Escaping the fog of "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen

Essay by Asit GoswamiCollege, UndergraduateB, February 1997

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The words of the title of Jane Austen's novel, Pride and Prejudice, shroud the main characters, Elizabeth and Darcy in a fog. The plot of the novel focuses on how Elizabeth and Darcy escape the fog and find each other. Both characters must individually recognize their faults and purge them. At the beginning of the novel, it seems as if the two will never be able to escape the thick fog. The scene at the Netherfield ball makes the marriage of Elizabeth and Darcy much more climactic because the pride and prejudice of both increases greatly during the night.

The Netherfield ball is the first time Darcy and Elizabeth dance. When Darcy asks Elizabeth she is so surprised and confused that she says yes to a man who she is determined to hate. At the Meryton ball she had quickly made a sketch of Darcy's character. Compared to Jane who 'never [sees] a fault in any body' (11), she doesn't believe only the best in everyone.

She is usually right about people. From simply hearing Mr. Collins' letter, she asks if he is a sensible man, which he proves not to be. She is precisely perceptive of everyone except Wikham and Darcy.

At the Meryton ball, Darcy is very reserved. He refuses to dance with Elizabeth when Bingley asks him to, saying that Elizabeth is not handsome enough to tempt him. Elizabeth's pride is hurt and she characterizes Darcy as disagreeable and proud. When Elizabeth first meets Wikham, she is blinded by her prejudice of Darcy as she accepts everything harmful Wikham has to say of Darcy. The plot of the rest of the book revolves around Elizabeth discovering the true nature of both Darcy and Wikham. At the Netherfield ball, it seems this will never happen. From the...