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Born in 1775 to an English clergyman, Jane Austen was schooled at home and she wrote about things that were familiar to her so her novel Pride and Prejudice is not representative of England at the time but only representative of certain communities within it, most importantly, the English gentry.
She had little knowledge of the working classes of northern England that had developed as a result of the Industrial Revolution. She did therefore stick to what she knew in her character representations.
Austen did not receive much acclaim during her lifetime and compared herself to a miniaturist painter paying particular attention to detail. She considered herself to be something of a perfectionist.
As far as the contents of this novel goes, it was a well-known fact of the day that marriage was, in many instances, a business arrangement. Women would want to improve their social class and marriage was an ideal way to do that.
The title is therefore apt because PRIDE is a central theme of the novel and PREJUDICE is what fuels this novel.
Darcy scorns those outside of his own social circle and by the end of the novel he realises that he had been "almost taught" to be the character that he had become, that being "selfish and overbearing."
Elizabeth is vain and allows this to obscure her judgment. She judges and rejudges people and situations and is no less inclined to pre-judge Darcy. She is even quite proud of herself and her ability to accurately predict Darcy's character when she is apparently proven right as Darcy is the "proudest, most disagreeable man."
I would like to suggest that you view the Recommended Questions section to the right of the page and particularly
In what ways was the world of Pride and Prejudice unfamiliar to the people of its own time?
How does Jane Austen's opening sentence in Pride and Prejudice relate to the theme of class?
The link to her biography will also be useful to you.
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