Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Essay by sophia_lispectator June 2005

download word file, 5 pages 4.5

The opening sentence of "Pride and Prejudice" puts the reader in good mood: «It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife." It sets the tone as generally humorous as it remains unaltered until the last page. All of Jane Austen's novels are entertaining: she was talented for narration to such an extent that she could allow herself to have nothing very much happening in her books and still keep her readers interested from the beginning to the end. "Pride and Prejudice" is well a constructed book. The incidents flow naturally. She starts at the beginning with a family with five daughters to marry and without flesh backs or abrupt flights follows her characters to the happy end i.e. marriage. This propensity for happy marriages and novels ending in weddings has often been pointed out as a fault but in the days when Jane Austen lived marriage was the only career a woman could pursue and it was only natural that it should be a matter of her interest.

She has also often been criticized for writing about the same subject and same kind of people. It is true that there is a uniformity in her characters. However, this is nothing to be wondered at. Jane Austen wrote about the things that interested her and the kind of people she knew. Hence, there was not a lot of room for variation. There is a lot of girl talk, women talking to men, but she never tries to reproduce the way men speak to other men when they are alone. She knew nothing of that. As for social strata, she wrote about the kind of people she was familiar with: middle and upper...