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Pride and Prejudice

by Jane Austen

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What are the main plot points in Pride and Prejudice?

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In Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice", the narrative begins by introducing the characters and the matrimony theme, followed by the development of relationships in the rising action. The climax is marked by Mr. Darcy’s love declaration to Elizabeth and her rejection. The falling action includes Lydia and Wickham’s elopement, Darcy’s intervention, and Elizabeth's realization of her love for Darcy. The resolution is signified by the marriages of Darcy and Elizabeth, and Bingley and Jane.

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In Pride and Prejudice, the exposition primarily introduces the characters and the theme of matrimony, while the rising action shows how the relationships develop among the characters. The climax is Mr. Darcy’s declaration of his love for Elizabeth and her rejection of him. The falling action includes Lydia and Wickham’s elopement, Darcy’s solving their predicament, and Lizzie’s realizing that she loves Darcy. Resolution is achieved through the marriages of Darcy and Elizabeth and of Bingley and Jane.

In the exposition phase of the novel, Jane Austen uses Mr. Bingley’s temporary residence in the community to establish the theme of marriage and its importance in the Bennett family. By bringing a stranger into the community, Austen provides a reason for new characters to be introduced to each other. The rising action includes the various Bennett sisters interacting with the newly arrived male characters, including at the party where it first becomes apparent that Darcy and Elizabeth do not get along. The daughters’ interactions with the soldiers, especially Wickham, is another significant plot point, as is Bingley’s abrupt departure after it seemed he was getting serious about Jane.

The subplot of Mr. Collins’s initial interest in Lizzie and subsequent marriage to Charlotte also figures in the rising action, indirectly leading to Lizzie’s initial encounter with Lady Catherine. Another significant development is Lizzie’s visit with her aunt and uncle; this brings her to Darcy’s house and estate, where she meets Darcy’s sister and unexpectedly runs into Darcy.

The novel’s climax occurs when Darcy arrives unannounced at the uncle’s home and declares his love for Lizzie. She is offended rather than pleased, however, and turns him down. The sudden news that Lydia and Wickham have eloped precipitates the falling action, as Elizabeth learns the truth about Wickham and realizes she was mistaken about Darcy. Both his assistance in resolving the elopement scandal and Lady Catherine’s rude interference help Elizabeth understand that she loves him.

The resolution occurs with Kitty and Wickham legally married and moving away, and finally the happy marriages of Jane to Bingley and Elizabeth to Darcy.

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What are the rising action, the turning points, and the resolution in Pride and Prejudice?

The turning point in a story is officially called the climax. The climax occurs the moment a story's conflict reaches its point of greatest intensity and the story's resolution is in sight. All action that leads to the climax is called rising action; all action that leads to the resolution is called falling action.

In Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, the conflict begins reaching its greatest point of intensity the moment Lydia runs away with Wickham. It is at this moment when it looks like all hope for the Bennett family is lost because Lydia's actions will shame the rest of the family and ruin the other daughters' chances of marrying to obtain financial security. Yet, as a consequence of this moment, Darcy has his chance to display his abilities to show compassion, and Elizabeth truly recognizes the extent to which she has misjudged him.

Darcy first shows the extent of his genuine feeling and compassion when, seeing how upset Elizabeth was after receiving the letter from Jane describing Lydia's actions, declaring with passionate feeling, "Good God! what is the matter?," he offers to send a servant to find Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner (Ch. 46). He also listens to Elizabeth's news about Lydia with concerned compassion. However, at this point in the story, Elizabeth still misjudges him by thinking that he now for certain no longer loves her due to her sister's disgrace. Yet, later, we learn that Darcy went with all speed to London, found Wickham, and bribed him into marrying Lydia, all for the sake of saving Elizabeth. Hence, it is at the moment Elizabeth learns Darcy bribed Wickham that the story truly begins to turn, making it the moment of climax. All action that leads up to the climax, including Elizabeth's initial rejection of Darcy, her change in feelings, and Lydia's actions, count as the rising action. All action leading to Elizabeth and Darcy's marriage count as the falling action.

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