What meaning is there in Jane Austen's chosen title, Pride and Prejudice? Who is prideful and who is prejudiced?

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Tamara K. H. | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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Jane Austen, in Pride and Prejudice, portrayed several things through her chosen title. 

First, Mr. Darcy exhibits pride when he first arrives at Netherfield because he looks down on country society and refuses to join in on the dancing and games. Though not titled himself, because he comes from titled connections and is excessively wealthy, he considers the country gentry to be inferior.

Another example of pride in this book is exhibited by Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Lady Catherine exhibits a great deal of pride because of her wealth and title. Her pride causes her to look down on Mr. Darcy's, her nephew's, marriage proposal to Elizabeth Bennet.

A third instance of pride is exhibited by Mr. Collins. Mr. Collins is especially proud of his position at Lady Catherine de Bourgh's parsonage, hence when it is learned that Lydia has run off with Wickham, instead of responding with empathy or compassion, he claims that the Bennet family is no longer worthy of his association.

Finally, Elizabeth is the main character who displays prejudice. While it may be true that Mr. Darcy acted with great pride, Elizabeth allowed herself to become prejudiced against seeing his better nature. Her prejudice allowed her to think the worst of Mr. Darcy and side with Wickham. Instead, Mr. Darcy proved to be the most generous, kind-hearted man she had ever met.


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