Pride and Prejudice
Although first published almost 200 years ago, the novels of Jane Austen have retained their popularity around the world.?It is not difficult to find the reasons for their enduring appeal. Austen wrote about universal themes, such as the joy and pain of love, the pursuit of happiness, and the need to be accepted by society.?
Jane Austen was born in 1775 in a rural part of southern England. She and her family were al avid readers. They even read novels, which were often looked down on during that time.?Jane began writing before her teens, and had completed a history book by the time she was sixteen.
The six romantic novels that Austen wrote before her death in 1817 are still widely read.?Her first novel published was “Sense and Sensibility” in 1811, but her best-known work, “Pride and Prejudice,” was written around fifteen years earlier. Although originally rejected for publication, the novel, and its intelligent heroine, have come to hold a place among the great classics of English literature. ?
“Pride and Prejudice” tells the story of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, a somewhat absurd couple, and their five young, unmarried daughters.?The plot revolves mainly around the second daughter, Elizabeth, and her troublesome romance with the wealthy but arrogant Mr. Darcy. Mr. Darcy represents the pride of the novel’s title, while the prejudice is represented by Elizabeth’s attitude toward Mr. Darcy. In the novel, Elizabeth must overcome her prejudice against him before she can fall in love.
Elizabeth’s romance with Mr. Darcy parallels that of her older sister Jane with his friend, Charles Bingley. Jane’s relationship starts off much more smoothly, and survives the efforts of Bingley’s unpleasant sister, Caroline, to break it up. Other significant subplots include the adventures of Lydia, the youngest Bennet daughter. She brings disgrace on the family by running away with a man named Wickham.
Everything ends well, of course. Even Wickham ends up doing the honorable thing and marrying Lydia. Jane and Charles get married. So do Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, once he has overcome his dislike of the Bennet family’s strange ways, and she has seen the decent man behind the pride.?
“I must confess that I think her as delightful a character as ever appeared in print, and how I shall be able to tolerate those who do not like her at least, I do not know.”?In the flowery language of the early 19th century, that was how Jane Austen described her character Elizabeth Bennet in a letter to a friend.?
Jane Austen need not have feared.?Elizabeth has probably attracted more sympathy and admiration than any other of the author’s characters, male or female.?She is a lively, quick -witted young woman with a strong sense of justice and a natural goodness that have widespread appeal.
One of the most interesting moments in “Pride and Prejudice” comes when Elizabeth reluctantly visits Darcy’s home, and perceives the high respect in which he is held by everyone around him. It is the turning point of the story, when she begins to see beyond Darcy’s pride and develop real feelings for him. It also shows Jane Austen’s skill at dealing with complex emotions and timeless themes in her deceptively simple stories.