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1 Beaverton Literature- A to Z

Pride and Prejudice

by

Pride and Prejudice Cover

ISBN13: 9780553213102
ISBN10: 0553213105
Condition: Standard
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Excerpt

Chapter One

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.

However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his first entering a neighbourhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families that he is considered as the rightful property of some one or other of their daughters.

"My dear Mr. Bennet," said his lady to him one day, "have you heard that Netherfield Park is let at last?"

Mr. Bennet replied that he had not.

"But it is," returned she; "for Mrs. Long has just been here, and she told me all about it."

Mr. Bennet made no answer.

"Do not you want to know who has taken it?" cried his wife impatiently. "You want to tell me, and I have no objection to hearing it."

This was invitation enough.

"Why, my dear, you must know, Mrs. Long says that Netherfield is taken by a young man of large fortune from the north of England; that he came down on Monday in a chaise and four to see the place, and was so much delighted with it that he agreed with Mr. Morris immediately; that he is to take possession before Michaelmas, and some of his servants are to be in the house by the end of next week."

"What is his name?"

"Bingley."

"Is he married or single?"

"Oh! single, my dear, to be sure! A single man of large fortune; four or five thousand a year. What a fine thing for our girls!"

"How so? How can it affect them?"

"My dear Mr. Bennet," replied his wife, "how can you be so tiresome! You must know that I am thinking of his marrying one of them."

"Is that his design in settling here?"

"Design! nonsense, how can you talk so! But it is very likely that he may fall in love with one of them, and therefore you must visit him as soon as he comes."

"I see no occasion for that. You and the girls may go, or you may send them by themselves, which perhaps will be still better, for as you are as handsome as any of them, Mr. Bingley might like you the best of the party."

"My dear, you flatter me. I certainly have had my share of beauty, but I do not pretend to be anything extraordinary now. When a woman has five grown-up daughters, she ought to give over thinking of her own beauty."

"In such cases, a woman has not often much beauty to think of."

"But, my dear, you must indeed go and see Mr. Bingley when he comes into the neighbourhood."

"It is more than I engage for, I assure you."

"But consider your daughters. Only think what an establishment it would be for one of them. Sir William and Lady Lucas are determined to go, merely on that account, for in general you know they visit no newcomers. Indeed you must go, for it will be impossible for us to visit him if you do not."

"You are over scrupulous surely. I dare say Mr. Bingley will be very glad to see you; and I will send a few lines by you to assure him of my hearty consent to his marrying whichever he chooses of the girls; though I must throw in a good word for my little Lizzy."

"I desire you will do no such thing. Lizzy is not a bit better than the others; and I am sure she is not half so handsome as Jane, nor half so good-humoured as Lydia. But you are always giving her the preference."

"They have none of them much to recommend them," replied he; "they are all silly and ignorant like other girls; but Lizzy has something more of quickness than her sisters."

"Mr. Bennet, how can you abuse your own children in such a way? You take delight in vexing me. You have no compassion on my poor nerves."

"You mistake me, my dear. I have a high respect for your nerves. They are my old friends. I have heard you mention them with consideration these twenty years at least."

"Ah! you do not know what I suffer."

"But I hope you will get over it, and live to see many young men of four thousand a year come into the neighbourhood."

"It will be no use to us if twenty such should come since you will not visit them."

"Depend upon it, my dear, that when there are twenty, I will visit them all."

Mr. Bennet was so odd a mixture of quick parts, sarcastic humour, reserve, and caprice, that the experience of three and twenty years had been insufficient to make his wife understand his character. Her mind was less difficult to develop. She was a woman of mean understanding, little information, and uncertain temper. When she was discontented she fancied herself nervous. The business of her life was to get her daughters married; its solace was visiting and news.

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karly, March 30, 2012 (view all comments by karly)
The first thing to note when cracking open a copy of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is that it is a classic with good reason. With descriptive dialogue, bold statements about love and social class, and poetic language, it is hard to dislike Austen’s works. Pride and Prejudice goes far beyond the surface and dives into the messiest subjects of her time that even live on into today’s society. On the surface the novel follows a strong willed girl finding love in the wealthy and proud Mr. Darcy, but her story tackles much greater ideas than just that of love. Jane Austen dared to defy the masculine world of the 1800s with her feminist novels, examining female self-worth and independence.
Jane Austen wrote her books during the early 1800’s, a time which can profess to harboring few female authors, and those that did exist generally wrote under a pseudonym. Austen, on the other hand never concealed her gender through her publications. This fact, plus the very feminist ideas in her novels makes her writing all the more impressive. She faced a “man’s world” with her writings, which exhibited women finding confidence in themselves and their emotions, such as Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice. She loves herself and embraces the fact that she may become an old maid due to her undesirable family and modern ways. She is not afraid to reject proposals of marriage if she feels it is not right. This idea was nearly unspeakable in the times of Austen. The common belief was that a woman should be honored to marry a man, no matter their feelings towards him. This heroic character proved that women who decide to wait to marry for love (or even no one at all) can still have a successful and happy life.
Not only did the novel challenge the way men thought about women, but also the way in which women thought about themselves. No longer do women need to find a man to feel fulfilled or have self-worth. Elizabeth Bennet provides proof that a woman can love herself whether she is single or not. Her character is fine with the fact that others around her find marriage, as well as that it is a very real and probable possibility that she will never find a husband to love. She understands that her family is not entirely desirable but instead of wallowing in grief she still visits friends and family, enjoys her life, and mainly worries only about her sisters. This frame of mind is one that Austen obviously supports, as many of her heroines act similarly. One can learn a lot from enjoying life, and Austen attempts to make the point that once a woman can respect herself enough to, say, stand up to Lady Catherine de Bourgh by saying, “I am only resolved to act in a manner, which will, in my opinion constitute my happiness, without reference to you or any person so wholly unconnected with me,” (332) she really can pursue her own contentment. Elizabeth obviously respects herself and her happiness enough to stand up to someone who can ruin her social life forever. The modern idea that happiness and social status are not connected was highly uncommon, just proving how revolutionary some of Austen’s plot developments really were.
It was these exact ideas that made me love Pride and Prejudice so much. Austen dared to go where few other authors had gone before, and she pulled it off brilliantly. She used her signature poetic language and strong, blatant dialogue to create a world of social class struggles and conflicted lovers. The lack of symbolism or great amounts of descriptive language allow the reader to focus mainly on the plot developments, which harbor the most controversial and modern ideas in her novel. She achieved her goal by creating what appears to be a typical romance that unfolds into a beautiful story of a woman respecting herself, a lesson that many people could learn even today. The book bravely suggests that women have a role in future societies, not just as housewives and mothers, but as independent and strong human beings. The fact that Austen wrote this novel to be so applicable in the 1800s is impressive. What is more impressive is that the ideas live on even in the 21st century where many women struggle to love a man before they love themselves. They don’t need to marry to be happy, nor must they bow down to the upper classes. When they achieve this, they can truly find happiness. Overall, the novel proved to me that when a woman loves herself, she can find love in others, no matter their social standings. When one forgets about money and social status, she may focus on her own happiness and this, I think, is one of the most important lessons one can learn.
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drrb07, January 25, 2010 (view all comments by drrb07)
Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice
Comments by Dr. Ratan Bhattacharjee

Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice is basically a novel about the female dreams for a good home as well as for a good house. It is not love that the girls of the Bennet family desires for , but marriage that will provide them security. Elizabeth Bennet the most dignified of the Bennet girls is no exception. She is also fascinated by the palatial establishment of Darcy. The novel should have been entitled First Impressions which Jane Austen chose earlier for her novel. It is really astonishing that the novel was written in 1797 and it required nearly 16 years to find a suitable publisher. It got at last published in 1813.The theme of the book is not love but marriage and there are so many marriages depicted. Motifs are however different behind each marriage.The theme of Pride and Prejudice is only manifest through Elizabeth and Darcy. But unlike Sense and sensibility which is a study of opposites with the character traits divided between two sisters, Pride and Prejudice as a novel is more complex and engaging. Pride here leads to prejudice and prejudice invites pride. Finishing the novel one will realise that it is foolish to marry for money and impossible to marry without moeny.

Dr.Ratan Bhattacharjee
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(1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)
Hannah Schroth, March 15, 2008 (view all comments by Hannah Schroth)
There is a reason why this novel is one of Austen's most popular! I loved this book when I first read it in school. It's a book that I can read and reread many times and not be tired of.
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(6 of 13 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780553213102
Author:
Austen, Jane
Publisher:
Bantam Classics
Location:
New York
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Great britain
Subject:
Fiction
Subject:
Classics
Subject:
Novels and novellas
Subject:
British and irish fiction (fictional works by
Subject:
British and irish
Subject:
Young women
Subject:
Sisters
Subject:
Courtship
Subject:
Love stories
Subject:
England Social life and customs.
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Number:
Bantam classic ed.
Edition Description:
Mass market paperback
Series Volume:
unit 1
Publication Date:
19831231
Binding:
MASS MARKET
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
6.80x4.10x.80 in. .40 lbs.

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