Illustration of Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy with neutral expressions on their faces

Pride and Prejudice

by Jane Austen

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1. A moralist attempts to educate readers about the principles of right and wrong that he or she feels should govern human life. What principles does Pride and Prejudice espouse? Which specific incidents and characters bring out these principles?

2. Analyze Mr. and Mrs. Bennet as parents. What seem to be their strengths and weaknesses? How do their personalities and habits appear in their five children? What do you think the novel shows about parenthood?

3. Analyze the novel's title. Who else besides Darcy and Elizabeth displays prejudice and pride? In what incidents? What makes the hero and heroine different from these other characters? What does the novel show the reader about pride and prejudice?

4. What distinguishes characters who are portrayed favorably from characters who are portrayed unfavorably? Elizabeth from Lydia? Darcy from Wickham and Collins? Jane from Mrs. Bennet and the Bingley sisters?

5. Etiquette—the distinction between good and bad manners—plays a major role in the world of the novel. Which characters are rude or tacky? In what specific ways? How does the behavior of polite characters differ? Why do you think social form and appearance are so important in this culture? In what ways does the modern world view manners similarly? Differently?

6. After you have completed Pride and Prejudice, view the film version. Does the movie successfully capture the characters and the world of the novel? What are the film's drawbacks? How does it differ from the book? Which did you enjoy more?

7. English history is more than a chronology of wars and rulers. Examine the condition of women in Jane Austen's era. Did urban women live differently than those in the country? What factors led to the expansion of opportunities for women?

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