"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife."
This quote is the first line of Pride and Prejudice and it forshadows the patriarchal societal views of Elizabeth Bennet's time and hence the reader gets an overview of the course of the story.
What do you think?
This quote certainly sets the stage for the rest of the book. We see two sides to this foreshadowing. The quote explains what the societal norm will be throughout the story. It also sets the stage for some characters to go against the norm. We learn fairly quickly that Elizabeth Bennett will not succumb to the typical social norms expected of her. In fact, many in her family are a little eccentric. We also see Mr. Darcy who seems an apparent contradiction to this quote. He certainly does not appear to be hoping to ingratiate himself to women. Of course, we see how these two particular characters change as the story continues. Certainly, in this time period, a marriage would have been expected and not to marry would have appeared disastrous.
Yes, this quote does set the stage for the book. The book focuses on social class and marriage in Victorian England. The quote makes you think that somewhere in the story there must be a man who has a lot of money and is looking for a wife.
In a way, Pride and Prejudice is on the lines of foreshadowing. And yes, your quotation does set the stage for the book. Pride and Prejudice is all about Elizabeth Bennet dealing with her emotions, specifically love and trying to find the right partner to marry. It's also about the roles of society; social class.
Topics that could be discussed:
Do you agree or disagree with the statement? Explain your answer.
Are there any events/dialogues/characters/sceneries that similarly influence the course of the story and how it evolves?
Is this quote proved to be true at the end of the novel or is it discarded?
Does this quote apply to Mr.Bingley and Mr.Darcy?
How does Elizabeth Bennet feel about this “universally acknowledged” truth?
It would be great to hear your points of view and refine my literary mind! Thank you!