"Light, bright & sparkling"-Is this an adequate description of Jane Austen's novel Pride & Prejudice? Elucidate.

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accessteacher's profile pic

accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Very interesting quote you have been given. The problem that I personally have with it is that it makes out Pride and Prejudice to be a superficial novel, without depth or without talent. It reminds me of one of my lecturers when I was studying English who said to our seminar group (which was about 75% female) that Jane Austen's novels were a 18th Century form of chic-lit and were only for single menopausal women. You can imagine how that went down - the lynching only lasted for 5 minutes before security came in and escorted the lecturer away :-).

The problem is with views like this quote is that it ignores that Pride and Prejudice is about serious issues. Yes it is hilariously funny in places, and the humour is something we can all appreciate, and it does make the novel "sparkle", but often the humour covers up serious, brutal realities of life for Austen's heroines, and indeed, for women in general at that time. For example, one of the key issues is the importance of marriage and how vital it was for women. If we understand that then we can understand how happy Charlotte Lucas was to marry even someone as stupid as Mr. Collins - it gave her independence, social standing and prevented her from becoming a spinster who was a dependent nuisance to her family. Understanding this fact gives new meaning to Mr. Collins' chilling threat to Elizabeth that if she does not accept him she might never get another proposal.

So - don't be deluded by the humour and superficial "shell" that Pride and Prejudice has - probe a little deeper and you will see it is about a lot more than just bodices and balls.

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mkcapen1 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted on

I think that this is a good description of the overall book Pride and Prejudice. The characters are in a constant state of making puns and mixing up feelings and issues throughout the story. Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy have the hardest time getting across their true feelings for one another.  Mr. Darcy is also impudent and snobbish but is a good person which Elizabeth has to discover.

There are some more solemn scenes and incidences in the story.  For example, Jane gets a broken heart and is devastated by the loss of her love who marries someone else and ignores her at the social gathering.  Then she nearly dies of illness.  However, like always Jane Austen finds a way to have Jane live happily ever after with a new and more caring character, the colonel, who has been waiting in the shadows pinning away for her.

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