How does one write a brief synopsis of Volume 1 of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice?

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Tamara K. H. | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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When constructing a brief synopsis of either a chapter, volume, or book, what you want to do is pay attention to and only focus on the important details. Especially ask yourself questions like: What moments move the plot forward? What moments develop characters or themes? Below are listed a few moments to get you started with your synopsis.

The first important moment is the announcement that Mr. Bingley has decided to rent Netherfield Park and Mrs. Bennet's request to her husband that he go and pay Bingley a visit, which Mr. Bennet, jokingly refuses to do. This moment gives us a chance to get to know some of the characters as well as see that Mr. Bingley is very central to the plot. We learn in this chapter that Mrs. Bennet is a very ridiculous woman whom her husband feels no respect for and that Mr. Bennet has a very sarcastic wit. We also learn that Elizabeth is Mr. Bennet's favorite daughter out of five.

The second most important event is the ball held at Meryton. It is here that we first meet Mr. Bingley and a love intrigue develops between he and Jane. In addition, we first meet Mr. Darcy who is immediately characterized as very conceited, prideful, and feeling that he is above the company present at the ball. At the ball is also where Darcy delivers his famous snub of Elizabeth, saying that he won't dance with her because "she is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me(it)" (Ch. 3). Darcy's treatment of Elizabeth begins the novel's central conflict as well as establishes the central themes of pride and prejudice.

A third important event occurs when Jane is encouraged to ride to Netherfield on horseback even though the weather is threatening to rain. Jane gets soaked, catches a severe cold, and must remain at Netherfield until she is strong enough to travel back home. This event is important because it also brings Elizabeth to Netherfield to stay for a while. The event serves to develop the characters of the Bingley sisters, allowing us to see how conceited and critical they are. It also further propels the plot forward because it is during Elizabeth's stay at Netherfield that we first begin to witness Darcy is feeling an attraction to her. Elizabeth begins to observe "how frequently Mr. Darcy's eyes were fixed on her" (Ch. 10). Hence, it is during this event that the love intrigue between Darcy and Elizabeth begins, which also furthers the development of the conflict between the two characters as Elizabeth, at this point, dislikes Darcy and believes he dislikes her as well.

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