Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

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Suggested Essay Topics

Volume One
Chapter 1
1. The first title Jane Austen chose for this work was First Impressions. What are your first impressions of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet? Compare and contrast them. Illustrate this with dialogue that gives insight into their characters.

2. What examples of humor can be found in the first chapter?

Chapters 2–3
1. How does Austen go against the grain of traditional romance stories of the period?

2. What is the biggest stumbling block in the future development of a romance between Jane and Bingley?

3. What is Lizzy’s first impression of Mr. Darcy?

4. Quote some samples of dialogue that give you insight into Darcy’s character.

Chapters 4–8
1. Often we misjudge character when we first meet individuals. Give examples of the first impressions that Elizabeth and Darcy form that are incorrect.

2. Mary is the forgotten character in this novel. What references can you find that define her character? How does she differ from Elizabeth or Jane?

3. Austen has an opinion on the difference between pride
and vanity. How does it agree or disagree with yours? Cite examples.

Chapters 9–12
1. Why is Darcy afraid of liking Elizabeth too much? What is his concept of what a wife should be?

2. Elizabeth has an “attitude,” which her sisters lack. How would you describe it? Is it beneficial to her or does it harm her interactions with others?

3. What other examples of excessive pride or prejudice have you seen? Explain.

Chapters 13–18
1. Locate lines in Austen’s prose that describe and reflect the character of Collins. What descriptive phrases does she use that show negative qualities?

2. Why does Elizabeth believe Wickham when she carefully analyzes everyone else?

3. More is discussed about Pride and Prejudice at the ball. Quote these lines and comment on them.

4. What social blunders are committed by the Bennet family at the Netherfield ball?

Chapters 19–23
1. How do Elizabeth and Charlotte’s views on marriage contrast? Which was more common in the society presented in this novel? Which do you agree with?

2. What devious type of plan prompted the whole Bingley entourage to leave for the winter? Who do you presume is behind this intrigue? Why?

3. Elizabeth, though intelligent, is fallible in her judgments of character. Show by examples where she has been wrong.

4. At this point in the novel, if you had to select a character that you would prefer to have as a friend, who would it be? Explain your choice.

Volume Two
Chapters 1-3
1. Elizabeth once again changes her views on the true character of an individual. Who is it this time and why does she have a change of opinion?

2. Why does Jane begin to see faults in Miss Bingley? What incidents alter Jane’s opinion of her?

3. How does the introduction of the Gardiners inject new life into the novel?

4. What are the similarities between Elizabeth and Mrs. Gardiner? How do they differ in personality?

Chapters 4-8
1. How is Elizabeth’s prejudgment of Lady de Bourgh confirmed by their first meeting?

2. How does Darcy again present a wrong impression to Elizabeth?

3. How does Mr. Collins show Elizabeth what she has foregone with her refusal to marry him?

4. Upon meeting Miss de Bourgh, what are your first impressions?

5. How does Darcy’s aunt portray as much ill-breeding as Elizabeth’s mother? Cite examples.

Chapters 9-12
1. Explain the circumstances leading up to this declaration by Elizabeth. “Vanity, not love, has been my foll . . . till this moment I never knew myself.”

2. During the proposal scene, Darcy accuses Elizabeth of pride. She accuses him of prejudice. How is this an ironic reversal of their usual reaction to each other?

3. What did Elizabeth accuse Darcy of that made him write the letter to explain his actions?

Chapters 13-19
1. What is the denouement that takes place in Volume Two? Describe three main events leading up to it.

2. Elizabeth gains some knowledge of herself. Explain.

3. How does Darcy answer Elizabeth’s doubts?

4. What actions of Elizabeth’s younger sisters justify some of Darcy’s accusations?

Volume...

(The entire section is 1,038 words.)