Do you think Jane Austen privileges education, over nature as formative of a person's character in Pride and Prejudice?explain with reason.

Expert Answers
M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Although education is not directly mentioned as far of academics goes in the story Pride and Prejudice, we do see it implied in the characters of Mary, and even Lady Catherine, mostly as positive traits that, unfortunately, fell in the "wrong sources".

The rationale behind this argument is that Mary was often quoted as "plain", and "looking for attention". She was clearly the smartest of all the Bennet sisters, but it is this precise cleverness what made her a target for satire since she did not know how to use her knowledge in a way that would make her more likable. Instead, she used her smart nature to try and outsmart her sisters, without much luck. After all, she is still "the plainest looking one".

Similarly, Lady Catherine deBourgh is also described as a woman who is versed and well-educated in certain fields. However she is also a victim of her character by not being able to put her intelligence to good use. Instead, she patronizes people and uses what she has learned from life as a way to make others feel inferior.

Therefore, although my argument can be challenged, the fact is that the two women whose wits were more observable were also two of the most annoying women in the story, altogether.