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PRIDE AND PREJUDICE Jane Austen (1775-1817) “I read again, and for the third time at least

, Miss Austen's very finely written novel of “Pride and Prejudice” That young lady had a talent for describing the involvement and feelings and characters of ordinary life which is to me the most wonderful I ever met with. The big Bow-wow strain I can do myself like any now going, but the exquisite touch which renders ordinary commonplace things and characters interesting from the truth of the description and the sentiment is denied to me. What a pity such a gifted creature died of so early.” Sir Walter Scott LIFE AND WORKS OF JANE AUSTEN Jane Austen was born in Stevenson, England, in 1775, where she lived for the first twenty-five years of her life. Her father, George Austen, was the rector of the local parish and taught her largely at home. She began to write while in her teens and completed the original manuscript of Pride and Prejudice, titled First Impressions, between 1796 and 1797. A publisher rejected the manuscript, and it was not until 1809 that Austen began the revisions that would bring it to its final form. Pride and Prejudice was published in January 1813, two years after Sense and Sensibility, her first novel, and it achieved a popularity that has endured to this day. Austen published four more novels: Mansfield Park, Emma, Northanger Abbey, and Persuasion. The last two were published in 1818, a year after her death. During Austen’s life, however, only her immediate family knew of her

authorship of these novels. At one point, she wrote behind a door that creaked when visitors approached; this warning allowed her to hide manuscripts before anyone could enter. Though publishing anonymously prevented her from acquiring an authorial reputation, it also enabled her to preserve her privacy at a time when English society associated a female’s entrance into the public sphere with a reprehensible loss of femininity. Additionally, Austen may have sought anonymity because of the more general atmosphere of repression pervading her era. As the Napoleonic Wars (1800–1815) threatened the safety of monarchies throughout Europe, government censorship of literature proliferated. The social milieu of Austen’s Regency England was particularly stratified, and class divisions were rooted in family connections and wealth. In her work, Austen is often critical of the assumptions and prejudices of upper class England. She distinguishes between internal merit (goodness of person) and external merit (rank and possessions). Though she frequently satirizes snobs, she also pokes fun at the poor breeding and misbehaviour of those lower on the social scale. Nevertheless, Austen was in many ways a realist, and the England she depicts is one in which social mobility is limited and class- consciousness is strong. Socially regimented ideas of appropriate behaviour for each gender factored into Austen’s work as well. While social advancement for young men lay in the military, church, or law, the chief method of selfimprovement for women was the acquisition of wealth. Women could only accomplish this goal through successful marriage, which explains the

ubiquity of matrimony as a goal and topic of conversation in Austen's writing. Though young women of Austen's day had more freedom to choose their husbands than in the early eighteenth century, practical considerations continued to limit their options. Jane Austen started to write at a time when the Romantic Movement was expressing its passionate involvement with the landscape, in particular, the melancholic aspects of gothic ruins, and the natural world in general. She was one of the few writers to adopt an irreverent attitude to this obsession. Edward Ferraris, speaking to the impressionable Marianne, in “Sense and Sensibility”, admits his confusion when attempting to describe a picturesque landscape and when Henry Tinley decides to lecture on the picturesque to Catherine, in “Northanger Abbey,” she “was so hopeful a scholar that when they gained the top of Beechen Cliff, she voluntarily rejected the whole city of Bath, as unworthy to make part of a landscape”. In many ways, Jane Austen’s detached, ironic style was an antithesis of the Romantic ideal. Many people have commented on the modernity of her novels. Elizabeth Bowen in English Novelists suggests this comment is “an agreeable way of saying that she is still some distance ahead of us”. She followed in the wake of the success of Fielding and Richardson and her sense of comedy and style has been likened to that of Fielding. She is noted for the precision of her observations. Her attention to detail is a means to enlighten a subject. As Elizabeth Bowen notes, “she applies big truths to little scenes”.

. written by Samuel Richardson. which often feature characters forging their respective ways through an established and rigid social hierarchy. if they appear at all. Her favourite writer. Austen’s novels also display an ambiguity about emotion and an appreciation for intelligence and natural beauty that aligns them with Romanticism. However. not theirs. whom she often quotes in her novels. are generally servants who seem perfectly pleased with their lot. and scandal). sketchy characters. but it should be understood as a failure shared by almost all of English society at the time. In general.Even so. bear similarities to such works of Johnson’s contemporaries as Pamela. Her plots. This lack of interest in the lives of the poor may be a failure on Austen’s part. However. Austen occupies a curious position between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. the lower classes. was Dr. critics often accuse Austen of portraying a limited world. they prefigure much Victorian literature (as does her usage of such elements as frequent formal social gatherings. Samuel Johnson. The critiques she makes of class structure seem to include only the middle class and upper class. As a clergyman’s daughter. she wrote about her own world. Austen would have done parish work and was certainly aware of the poor around her. the great model of eighteenthcentury classicism and reason. In their awareness of the conditions of modernity and city life and the consequences for family structure and individual characters.

While the original ideas of the novel come from a girl of 21. as is the pattern with all of Austen’s works. First published in 1813. Austen began writing the novel in 1796 at the age of twenty-one. Austen began writing Sense and Sensibility. Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice has delighted readers for nearly two hundred years. the final version has the literary and thematic maturity of a thirty-five year old woman who has spent years painstakingly drafting and revising. is Jane’s Austen’s earliest work. and one of the wittiest. which was not published until 1811. published in 1813.A CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF PRIDE AND PREJUDICE Pride and Prejudice. Austen's father had offered him manuscript for publication in 1797. One of the first novels written in the English language. during a time when England still faced the grave threat posed by Napoleonic France. and in some senses also one of her most mature works. Between 1810 and 1812 Pride and Prejudice was rewritten for publication. The original version of the novel was probably in the form of an exchange of letters. In a society in which women scramble to find . She also wrote some minor works during that time. but the publishing company refused to even consider it. Pride and Prejudice is usually considered to be the most popular of Austen’s novels. which were later expanded into full novels. Pride and Prejudice offers an intensely personal story in which the drawing rooms of uppermiddle class society are the setting for the extended courtship of Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy. Shortly after completing First Impressions. under the title First Impressions.

was “rather too light and bright. The novel is written in light. Collins. marriageobsessed Mrs. class-based prejudices of its characters. Austen's prose expertly skewers the wellborn and the lower classes alike. it never oversimplifies. and its pages are filled with quick-witted. Mr. Austen’s novel celebrates the ultimate triumph of romantic love over all impediments.husbands amid the stumbling blocks of financial snobbery and class prejudice. the novel offers an unforgettable portrait of a particular society with all of its charms and blemishes. but its exploration of the human condition is unlimited. and never ceases carrying its readers toward the . sparkling prose. The novel’s scenery is limited to wellappointed homes and estates. Even in its most biting moments. immensely entertaining dialogue. It is also a pitch-perfect piece of social commentary. Bennet—to the pretentious and sanctimonious clergyman. and the rakish. Darcy (who eventually reforms himself) to the snotty Miss Bingley and the absurdly self-important Lady Catherine de Bourgh. for all its popular appeal. Bennet and detached. In addition to the delightful dialogue and happy ending.” to be considered a serious novel. from the tooproud Mr. droll Mr. airy. comparable to Shakespeare’s comedies in the delight it takes in conversation and wordplay. the novel never loses its sense of good cheer. golddigging militia officer Wickham. Pride and Prejudice is a comedy of manners. brilliantly dissecting the foolish. Darcy and Elizabeth move through a landscape dotted with brilliantly-drawn characters. Austen herself feared that Pride and Prejudice. and sparkling. Best of all. from Elizabeth's parents—the idiotic.

Elizabeth’s vanity clouds her judgment. having been brought up in such a way that he began to scorn all those outside his own social circle. must overcome his prejudice in order to see that Elizabeth would be a good wife . Elizabeth’s rebukes of Darcy help him to realize his fault and to change accordingly. In the novel. or Elizabeth with Prejudice. pride prevents the characters from seeing the truth of a situation and from achieving happiness in life. “in Pride and Prejudice one cannot equate Darcy with Pride. As critic A. In the end. MAJOR THEMES PRIDE As said in the words of Mary at the beginning of the novel. while Elizabeth’s initial prejudice against him is rooted in pride of her own quick perceptions.destination they desire: the final triumph of true love over all obstacles. not on reason. whom he previously would have scorned because of their low social class. PREJUDICE Pride and prejudice are intimately related in the novel.” Darcy. as demonstrated in his genuinely friendly treatment of the Gardiners. making her prone to think ill of Darcy and to think well of Wickham. Darcy’s pride in his position in society leads him initially to scorn anyone outside of his own social circle. Darcy’s letter shows Elizabeth that her judgments were wrong and she realizes that they were based on vanity. Darcy’s pride of place is founded on social prejudice. Walton Litz comments. “human nature is particularly prone to [pride]”. Pride is one of the main barriers that create an obstacle to Elizabeth and Darcy’s marriage.

as in Elizabeth's judgments of Darcy and Wickham. frivolity. WOMEN AND MARRIAGE Austen is critical of the gender injustices present in 19th century . From the beginning of the novel Elizabeth prides herself on her keen ability for perception. and immorality of Lydia. Mr. Elizabeth and Jane are constantly forced to put up with the foolishness and poor judgment of their mother and the sarcastic indifference of their father. Elizabeth and Jane have managed to develop virtue and strong characters in spite of the negligence of their parents. Even when Elizabeth advises her father not to allow Lydia to go to Brighton. The Gardiners are a much lower class than Darcy. who are the only relatives in the novel that take a serious concern in the girls’ well-being and provide sound guidance. foolishness. because Mr. FAMILY Austen portrays the family as primarily responsible for the intellectual and moral education of children. The overcoming of his prejudice is demonstrated when he treats the Gardiners with great civility. Gardiner. he ignores the advice because he thinks it would too difficult to deal with Lydia’s complaining. Yet this supposed ability is often lacking.for him and to win Elizabeth’s heart. and Mrs. Bennet’s failure to provide this education for their daughters leads to the utter shamelessness. The result is the scandal of Lydia's elopement with Wickham. perhaps through the help of their studies and the good influence of Mr. Darcy is a lawyer and must practice a trade to earn a living. rather than living off of the interest of an estate as gentlemen do. and Mrs.

She herself went against convention by remaining single and earning a living through her novels. good-breeding and virtue. yet it does criticize an over-emphasis on class. While those such as Miss Bingley and Mrs. The entailment of the Longbourn estate is an extreme hardship on the Bennet family. Yet eventually he sees that factors other than wealth determine who truly belongs in the aristocracy. The entailment of Mr. CLASS Considerations of class are omnipresent in the novel. The novel demonstrates how money such as Charlotte need to marry men they are not in love with simply in order to gain financial security. The novel does not put forth an egalitarian ideology or call for the levelling of all social classes. Mr. In her personal letters Austen advises friends only to marry for love. are idle. and is quite obviously unjust. Gardiner are not members of the aristocracy in terms of wealth or birth but are natural aristocrats by virtue of their intelligence. and Mrs. Bennet's estate leaves his daughters in a poor financial situation which both requires them to marry and makes it more difficult to marry well. Darcy’s inordinate pride is based on his extreme class-consciousness. mean-spirited and annoying. Hurst. Clearly.English society. who are born into the aristocracy. Austen believes those women are at least as intelligent and capable as men. Through the plot of the novel it is clear that Austen wants to show how Elizabeth is able to be happy by refusing to marry for financial purposes and only marrying a man whom she truly loves and esteems. The . and considers their inferior status in society to be unjust.

While Austen is critical of society's ability to judge properly.” VIRTUE Austen’s novels unite Aristotelian and Christian conceptions of virtue. and that apart from society there is not even the individual. When Lydia elopes with Wickham. it is scandal to the whole society and an injury to entire Bennet family. she does believe that society has a crucial role in promoting virtue. Austen has a profound sense that individuals are social beings and that their happiness is found through relationships with others.” INDIVIDUAL AND SOCIETY The novel portrays a world in which society takes an interest in the private virtue of its members. as demonstrated especially in their judgments of Wickham and Darcy. “It the conclusion of the novel makes it clear that Elizabeth accepts class relationships as valid. According to critic Richard Simpson. through Elizabeth’s genius for treating all people with respect for their natural dignity. Collins and his obsequious relationship with Lady Catherine serve as a satire class consciousness and social formalities. therefore. Austen has a “thorough consciousness that man is a social being. Darcy considers his failure to expose the wickedness of Wickham’s character to be a breach of his social duty because if Wickham’s true character had been known others would not have been so easily deceived by him. As critic Samuel Kliger notes. the verdict on class differences is moderate. . In the end. is reminded that institutions are not an end in them but are intended to serve the end of human happiness.comic formality of Mr. it becomes equally clear that Darcy.

which is a life in accordance with virtue. she deals with morality and is. therefore. Lydia seems almost completely devoid of virtue because she has never trained herself to discipline her passions or formed her judgment such that she is capable of making sound moral decisions. Elizabeth’s folly in her misjudgements of Darcy and Wickham is that her vanity has prevented her from reasoning objectively. MOST EXPECTED QUESTIONS Q: DISCUSS JANE AUSTEN AS A MORALIST? Q: IS THEME OF LOVE AND MARRIAGE CENTRAL TO “PRIDE AND PREJUDICE”? Q: JANE AUSTEN IS CONCERNED TO MARRIAGE AND ECONOMIC CONSIDERATIONS OF HER AGE. Human happiness is found by living a life in accordance with human dignity. “The more I see of the world. . the more am I dissatisfied with it”.She sees human life as purposeful and believes that human beings must guide their appetites and desires through their use of reason. WHAT IS THAT? Ans: Since Jane Austen deals with life. Her pre-occupation is with the way people behaved. basically a moralist though not an explicit one. as it is a prerequisite for moral improvement. Elizabeth Bennet echoes Jane Austen’s moral concern when she remarks. Selfknowledge has a central place in the acquisition of virtue. Darcy and Elizabeth are only freed of their pride and prejudice when their dealings with one another help them to see their faults and spur them to improve. DO YOU AGREE? Q: JANE AUSTEN GAVE THE REAL FORMULA OF HAPPY MARRIAGE. “Pride and Prejudice” is basically a didactic novel.

establishment. David Daches remarks that Jane Austen is in a sense a Marxist before Marx.Jane Austen criticizes coarse and inadequate standards. which are almost entirely those of money and snobbery. Jane Austen criticizes the social and moral standards and manners. In the first chapter of “Pride and Prejudice”. business. property. This is the need of a ‘civilized community’. “Pride and Prejudice” displays and illustrates the dangers of excessive pride and overweaning prejudice. The marriage problem is set broadly because social call must be made on the single gentleman of good fortune who had settled in neighbourhood. She exposes the economic basis of social behaviour with an ironic smile. The desperation of the hunt is the desperation of economic survival. Jane Austen’s subject matter is limited to the manners of a small section of English countrygentry. Jane Austen ironically makes us realize that an individual marries society as well as his mate. and possession have been consistently used. According to Doroth van Ghend. In the union of Jane and . the words like fortune. She laughs at the silly behaviour of the people on the didactic level. Jane Austen ironically describes how girls in family like the Bennet’s must succeed in capturing rich young men in order to survive. The tale is that of a manhunt. But the story is too complex to allow a merely didactic interpretation. The female is a lady and the male is a “gentle man” and they must fall in love and get married. The society she describes is property oriented. The man hunters must observe the most refined behaviour and sentiments. Property is more important than feelings and love.

Jane Austen.Bingley and Charlotte and Collins. Darcy is not a . She criticizes irrational behaviour of Darcy. Lydia elopes with the handsome Wickham because of her poor training. A relation which is based upon lust and physical appeal and is totally oblivious of genuine and finer feelings is sooner or later. Miss Darcy. Besides. Miss Bingley and Lydia. Bennet. It is to sacrifice what is most valuable thing in life i. that to give oneself to a man without desire is a polite form of prostitution. Bennet forgets the possibility of happiness by marrying a stupid woman who is his social equal. A marriage which breathes either financial or sexual consideration is not approved by Austen. The novel makes clear in the figure of Charlotte Lucas. destined to collapse. Jane Austen exposes lack of social and moral enlightenment. Throughout the novel. Wickham is physically very handsome but spiritually very ugly. Jane Austen criticizes the Bennet’s for not giving proper social and mental education to their children. Jane Austen cleverly lays emphasis on common sense. emphasizes that appearance can be deceptive. throughout the novel. She comes down hard upon physical beauty for self-advancement.e. Though Wickham-Lydia affair. Mrs. feeling Mr. Lydia elopes with Wickham but their marriage is vulnerable to many external and internal forces. Marriage is thus symbolic act of marriage with society in “Pride and Prejudice”. we find the obsessive social formula of marriage to property. Jane Austen deliberately uses mercantile vocabulary to satirize the sophisticated civilization of her day. Elizabeth.

One thing that many contemporary readers felt to be lacking directly in Jane Austen's novels was their ineffectiveness to be `instructive' (i. it is through the mutual relationship of Darcy and Elizabeth that Jane Austen mainly brings into light the theme of love and marriage. both the hero and the heroine neither know much about their own-self nor about each other. she has a very foolish character like those she herself writes as “vapid tissues of Ordinary occurrences from which no useful Deductions can be drawn”. As get married only when they succeed in developing sufficient amount of mutual understanding and respect. or `inspirational' (that is “to elevate mankind by their depiction of ideal persons. Jane Austen also once said that “pictures of perfection make me sick and wicked” and she satirized the frequent lack of realism in the literature of the day in her Plan of a Novel: . whether the tendency of this work is altogether to recommend parental tendency or reward filial disobedience. This is Jane Austen’s formula of true love and marriage and is central to “Pride and Prejudice”. They are exposed to pride and prejudice respectively. Nevertheless. Jane Austen makes fun of such didactic tendencies in her ending to Northanger Abbey: “I leave it to be settled by whomsoever it may concern. In the beginning of the novel. good morals and manners. self knowledge and mutual understanding. to teach a moral).” In her last work. Darcy also learns that Elizabeth has certain startling qualities.proud which Elizabeth in the beginning thinks he is. even in defiance of the known realities of ordinary life” -Southam.e. appearance and reality.

and for the third time at least. They are skilfully drawn in order to present realistic and true-to-life portraits. unlikely meetings between long-lost relatives. villainous aristocratic would-be ravishers. the Good will be unexceptionable in every respect -. She deals with the mutual relationship of only four or five families. that were the stock in trade of much of the literature of the period.” Q: DISCUSS JANE AUSTEN’S ART OF CHARACTERIZATION? Ans: Unlike Fielding and Dickens. What a pity such a gifted creature died of so early. Jane Austen’s canvas is limited. all the members are presented totally life-size. but the exquisite touch which renders ordinary commonplace things and characters interesting from the truth of the description and the sentiment is denied to me.and there will be no foibles or weaknesses but with the Wicked.“There will be no mixture.. hardly a resemblance of Humanity left in them”. However. who will be completely depraved and infamous. Sir Walter Scott says. What many other contemporary readers did admire in Jane Austen's novels was their plausibility and depiction of real life -. etc.. Miss Austen's very finely written novel of “Pride and Prejudice” That young lady had a talent for describing the involvement and feelings and characters of ordinary life which is to me the most wonderful I ever met with. The big Bow-wow strain I can do myself like any now going. she employs various techniques of characterization. “I read again.as opposed to the sensationalism. .

Jane Austen’s art of characterization is thoroughly dramatic. Collin’s letter in detail. Comparison or contrast is another effective technique. He goes to London and makes every arrangement for them to enjoy a peaceful married life. most of the time the dialogues of the major characters carry moral implications. The Bennet sisters discuss Mr. she depicts her characters more or less through their dialogues. thoroughly providing the reader a chance to know his devilish and sinful character. The conversation not only reveals the different viewpoints of Bennet sisters but also Colin’s lack of accomplishment. Three or four characters sit together and through their conversation not only reveal their inner selves but also help the reader in forming a judgment or an image about other characters-those who are absent but are the subject of their talk Mr. Jane Austen portrays her characters also through actions Wickham flirts both Lydia and Elizabeth Bennet. and later on elopes with the former Lydia. Bennet’s exchange of dialogue always reveals not only their foppish characters but also their views regarding life and its important matters. which is employed by Miss Austen in the delineation of her characters. the more am I dissatisfied with it” hints at the various contradictions and inconsistencies exhibited in real life. Through this technique. she impresses upon the reader that human beings differ from one . “The more I see the world. Similarly. However. and Mrs. Elizabeth Bennet’s famous comments. Darcy’s action at the time of Wickham’s elopement with Lydia openly reveals his gentlemanliness. Like a true dramatist.

One of Jane Austen’s greatest methods of characterization is her use of irony. Darcy is not a hypocrite like Wickham. They feel remorse and start moving towards self revelation and self knowledge. Jane is simple and naive. Both Darcy’s and Elizabeth’s thinking are sufficiently revealed and analysis at the time when they become aware of pride and prejudice in their own selves. and Mrs. Unlike Wickham. Mrs. The Bennet sisters are also beautifully compared and contrasted with one another. In “Pride and Prejudice” there is sufficient psychological penetration into Elizabeth’s mind especially at the time of Darcy’s refusal to dance with Elizabeth. Jane Austen is not a psychological novelist in the strict sense of the word. shy. Jane Austen uncovers the discrepancies. De Bourgh. In “Pride and Prejudice” there are significant comparisons and contrasts. In “Pride and Prejudice” Mrs. Elizabeth Bennet is sharp witted and a keen observer. he is serious. Wickham’s hypocrisy of character is thoroughly . and sincere. Wickham serves a contrast to Darcy. Lack of understanding between Mr. Catherine De Bourgh balances each other in their vulgarity as well as in their matchmaking. She continuously makes ironic comments to present a realistic picture of her characters. Catherine. Collins are the main targets of Jane Austen’s irony. Bingley sisters. But there is good deal of psychological analysis of characters in her novels. Bennet and Lydia. Bennet. inconsistencies and incongruities of human behaviour through his stylistic device. Wickham and Mr.another in more than one aspect. Whereas. Bennet is ironically dealt with.

Closely connected with it. A moral purpose is certainly there but the reader is allowed to reach by his own effort. Her minor characters like Mr. They are individuals as well as types. In the like manner lady Catherine. Jane Austen’s art of characterization is overwhelmingly . While going through the narrative. Her novels are free from intrusion by her. Even Elizabeth is not spared.snubbed. Like Fielding. The moment she deviates from the right path Jane Austen is there to laugh at her. Her characters are like real human beings. Jane Austen observes objectivity. Collins and Katherine De Bourgh do not undergo any change of mind and heart during the narrative. Realism is the key to her art of characterization. Both the male and the female characters earn our appreciation. interests liking and disliking which distinguish them from others while at the same time share certain characteristic features which make them typical of eighteenth century countryside circle. is Austen’s technique of depicting her characters either as flat or round. They have their own particular habits. we get the feeling that we actually meet Elizabeth and Darcy. Nor is there any moralizing in her stories. Mr. In brief. she does not interrupt her stories with her personal comments. But her major characters especially the heron and the heroine present themselves as complex characters undergoing significant changes in their behaviour. ideas and moral perception. Bingley and Charlotte Lucas and so on. De Bourgh’s rude and proud behaviour is castigated by Jane Austen. It remains to be noted that in her art of characterization.

Ans: At first glance Elizabeth and Jane seem to vie with each other for primacy in “Pride and Prejudice”. Jane Austen’s concern is with complex characters and their interrelationship. It is much simpler and it is intended to be comment on the main story of her younger sister and the proud Darcy. Jane has the unqualified approbation of Elizabeth and the authoress. Jane Austen makes her the heroine of the novel. Q: DISCUSS DEVELOPMENT IN THE MIND AND HEART OF ELIZABETH. By comparison.dramatic. she also quite thoroughly dominates the action. Jane is a simple character but “intricate characters are the most amusing”.” Elizabeth is not as perfect as Jane and that is why. Elizabeth addresses Jane in the following affectionate words: “You are too good. Your sweetness and disinterestedness is really angelic. She is. which parallel with that of Elizabeth and Darcy. To say that Darcy is proud and Elizabeth’s prejudice is to tell but half . The relationship of Jane Austen to Bingley. Not only does Elizabeth represent one of the words of the title of the story. Jane like Bingley is not intricate. is treated much fully. It has variety and uniqueness. Jane Austen writes of Elizabeth: “I must confess that. Jane is shadowy accessory. Q: DISCUSS ELIZABETH’S CHARACTER. I think her as delightful a creation as ever appeared in print”. Her art resembles with dramatists like Shakespeare and Ibsen. but Elizabeth is definitely the heroine. therefore. not the heroine of the novel. Yet throughout the book.

She knows William Collins from the first letter. But we very soon know that Elizabeth does not completely understand Charlotte’s character. These desirable merits are selfrespect and intelligence. She understands her family perfectly. She has ability to discern people and situations quite well. appreciates Lady Catherine at first meeting. he writes the merits and deficiencies of Bingley almost at once.the story. She is flabbergasted to learn that Charlotte has accepted Mr. Charlotte Lucas is a sensible intelligent young woman. Jane and Bingley are never exposed to these dangers. he does not give himself a chance to know how she really feels about him. Elizabeth is an intelligent young woman. She has learnt something from this experience and that is what Jane Austen aims at. Her failures are with intricate people who are very close at her. So the ironic theme of the book might be said to centre on the dangers of intellectual complexity. She is Elizabeth’s intimate friend. Pride and prejudice are faults but they are also two necessary defects of desirable merits. the novel makes clear the fact that Darcy’s pride leads to prejudice and Elizabeth’s prejudice stems from pride in her own perceptions. Collin’s proposal of marriage. She fails to completely understand Charlotte Lucas. Moreover. She begins to see Charlotte as she really is. It is because a natural kindness and affection has blinded Elizabeth to the demerits of her friend. (Elizabeth does not give Darcy a chance or rather. They are not sufficiently profound. Intelligence fails if there is insufficient distance between mind and object. Wickham and Darcy. “Pride and Prejudice” shows that intimacy blurs perceptions. The famous first encounter .

Q: WHAT IS USE OF IRONY IN “PRIDE AND PREJUDICE”. Elizabeth wants to dislike Darcy in order to avoid any entanglement. she gets selfknowledge and becomes a charming and fascinating human being for the reader. Elizabeth is vexed and even angry when Wickham fails to appear at the Netherfield Ball. Elizabeth is the main source through which the authoress has exposed and snubbed negative values and trends like pride. . She then discovers that Darcy had been mainly instrument in arranging the marriage between Lydia and Wickham. She realized that her pride and prejudice had blinded her to Darcy’s merits. Nevertheless. She meets Wickham and finds him charming. Ans: Irony is central to Jane Austen’s vision of the world. Elizabeth rightly deserves the title of the heroine of Jane Austen’s masterpiece. Besides. when Darcy tells her. She is also stunned when she discovers Wickham’s villainy. In the process. her uncompromising honesty causes her to realize that there is much justice in Darcy’s views about her family. prejudice and lack of self-knowledge. it is through Elizabeth’s character that Jane Austen has propagated her ironic view of life. which will cost her freedom. The word irony implies a difference between the appearance and the reality. It is employed to show the contradiction between how things should be and how they are. She easily believes in his allegation against Darcy because she is already prejudiced against Darcy. She is also the defender of positive behaviour.is comically disastrous. She still rebels against involvement. After Darcy’s first remarks she does not show very cordial feelings towards him). She is astonished. he loves her.

whims and inconsistencies do divert me. . The ironic tone of the narrative is confirmed after going through the very first sentence of “Pride and Prejudice”: “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife”. At the ironic level. and I laugh at them whenever I can”. and between how a person sees him and how the other people take him. She says. It is quite possible that one would like to be both intricate and simple simultaneously. Such contrasts form the raw material of Jane Austen’s comedy. Jane and Bingley are quite simple and their simplicity though turns out to be a virtue yet is not invulnerable to external exploitation. Darcy and Elizabeth’s intricacy is juxtaposed with Jane and Bingley’s simplicity. But the irony is that they are mutually exclusive and incompatible. Perception of discrepancies and incongruities. the theme offers the contrast between intricacy and simplicity. “Follies and nonsenses. The hero and the heroine have depth but it casts them in the danger of “Pride and Prejudice”. Jane Austen uses it to dig out the true nature and fact that lies behind the faces and masks. Both intricacy and simplicity have their pluses and minuses.between what a person says and what he does. which is called irony. thus becomes a way of looking at life. The fact that invites our attention at the outset is that the theme of “Pride and Prejudice” easily lends itself to an ironic interpretation. I own. Elizabeth Bennet’s words in “Pride and Prejudice” point to some of the sources of Jane Austen’s irony.

It is the woman who longs to have such suitable husband. The ironic deflection occurs when the great universal truth turns out to be concerned with a common social problem--marriage. Elizabeth’s worries need no bound. Mr. Collins proposes to Elizabeth when her heart is fully inclined towards Wickham. The first half of the sentence cites to the exposure of some great universal truth but the expectation collapses in the second half. it was exposed that the departure of Militia from Meriton would bring Lydia’s flirtation to an end. In the sentence lies the people’s assumption that a well-to-do youngman should be in search of a suitable wife. It harbours beneath it an ironic thought that. All these ironic situations are of great . He may be the hunted one rather than the hunter.The sentence is fairly anticlimactic. things may be exactly the very opposite. Darcy proposes to her exactly at the moment when her hatred for him reaches its maximum. In this respect many events and situations in “Pride and Prejudice” have been given an ironic twist. Lady Catherine’s intervention to check the marriage between Elizabeth and Darcy helps to expedite. The picture becomes totally clear when in the same chapter the youngman is even called the rightful property of some young lady. in reality. but quite ironically it brings about her elopement. She is fully convinced that her prospects of marriage to Darcy were badly eclipsed. Mr. But Lydia’s misconduct instead of setting them apart actually brings them together. Similarly. There is at several places a contrast between the expectation and the fulfilment in a particular situation.

ELABORATE? Ans: Jane Austen’s world is generally regarded as narrow and limited. . this range being extremely narrow.dramatic significance as they throw light on the development of plot. Jane Austen’s irony is dramatic. Q: DISCUSS JANE AUSTEN’S ART AND LIMITATIONS? Q: WHAT IS “TWO INCHES OF IVORY”. She criticizes marriages contracted for physical beauty or under economic pressure. she wrote to her niece. Once. Above all. in her hand becomes the instrument of moral vision and not a technique of rejection. Wickham’s disposition seems graceful refined and gentlemanly but at heart he is more than a devil’s disciple. complex not simple. In this way. Irony. thus. Jane Austen exposes the incongruities and contradictions of human behaviour and she does so for the amusement and moral education of her reader. like Chaucer it is tinged neither with any bitterness nor does it reflect her cynicism. In brief. she emphasizes the importance of love and self-knowledge as the basic of sound marriage. leading-traits of different characters and Jane Austen’s outlook. Irony of character is equally conspicuous and meaningful. she works on a small canvas. not static. She explains the need of self-awareness and ridicules hypocrisy and pretentiousness. Unlike Fieldings and Dickens. Elizabeth who takes pride in her keen perception and comments ironically on Jane’s blindness to the realities is herself oblivious to her own prejudice. The Bingley sisters hate the Bennet’s for their vulgarity but are themselves vulgar. She confines her creative activity to the depiction of whatever falls within her range of personal experience.

“Three or four families in a country village are the very things to work on”. interests and adjustments of middle and upper middle classes. Her novels go beyond the social record to moral concern and commitment “Pride and Prejudice” and “Mansfield Park” offer nice illustrations of the above observations. balls visiting friends. Betram’s Grants. needle work etc. which is of main concern for Jane Austen. They deal with families like Bennet’s. The parties. dancing. Since this class is not required to work. Mr. Prices and Naris. She minutely observed the domestic involvements of the parishioners and decided to write only about them. Bingley. And it is yet only the social life of these families. so the men and the women belonging to this circle involve themselves in social activities like dinners. which are arranged at Netherfield and Mansfield Park. girls belonging to these circles are not trained for any profession. Besides. which was unaffected by the great political upheavals and revolutionary changes in the social set up. The respect of Mr. Working with material extremely limited in them she develops themes of the broadest significance. going for walks and card playing. they are expected to be accomplished in music. depends directly on their wealth and accomplishments. She spent most of her life in countryside small village. clashes. can be quoted in this respect. the classes in which the respect people receive. She often talks about the involvement. Bingley’s. Darcy joy is mainly due to their sound financial position. drawing. activities. Since women could not legally . Jane Austen talks neither about the aristocracy at the top nor the poor. Instead.

nor reencounters [duels] and disguises. the principal aim of girl was to get married to eligible rich bachelors like Darcy. they had no economic security. especially for Mr. Emma and Miss Elizabeth Bennet. Hence. Annabella Milbanke (later Lady Byron) wrote in a letter that: “I have finished the Novel called Pride and Prejudice. in case they did not get marry. which I think a very superior work. she draws implications of universal relevance. She is an outstanding artist. . nor lap dogs and parrots. and all of them are consistently supported. There are always beautiful girls like Maria. It is for this very reason that the theme of Miss Austen’s novels in general and of “Pride and Prejudice” in particular is marriage and love. I really think it is the most probable I have ever read. soon after the publication of Pride and Prejudice. It is not a crying book. Fanny. Naris are always found in devising plans how to trap the suitable young man. In her novels. no conflagrations. Bingley. Their mother and aunts like Mrs. nor chambermaids and milliners. Bennet and Mrs. no drownings. and Edmund etc.inherit their parent’s property. In a letter of May 1813. but the interest is very strong. It depends not on any of the common resources of novel writers. By dramatizing these two themes in her novels. women are waiting for really suitable young men to get married to them. Moreover Miss Austen has confined her canvas to a very reasonable extent short which is limited yet lifelike. The characters which are not amiable are diverting. nor runaway horses. Mary. objectivity and precision delight the reader. Darcy.” Jane Austen’s originality.

He perhaps never comes across Elizabeth Bennet’s famous remarks to her sister. she discusses . He admits that Jane Austen’s novels are an admirable copy of life. Jane Austen represents a ‘feminisation of English novel’. She cannot tolerate bad manners and morals. We can see a world in a grain of sand in Jane Austen’s novels. Macaulay compares Jane Austen to Shakespeare. as we meet in everyday life. Much of the criticism levelled against Jane Austen does not carry weight. Her moral complexity gives sharpness to her theme. Emma reproaches herself for her want of tenderness of heart. Her themes have universal affinities. “The more I see of the world. Charlotte Bronte’s criticism of Jane Austen’s art for its lack of passions and imaginations is quite harsh. wrong to say that the country gentry cannot possibly yield anything of surpassing values.Wordsworth acknowledges the accuracy of her description. therefore. It was Jane Austen’s dissatisfaction with the daily life around her that forced her to examine it so minutely. It is. According to him. she presents a universal standard of values. But Bronte overlooks entirely Jane Austen’s moral concern. her serious pre-occupation is with the way people behave. Lord David Cecil is of the view that Jane Austen’s novels express a general view of life. Jane Austen has given us a multitude of characters. the more I am dissatisfied with it”. Fanny Price’s devotion to Edmund in “Mansfield Park” is fully passionate. Like all great comedians say Fieldings and Dickens. Edward Fitzgerald complains that Jane Austen does not go out of the parlour. Yet they are quite different from one another. She is not an author of the surface only.

as far as it goes. In addition. Of great criminals and hidden crimes she tells us nothing. “Miss Austen was surely a great novelist. She puts men in the background. feelings and characters of ordinary life. Trollope remarked about Austen’s works. Her range may be limited and her materials trivial but her achievement is not insignificant. -. and in the language. In “Mansfield Park” every thing is looked at through Fanny’s eyes.what we generally mean when we speak of romance -. Her work. She has the talent and the skill to describe the involvements. Her novels go beyond social record to the moral concerns and the moral concerns are caring and consideration for others. There is not obscenity. The action in her novel is unfolded from heroine’s point of view. But she places us in a circle of gentlemen and ladies. Of romance.she had no tinge. which was usual to her as an educated lady. is faultless. Heroes and heroines with wonderful adventures there are none in her novels. She wrote of the times in which she lived. vulgarity and nothing that is capable of corrupting a maid’s innocent heart.and exposes the problems of women in her novels. we can remark that though Jane Austen’s world is narrow yet it has depth and subtlety. of the class of people with which she associated. Summing up our discussion. mutual understanding and good morals and manners. and charms us while she tells us with an . Men have their importance only in her company of women. her novels are absolutely clean. she did perfectly. What she did.

unconscious accuracy how men should act to women. The entire structure of the novel is so intensely dramatic that it appears a fully developed five-act comedy. The first act covers approximately the first eighteen chapters. and women act to men.” Q: DISCUSS JANE AUSTEN’S DRAMATIC METHOD? Q: “PRIDE AND PREJUDICE” IS LIKE A COMEDY OF MANNERS. thereby bringing the chance of Jane’s marriage to the lowest ebb. Collins a clergyman in “Pride and Prejudice” would move laughter in a lowchurch archbishop. This conflict results in the propagation of the major themes of the book. certainly. The letters of Mr. In the comedy of folly I know no novelist who has beaten her. Bingley’s renting of the Netherfield and ends with his departure to London.and. -. the Lucas. they are not all wise. The faults of some are the anvils on which the virtues of others are hammered till they are bright as steel. namely the theme of love and marriage. It begins with Mr. The act two further deepens the conflict between the hero and the heroine.the Bennet’s. and Mr. DO YOU AGREE? Ans: Jane Austen’s genius is essentially dramatic. Mr. Darcy and initiates the major conflict. Her novels are dramatic both in matter and manner. the Bingley’s. “Pride and Prejudice” offers a nice instance. Like the first act of a play the exposition introduces the major characters. Collins proposes for Elizabeth but is . The plot falls into five natural divisions or acts. It is not that her people are all good. the conflict of Darcy’s pride and Elizabeth’s prejudice.

This visit obviously pulls up the misunderstanding to its peak. Jane Austen gives a dramatic twist to the story to heighten the suspense. He settles down the entire issue in an amicable manner. Lydia elopes with Wickham and seems to be destroying and darkening all chances of Elizabeth’s marriage to Darcy. Act five witnesses the final resolution. In hour of great crisis.rejected bluntly. However. which stretches from chapter twenty-seven to chapter fortyone is also of great dramatic significance. .e. Darcy again proposes and is gratefully accepted. Elizabeth pays a visit at Lady Catherine’s estate. the novel ends with the ringing of marriage bells. Act three. when everything seems to be moving towards a happy union. Darcy acts in the most sensible manner and confirms the truth of his newly acquired nobility and gallantry i. both from the view of the development of themes and characters. Her realization also confirms her gaining of self-knowledge. Mr. self-knowledge. Wickham aggravates the situation with his fibs and in resultant gives a further fillip to Elizabeth’s prejudice. The act ends with some ray of hope of a bright future. Elizabeth feels sorry for her past behaviour. Darcy proposes her but is rejected. This is how. This is how Jane Austen opens up and exploits the dramatic conflict. Act four highlights on releasing of tension and misunderstanding between Darcy and Elizabeth. Her visit to Pemberly goes a long way in softening her heart towards Darcy. She gets an opportunity to see both Wickham and Darcy in a better perspective. Like a typical Shakespearean romantic comedy. He marries Charlotte goes back to Hunsford to prepare for Elizabeth’s visit there.

denouement of a full-fledged drama. The novel observes unity of action. There is perfect correspondence between action. repentance and self-knowledge. themes and characterization of Pride and Prejudice. all the five acts show step-by-step development of the theme of love and marriage. Above all. The various themes of love. education and selfknowledge are carried through with clear-cut moral messages that the novel serves reformatory function of a true comedy. Jane Austen’s dramatic method is also fairly clear from her moral concerns. climax. which is the hallmark of a dramatic plot. Jane Austen’s art of characterization is over whelming dramatic. action. e. The leading dramatic techniques of characterization. marriage. are depiction through. The blends of wit and drama can be seen in the structure. Jane Austen’s genius like that of Shakespeare and Browning is essentially dramatic. dialogue. Mansfield Park and Emma. characters and theme. conflicting ideas and emotions are at war with each other in the minds of both Darcy and Elizabeth and which in their turn.“Pride and Prejudice” exhibits all the four major phases’ exposition.g. bring to them realization. conflict. _ Realism _ Dialogue _ Comparison and Contrast. _ Conflict _ Irony _ Pen Picture _ Detachment and objectivity: _ Flat and round characters _ Action _ Individual and type . which Jane Austen has successfully employed in “Pride and Prejudice”. Besides. It remains to be noted that dramatic conflict is not only external but internal too.

_ Economy and precision. .