I want to write a research paper about Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.  Would you please help me with the questions that follow?1- What is the reaction to marriage of Mr. Bennet (Why is she...

I want to write a research paper about Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.  Would you please help me with the questions that follow?

1- What is the reaction to marriage of Mr. Bennet (Why is she interested in her daughters' marriages)?

2- Does Mr. Darcy change?

3- Lydia runs away, but what was the reason for her running?



Expert Answers
shakespeareguru eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I am going to infer from your interest in both writing a research paper and the questions that you list, that you are considering these questions as potential topics for this paper.  There are a few things to consider in deciding which of these questions might inspire your paper.  I will first direct you (linked below) to an excellent Enotes page on "How to Write a Research Paper," which gives an easy-to-follow step by step guide for this process.

First, you must consider which of these questions (the characters involved, the situation alluded to) interests you the most.  For example:

  • If you are intrigued by the actions of Mr. Darcy and would like to follow, in detail, his behaviour throughout the book, determining, through a careful reading of the text, whether he, in fact, changes or whether it is simply Elizabeth's impression of him that changes, then, by all means, choose this topic.
  • If you are intrigued by Mrs. Bennet (and I assume that you meant Mrs. Bennet above, since you refer to her as "she") and her obsession with getting her daughters married, then you could research the customs of Jane Austen's day and relate them to Mrs. Bennet and her behaviour to develop a cause and effect sense of her actions in the novel.
  • If Lydia's scandalous elopement catches your interest, then you might research common marriage customs of the day and investigate what sorts of risks Lydia runs by eloping with a man, possibly to be abandoned and disgraced.

Any of the mentioned topics could make a good research paper, but your level of interest and willingness to do some careful investigation of the subject will be a key factor in selecting your topic.

Once you have chosen your topic and done some initial research, then you will create your thesis statement, in which you take a position in relationship to the topic.  For example:  Mr. Darcy, though he might appear to change throughout the events of Pride and Prejudice, in fact, remains steadfastly consistent in character, while it is Elizabeth Bennet's opinion of him that changes. This is a sample of a thesis statement you might create for a research paper on the second question in your list:  "Does Mr. Darcy change?"  Please note that this is meant as an example.  You should consider this topic and arrive at your own thesis statement.

For more on Mr. Darcy and the social customs of Jane Austen's day, plus writing a research paper, please follow the links below.



lmetcalf eNotes educator| Certified Educator

If those three questions are to be all considered as elements of single paper, then perhaps you should consider writing about the theme of marriage in general.  Perhaps you could write about the various motivations for marriage and then use the different couples to support your arguments.  Elizabeth specifically states that she will only marry for love, but Charlotte is more practical and acknowledges that finances are her primary concern.  Lydia marries because she made a foolish and scandalous decision to "elope" which doesn't imply a real marriage like it does today. 

Perhaps you could contrast the various men in the novel on their potential strengths and weaknesses as spouses to the women of the novel or in general.  Here you could definitely look at Darcy's character and his ability to change, or not change.  You could also look at the behavior and attitudes of Collins and even Bingley.

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Pride and Prejudice

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