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

Pride and Prejudice

by Jane Austen

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  • Research the changes in the English social structure during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Show how attitudes in Pride and Prejudice toward the newly wealthy middle classes, who earned their money through trade and manufacturing, differed from those toward the landed gentry who inherited their generations-old wealth.
  • Much of Pride and Prejudice centers on the question of marriage or other unions. Examine the attitudes of the different characters in the novel towards the institution of marriage and compare them to modern attitudes.
  • In 1792, Mary Wollstonecraft published her book, A Vindication of the Rights of Women, which offered the then revolutionary idea that women were the intellectual equal of men and should be educated as such. What subjects did women study during the late eighteenth and early eighteenth century? Although Austen never credited Wollstonecraft as inspiration, many of Austen's characters have qualities encouraged by Wollstonecraft. Examine Wollstonecraft's ideas and find examples of how Elizabeth fulfills many of Wollstonecraft's demands for women.

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