Critical Reading of Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice"

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Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice is a complex novel that relates the events surrounding the relations, lives, and loves of a middle-upper class English family in the late nineteenth century. Because of the detailed descriptions of the events surrounding the life of the main character of the story, Elizabeth Bennet, Pride and Prejudice is a very involving novel whose title is very indicative of the themes contained therein.

The first volume opens in the Bennet household at Longbourn in England. As there are five unmarried daughters living in the home at the time, the matron of the family, Mrs. Bennet, is quite interested when news of a wealthy man moving to Netherfield, a place in the near vicinity. Mrs. Bennet, in the best interest of her daughters, soon after begins urging her husband to meet with the newly arrived neighbor, a Mr. Bingley, but he is quite reluctant to do so.

Soon after, Mr. Bennet surprises his daughters and his wife by announcing that he had visited Netherfield and found Bingley to be 'quite agreeable.' The interest of the Bennet daughters arises when they learn that certain members of the Bingley party will be in attendance at an upcoming ball in Meryton. At the ball, acquaintances between the families are made, and all find both Mr. Bingley and his cousin Fitzwilliam Darcy to be exceedingly handsome, however Darcy's pride is so irritating and repulsive, it makes his character almost totally disagreeable. It is at this ball, however, that the oldest Bennet daughter, Jane, becomes involved with Mr. Bennet; her younger sister Elizabeth, however, falls victim to Mr. Darcy's pride and is shunned by him during the entire ball. Beginning with this event, Elizabeth forms a prejudice towards Mr. Darcy that will prevent her future involvement with him. It is...