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Shvoong Home>Books>Pride and Prejudice Review

Pride and Prejudice

Book Review   by:seraphineshahbaz     Original Author: Jane Austen
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An Abstract to Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice Pride and Prejudice is the greatest work of Jane Austen. It illustrates her greatness as well as her limitations. It takes readers to an abstract idea – the idea of pride in one character and that of prejudice in another. So the novel is primarily concerned with ideas. The characters of Pride and Prejudice show different kinds of humour, various traits of human behaviour. Mr. Bennet is cynic; Lydian a flirt, Mary a pedant; Darcy a proud character; Collins a potential conceit; Sir William Lucas a feeble dullard; and so on. Pride and Prejudice is the love story of a man and a woman and the man being held back by unconquerable pride and the woman blinded by – prejudice. Moreover, Pride and Prejudice is a satire upon life in a small village called Longbourn in Southern English. Pride and Prejudices is the first novel in which the process of the shift of emphasis from persons and things to study of human character, has been complete. The beginning was made in Sense and Sensibility, but it was in Pride and Prejudice that the process was cumulated. This is why F.R Leavis in his book . The Great Tradition has assigned a remarkable place to Pride and Prejudice. Jane Austen is a spectator of characters. She puts men and women in a certain environment and continues to study them in detail, She gives alternative readings of her characters, compares them and ultimately finds out the correct method of approach in human personality. This method has been followed in Pride and Prejudice. There is plenty of contemporary element in the novel. Description of dances, balls and parties is scattered throughout the story. But Jane Austen is not primarily concerned with contemporary England. The key-point in the book is the study of human behaviour Jane Austen is almost like Shakespeare in this respect There is evident exclusion of death, coincidence or destiny. None of the characters dies in the course of the story. Elizabeth, Lydia, Jane , Mary and Catherine - all the Bennet sisters are preoccupied’ with their own personal, domestic problems. None of them is touched by physical agony or ailment. Similar is the case with Darcy, Bingley, Collins or Sir William Lucas. Besides, there is complete absence of mob, or menace of organized society. It is a placed atmosphere of quiet country houses and drawing rooms that we find in the novel from the beginning to the end. Longbourn, Hunsford or Pemberley has no hurry or busy excitement about it. It is the dialogue of the characters, the subtle reflexes of moods and feelings that makes the story full of psychological importance Although Pride and Prejudice begins with a direct reference to the entail of, Longbourn and the fortunes of Bingley amounting to four-five thousand a year, money or wealth occupies only a place of secondary importance in the novel In Pride and Prejudice all characters are exemplars of certain idiosyncrasies of behaviour.
Mr Benner embodies cynicism, while Mrs. Benner “ was a woman of men understanding little information and certain temper.” Darcy embodies pride, while Collins, conceit similarly, all other characters possess those aspects of snobbery which belong to upper classes of society. Thus, the novel has an aura of social satire. Most of the male characters of Pride and Prejudice are male egoists. Her wit is playing all the time round the egoism of the social caste. She admires and derides her characters at the same time. In Pride and Prejudice as well as in other novels of Jane Austen family is the symbol of a larger world. Symbol is a technique of literary art in which the artist has recourse to indirect statement. Instead of the object meant to be expressed, we get that thing with which the object is associated. For instance, ‘lion’ stands for courage, cross for Jesus Christ, ‘ white ‘, forpurity. In Pride and Prejudice family assumes the importance of symbol. The family of Bennets consisting of the father, the mother and five daughters, is the picture of a larger world. Jane Austen does not shirk life. She faces life and the problems of human existence. The choice of family in Sense and Sensibility. Northanger Abbey, Mansfield Park and Pride and Prejudice is deliberate. Jane Austen intends to give the picture of life in miniature. In Pride and Prejudice the Bennets, Darcys, Lucases and a few others are the only families with which Austen is concerned. When an artist represents a large object on a smaller canvas , it is said to be miniature painting. The technique followed by GothicRomances and Waverly novels was different. They presented the entire world at a time. There is an clement of the mock heroic in Pride and Prejudice. After all marriages is a minor affair of life If marriage is not the most important of the problems it is undoubtedly a vital problem of life. The story is how Mr. and Mrs. Bennet who have five daughters, namely Elizbeth, Jane, Mary, Catherine and Lydia, and how Elizbeth, Jane and Lydia are happily united with Darcy. Bingley and Wickham respectively. The novel gives the story of an upper middle class family of 18th century.
Published: November 21, 2007   
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