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Feminism In Pride And Prejudice Essay

5762 words - 24 pages

Pride and Prejudice

Society is divided into classes, which leads some people to believe that they are more "classy" when they merely are just arrogant. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is a novel about the social classes, their manners, and what becomes of the social classes when they are mixed.

Elizabeth Bennet is the second daughter of five. She is intelligent, witty, lovely, clever, and honest. She is the protagonist of the novel. Not belonging to the "upper" class, Elizabeth is judgmental of people in the higher classes. Her male counterpart is Fitzwilliam Darcy. He is the wealthy "high class" friend of Bingley, who feels the lower class people of Meryton are his inferiors. ...view middle of the document...

To Elizabeth, his arrogance in these arguments and in earlier conversations continues to remain unpleasant to her. Despite his growing feelings for Elizabeth he still feels that due to their lack of wealth and family she is a poor marriage prospect.

Over time Darcy's feelings continue to grow and he eventually proposes to Elizabeth. He expresses how his feelings had grown beyond his first impression, focusing mainly on her lower rank and unsuitability for marriage rather than his love for her. She refuses; viewing him as the same self-involved, snobbish man she first met, focused on social standings rather than on feelings, this conversation reaffirms her judgements of him.

As time goes on, and Elizabeth takes a tour of Pemberley, Darcy's estate, and speaks with his servants who tell her how wonderful he is to work for, she thinks her judgements were wrong. When Darcy helps Lydia when she elopes with Whickman, Elizabeth completely changes her opinions of Darcy. He proposes again and she accepts because she realized he is devoted to her regardless of her social standing.

Elizabeth and Darcy share a prejudice view of individuals based on their social class. Both were able to set aside their biases in order to recognize their potential for love.

SETTING

The novel is set in 19th century (1800's) England, principally in Longbourn, the Hertfordshire country town that is a mile from Meryton and twenty-four miles from London. It is a well-ordered, provincial town, filled with landed gentry and oblivious to the sweeping changes occurring outside the fringes of its narrow, circumscribed vision.

LIST OF CHARACTERS
Major Characters

Mrs. Bennet
The match-making mother of five daughters. The wife of Mr. Bennet and "a woman of mean understanding, little information, and uncertain temper," who embarrasses her older daughters with her lack of class and entertains her husband with her ignorance.
Mr. Bennet
A country gentleman, who is the sometimes irresponsible father of five daughters and the husband of Mrs. Bennet. He is fond of books and can be witty and amusing.
Jane Bennet
The eldest daughter of the Bennets who is pretty, shy, calm, gentle and good-natured; she falls in love with and marries Mr. Bingley.
Elizabeth Bennet (Lizzy)
The second daughter of the Bennets who is lively, intelligent, witty and sensible; she at first strongly dislikes Mr. Darcy and then falls in love with him.
Marry Bennet
The third daughter, who is pedantic, tasteless, plain, vain, silly, and affected.
Catherine Bennet (Kitty)
The fourth daughter, who is almost a non-entity in the novel except for chasing soldiers.

Lydia Bennet
The youngest daughter who is silly, thoughtless, stupid, unprincipled, flirtatious, loud-mouthed and scatter brained; not surprisingly, she is Mrs. Bennet’s favorite daughter. She elopes with
George Wickham
A handsome, militia...

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