Notes on Pride and Prejudice

Questions / answers from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Discuss “Pride and Prejudice” as Jane Austen’s world on “two inches of ivory”.  


                                           Or  

“The world of Jane Austen is a limited world”. Illustrate with reference to “Pride and  Prejudice”.  

Ans.

Jane Austen wrote about her works to her nephew James Edward Austen on Monday 16th December in 1816 as; “That little but(two inches wide) of ivory in which I work with so fine a brush as produce little effect after much labour.”  


              Austin was a daughter of a country clergyman.she has very less exposure to the world except short visits to London and a few years study at Bath. Hence the world she experienced was very small. In a letter to her nice Jane Austen wrote; “There are four families in a country village is the very thing to work on”  


              These three or four families are the kind she knew intimately__the landed gentry,the upper classes,the lower edge of the nobility,the lower clergy,the officer crops of the military.The novels including ‘Pride and Prejudice’excludes the lower classes,not only the industrial masses of the big cities, but also the agricultural labourers who must have been numerous around Meryton and Longbourn.she hardly touches the aristocracy like Lady Catherine de Bourgh. The Bennets, the Lucases, the Bingleys and Darcy all belong to the class of landed country gentry, with the Bennets and the Lucases at the lower end of it and the Bingleys and Darcy with their personal fortune at the higher end of it.  


              The range of her novel is limited by her own circumstances, her own sex, and her position in the society. She confines her characters within the four walls of the drawing room or hall. Edward Fitzgerald states ;  


              “She never goes out of the parlour”.  


              All of her six novels have many incidents, places which are closely related within her life. Her novel'Emma' is set in the fictional country village of Highbury and the surrounding estates of Hartfield, Randall’s and Downwell Abbey and involves the relationship among people from a small number of families.Her another novel 'Sense and Sensibility' sets in London and the action takes place in Norland Park, Barton Park,and Cleveland.The story of the novel revolves around Netherfield Park, longbourn,Hunsford personage, Meryton and Pemberley.  


              But there is no reference to nature itself. Although the description of nature at pemberley is brief and fairly generalized.  Actually Jane Austen keeps her characters imprisoned indoors. The theme of her novels are limited to love and marriage. It was the period of the American war of Independence, of the France Revolution and of the Napoleonic wars. But her characters are blissfully unaware of these tumultuous events. The only relevance of the militia in a Jane Austen novel is its ability to provide girls with handsome military officers to flirt with and if possible to marry-  Wickham and other military officers in Meryton in ‘Pride and Prejudice' serves as object for flirtation for Lydia and Kitty the younger Bannet girls.


 There is no discussion of spiritual or   metaphorical issues, there is no ‘mantalk’ or description of male sports like hunting. Actually Jane Austen limited her work by 'feminization' of her novels. The setting of novels are the drawing rooms, ball rooms, parks and gardens of a civilized leisure class.Within her limited theme and subject matter,her novels are described all things neatly.Her plot constructions are perfect.On her two inches of ivory, Jane Austen carves with a miniature delicacy to  present a polished and refined work of art. 



 Justify the title ‘ Pride and Prejudice ‘of Jane Austen’s novel.   


                                              Or  


              To say that Darcy is Proud and Elizabeth Prejudice is to tell but half the story. Discuss.   

Ans-  

Pride and Prejudice was first written in 1797 under the title First Impression. It was a later revised and published under the title Pride and Prejudice in 1813. In the novel we see  that Mr. Darcy embodies Pride. When he first appears in the novel he is declared a ‘ the proudest, most disagreeable man in the world. ‘ Wickham tells Elizabeth that Darcy’s Pride is basically ‘fifial Pride ‘, his pride in his father and ‘ brotherly pride ‘ his pride in sister,  Georgiana. Darcy’s pride irritates Elizabeth when he rejected a suggestion by Bingley to dance with her. He rudely remarks, “She is not handsome enough to tempt me". This let to Elizabeth’s prejudice against him and she reveals before Charlotte that she is resolved to  hate Darcy. While Darcy’s pride blinds, it is Elizabeth’s prejudice that clouds her judgment. 

              Elizabeth is so blind in her prejudices that she didn’t realize the impropriety of Wickham’s statement about Darcy.   


Darcy’s pride piques Elizabeth and her prejudices stems from her feeling that he is all pride. Having been prejudiced against him by his refusal to dance with her, she wilfully misinterprets all his ulferances, all his actions. Her prejudice clouds her usually clear judgment she listens to Wickham’s biased and she declares Darcy to be ‘abominable'. Blinded by prejudice she rejects his proposal. This rejection realizes him the futility of his proud. He feels that something must be wrong with his values. His excessive love for  Elizabeth is what cures Darcy of his pride. At Rosings, Darcy is embarrassed by the vulgarity of his aunt Lady Catherine and realized that refinement of manners is no monopoly of the elite, nor their depravity the bone of the law.   


Elizabeth’s prejudice is neutralized by the revelation of Darcy’s character on receipt of his letter. Learning the truth about Wickham, she realizes her own blindness and prejudice in having judged Darcy and Wickham on mere first impressions. It is Darcy’s letter which acts as an eye opener for her and she understands his objections to the Jane – Bingley marriage. 

              She is ashamed for being “blind, partial, prejudiced, absurd, “ She is now prepared to change her opinions. The role played by Darcy in the materializing Lydia’s marriage with Wickham completely overwhelms Elizabeth. The Lydia – Wickham episode proves that Darcy has shed his pride fully and have all good qualities for his brother – in- law the man he most despises. Elizabeth’s recognition that Darcy was the kind of man, who would most suit her, indicates that her initial prejudice against him is over. It is now time for them to marry.   


              Pride and Prejudice does not exist only in Darcy and Elizabeth but there are many minor characters who has pride and prejudice. In sum, the title “Pride and Prejudice “every aptly points to the theme of the novel. At the end, the two protagonist struggled to put down their pride and get rid of their prejudice. The novel makes clear the fact that Darcy’s pride leads to prejudice and Elizabeth’s prejudice stems from a pride in her own perceptions. In a nut she’ll, the appropriateness of the title, pride and prejudice is indeed unquestionable and it bears immense significance to the plot.   


             

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