Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

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Sample Essay Outlines

  • Topic #1

    Elizabeth’s character is influenced by her relationships with other characters in the novel. Write an essay to show how she changes either in a positive or negative manner due to another’s influence.

    Outline
    I. Thesis Statement: The role of Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice is developed through the negative and positive influences of Jane, Darcy, and Mrs. Gardiner.

    II. Influences of Jane
    A. Positive influences
    1. She can be trusted for her honesty
    2. She will share sisterly confidences
    3. She possesses a forgiving quality
    4. She evinces the goodness of leading a moral life
    B. Negative influences
    1. She never sees evil in others
    2. She keeps everything emotionally inside

    III. Influence of Darcy
    A. Positive influences
    1. He forces Elizabeth to analyze her feelings
    2. He makes Elizabeth grow in self-understanding
    3. He makes Elizabeth change her emotional state
    4. He shows Elizabeth how her own pride and prejudices
    can be overcome
    B. Negative influences
    1. He is quick to judge
    2. He often seems too proud and vain
    3. He is sometimes too reserved in speaking his mind

    IV. Influences of Mrs. Gardiner
    A. Positive influences
    1. She helps Elizabeth analyze her true feelings toward
    Darcy
    2. She provides an opportunity to put Elizabeth and
    Darcy together
    3. She shows by example how intelligence and rational
    thinking can work out problems
    B. Negative influences
    1. She is sometimes naive about the Bennet family’s lack of social class
    2. She is often too impressed by the upper class

    V. Conclusion: Jane, Darcy, and Mrs. Gardiner are three major characters who influence Elizabeth.

  • Topic #2

    Austen interjects comedy into many of the novel’s more serious moments. How do Mrs. Bennet, Mary, and Mr. Collins bring comic relief to some of the novels dramatic scenes?

    Outline
    I. Thesis Statement: The comic sides of Mary, Mrs. Bennet, and Collins enable Austen to lighten some of the more serious moments in the novel.

    II. Mary
    A. How is she portrayed?
    1. She speaks like a textbook
    2. She is always the sister who thinks too much
    3. Her comments have little to do with a given situation
    B. Instances of comic relief
    1. She has opinions about events that she knows little
    about
    2. She has her nose stuck in a book when serious
    discussions surround her

    III. Mrs. Bennet
    A. Her comic contributions
    1. Her dialogues with her husband are comical and
    ridiculous
    2. Her social blunders are so many that the reader
    begins to expect them
    3. She lacks logic
    4. When something goes wrong, she hides behind a fit
    of “nerves”

    IV. Mr. Collins
    A. His character and instances of comic relief
    1. He thinks entirely too well of himself, and speaks with
    a false humility that is pompous, verbose, and long
    winded
    2. His proposal to Elizabeth is for all the wrong reasons
    3. He fawns over upper-class women
    4. His letters are full of self-importance and nonsense

    V. Conclusion: Mary, Mrs. Bennet, and Collins provide comic
    relief.

  • Topic #3

    The whole novel revolves around attitudes and reasons for marriage. Write an essay comparing and contrasting the marriages of Charlotte, Lydia, Jane, and Elizabeth.

    Outline
    I. Thesis Statement: The marriages of four of the key characters and their pride and prejudices lead them to represent
    an era.

    II. Charlotte’s marriage to Collins
    A. Reasons
    1. He has a title and an estate
    2. She is plain and unattractive
    3. She is 26 and nearly an old maid
    4. It is for convenience only

    III. Lydia’s marriage to Wickham
    A. Reasons
    1. He is handsome and attractive
    2. He has a commission in the army
    3. She is 16 and in love

    IV. Jane’s marriage to Bingley
    A. Reasons
    1. They both fell in love almost immediately upon
    meeting
    2. He has a title and money
    3. It is upward mobility for her
    4. They are well-matched

    V. Elizabeth’s marriage to Darcy
    A. Reasons
    1. They share mutual love and understanding
    2. It is a social coup for Elizabeth
    3. They compliment one another
    4. They share trust and have confidence in each other

    VI. Conclusion: The marriages of Charlotte, Lydia, Jane, and Elizabeth reflect typical marriages of that period.

  • Topic #4

    Letter writing is a lost art...

(The entire section is 1,143 words.)