What are the symbols in Volume 1 of Pride and Prejudice?

Expert Answers
janiscates eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Pride and Prejudice there are many symbols which stand for something more than themselves.  One group of symbols, for example, is found in the buildings and settings of the story.  The seaside, with its sailors, shows the temptation offered to young girls like Elizabeth and her sisters.  The landscaping of gardens and parks, especially around Pemberley, portrays the theme of art versus nature and asks the question of which is more effective and beautiful.  In addition, the landscaping and architecture of the home in which a man lives displays that man's moral nature, either by its orderliness and magnificence or by its wanton, neglectful, or lush details.  Pemberley, then, portrays Darcy's true nature.  He is, in spite of Elizabeth's first impression, a man whose noble virtue is exemplified by the beauty of his home.  On the other hand, Mr. Collins' home shows a stilted and barren nature with its "small gate" at the entrance and which is overshadowed by the wondrous edifice of Lady Catherine de Brough, standing nearby.  These are only a few of the many symbols in Pride and Prejudice.

lit24 | Student

"Pride and Prejudice" deals with  matters concerning the important thematic connection between money,wealth and marriage. Although, there are no overt symbols there are subtle indicators which emphasise the financial status of a character.

One such indicator is the mode of transport which the character uses.

The  chaise and four in which Bingley visits Netherfield for the first time, clearly emphasises his rich financial status (Ch.1.) Similarly,in Ch.56 Lady Catherine a very rich lady visits the Bennets in a chaise and four. Only very rich people could afford to own  and maintain four horses as a means of private transport.

In Ch.7 the conversation after Jane reads aloud the note from Catherine Bingley revals to us that the Bennets have a carriage and a coach (a covered carriage) but not separate horses for them. Similarly, the Hursts although they have a chaise of their own do not have separate horses for it, unlike Bingley who owns a chaise alongwith the  horses for it.

In Ch.53. on  his second visit to Hertfordshire, Bingley visits the Bennets after entering  the paddock-the place where horses are kept-and then "rides towards the house."  Although, Elizabeth spent six weeks at Hunsford there is no reference to Collins owning a carriage leave alone having a paddock.

Darcy's very rich  superior status is emphasised in Ch.44. He and his sister use a curricle-a two wheeled carriage pulled by two horses side by side-to visit Elizabeth at the inn.

In Ch.59. after Mrs. Bennet recovers from the shock of hearing that Elizabeth is engaged to Darcy she is ecstatic and exclaims: "Oh, my sweetest Lizzy! how rich and how great you will be! What pin-money, what jewels, what carriages you will have! Jane is nothing to it-nothing at all."

Contrast this with Ch.7 where the entire Bennet family perhaps had only a carriage or a coach driven that too by horses which were used in the farm.

Read the study guide:
Pride and Prejudice

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question