected 

accustomed: usual 

acrimony: bitterness or sharpness in words or manner 

adorned: decorated 

altered: changed 

appeals: requests 

arrested: caught one’s attention 

attributed: explained by indicating a cause 

authority: a reliable source 

bent: insistent, firm 

circuit: a path or trail that travels in a circle or a round manner 

construction: design, the form in which something is made 

construed: understood or explained, often to one’s own satisfaction 

coppice-wood: a grove of trees regularly cut down on a rotating basis to provide a constant supply of wood 

...

(The entire section is 1033 words.)

Chapters 45 and 46

Vocabulary 

actuated: stirred or inspired to activity 

bewildered: perplexed, confused 

brevity: expression in few words 

coherent: logically ordered, sensible 

collected: composed, calm 

commiseration: sympathy, compassion 

concealed: hidden 

confined: imprisoned, kept in narrow bounds 

corps: a group having a common affiliation or purpose 

creditable: respectable, deserving of praise 

deranged: disordered, in a state of chaos or unrest 

exigence: crisis, urgent situation 

fluctuating: changing, switching 

forwarded: advanced, helped on 

hackney-coach: a four-wheeled carriage drawn by two horses and having...

(The entire section is 615 words.)

Chapters 47 and 48

Vocabulary 

affliction: a cause of continued pain or distress of body or mind 

balm: something that brings comfort and relieves pain 

blacken: to speak evil of 

brittle: easily broken 

capers: leaps, playful jumps 

conclude: to bring to an end 

condolence: an expression of sympathy in grief 

decency: conformity to standards of taste and propriety 

dilatory: slow, late 

dispirited: discouraged, depressed 

enormity: a thing of huge size or significance 

exceptionable: objectionable, offensive, immoral 

expeditiously: quickly 

faculties: abilities, skills 

fare: a price charged to transport something or someone...

(The entire section is 794 words.)

Chapters 49 and 50

Vocabulary 

advance: to supply money before it is expected or due (in context) 

airing: exposing or exercising in the open air especially to promote health or fitness 

connubial: relating to marriage 

copse: a coppice-wood, a grove of trees regularly cut down on a rotating basis to provide a constant supply of wood 

creditors: those to whom money is owed 

explicitly: expressed clearly with no vagueness 

farthing: British a monetary unit equal in value to a fourth of a penny 

frailty: a failing, a shortcoming 

impassable: unable to be crossed 

inconceivable: unthinkable, unimaginable 

jealous: passionate in guarding (as in a...

(The entire section is 576 words.)

Chapters 51 and 52

Vocabulary 

abominate: to hate intensely 

austerity: sternness and coldness in manner 

bribery: giving something valuable to influence someone toward a certain thought or action 

cogent: convincing, compelling 

compromised: exposed to discredit or suspicion 

confidante: a trusted person with whom one shares confidential information 

palatable: acceptable or agreeable to the mind 

racked: agitated with trouble, stress, anxiety, doubt, or some unpleasant emotion 

saucy: disrespectful; rude 

sorely: painfully; extremely 

stratagems: clever tricks or schemes used for gaining an end 

unabashed: unashamed 

Study...

(The entire section is 589 words.)

Chapters 53 and 54

Vocabulary 

confederacy: an alliance or banding together 

covies: flocks of birds 

dread: great anxiety; fear 

forlorn: sad and lonely, often due to a loss 

intervene: to occur between two things 

irremediable: impossible to correct or fix 

lustre: shine, gleam 

privileged: having the honor or enjoyment of doing a certain task 

rapacity: greed, ravenousness 

speculation: gossip, rumors 

twelvemonth: a year 

wearisome: dull, boring 

Study Questions

1. How much time has passed since the beginning of the novel, and how does the reader know? 

It has been about a year since the...

(The entire section is 356 words.)

Chapters 55 and 56

Vocabulary 

allurements: things that attract or charm someone 

aspire: to seek to attain or accomplish a particular goal 

brooking: putting up with 

confirmation: the act of assuring or upholding 

constitute: to form or compose 

dupe: one that is easily deceived by another 

equipage: an elegant horse-drawn carriage 

frankness: honesty in expressing facts, opinions, or feelings 

induce: to influence or persuade 

industriously: diligently, with constant activity and effort 

ineffectual: not producing the desired result 

intimidated: frightened 

polluted: made unclean or impure 

shades: curtains 

shift: to manage...

(The entire section is 734 words.)

Chapters 57 and 58

Vocabulary 

annexed: attached, added 

closure: an act of closing or coming to a conclusion 

conscious: perceiving, noticing 

constancy: fidelity, loyalty 

contrariwise: oppositely, conversely 

illustrious: outstanding or famous because of dignity (as of birth, rank, possession) or because of achievements or actions 

instantaneous: at this instant; immediately 

irreproachable: blameless, faultless 

irrevocably: permanently, without any possibility for change 

pitched: turned one’s thoughts toward something or someone 

pleasantry: a humorous act or remark; an agreeable playfulness in conversation 

pointed: obvious, noticeable 

...

(The entire section is 785 words.)

Chapters 59 and 60

Vocabulary 

disposing: transferring into new hands or to the control of someone else 

epithet: a rude or abusive word or phrase 

licence (license): formal permission from local authorities 

pin-money: money allotted by a man to his wife, daughter, or sister for her personal expenses especially for clothes 

recent: new, fresh 

reserved: not open in communication 

vehemence: intensity, forcefulness 

Study Questions

1. Why does Elizabeth say, after sharing the news of her engagement with Jane, “this is a wretched beginning indeed!”? 

Elizabeth is not looking forward to telling her family that she is about to marry the...

(The entire section is 501 words.)

Chapter 61

Study Questions

1. Describe the fate of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet and Kitty as described in the last chapter. 

Mrs. Bennet is described as remaining as silly as ever; Mr. Bennet is described as missing Elizabeth so much that he often went to visit her at Pemberley—in keeping with his character, loving to visit “especially when he was least expected.” Kitty is described as showing great “improvement” after spending so much time with her well-mannered elder sisters. 

2. What does Lydia ask for in the letter of congratulations she sends to Elizabeth? How does Elizabeth oblige her? What is the ultimate fate of Wickham and Lydia? 

Lydia asks if Darcy might help...

(The entire section is 497 words.)

Multiple-Choice Test and Answer Key

1. Where is Netherfield Park? 

A. Darbyshire 

B. Hunsford 

C. London 

D. Hertfordshire 

E. Brighton 

2. Who are the two eldest daughters in the Bennet family? 

A. Mary and Elizabeth 

B. Jane and Mary 

C. Elizabeth and Lydia 

D. Kitty and Mary 

E. Jane and Elizabeth 

3. One of the gentlemen who attends the first ball that is described in the novel is rumored to have “ten thousand a year.” Which gentleman? 

A. Wickham 

B. Darcy 

C. Sir William...

(The entire section is 1027 words.)

Essay Exam Questions With Answers

1. Describe how the novel’s title, Pride and Prejudice, relates to the reasons Darcy and Elizabeth misunderstand each other and to what takes place that allows them to overcome their misunderstanding. Include examples from the text in your essay. 

The title of the novel relates to key characteristics—which could be described as faults—in its main characters. Mr. Darcy’s fault is pride, while Elizabeth’s fault is prejudice, an inclination to prejudge without access to fact or truth. Their individual faults create misunderstanding between them and make Elizabeth in particular blind to their potential for compatibility. It is only when Darcy admits his pride and overcomes it and Elizabeth clearly sees how...

(The entire section is 3506 words.)