Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen: Explain the idea of 'pride' and 'prejudice' in the novel.

Essay by socka_champignonHigh School, 10th grade June 2005

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Explain/ Define the idea of 'pride' and 'prejudice' as they are used in the novel. Are they always negative characteristics? How does Jane use these character traits to define her characters and to show their development?

Pride and prejudice are very important characteristics in Jane Austin's novel, 'Pride and Prejudice'. The characters are drawn by these characteristics, the society is built upon them, and they often spur the events and provide reason for the complications in the novel. The novel is mostly about a woman (Elizabeth) getting over prejudices, and a man (Darcy) letting go of his pride. These characteristics, although seeming both negative, are actually quite practical and in some cases, quite positive.

Pride is a broad noun covering everything from self-respect to vanity. In this novel, the two proudest characters are of course Darcy and Elizabeth. Elizabeth's prejudice towards Darcy begins because he hurt her pride, and Darcy's proud mannerisms continued to create more prejudices against him.

Darcy's pride, in this instance, is seen as a negative trait, but pride is not always a bad thing. Pride, in smaller quantities, can give you self-confidence and self-respect, and allow you to be a happier person. Elizabeth felt that if you were of a higher class, then you deserved to be proud and perhaps colder to those below you. It is only when pride turns into vanity or arrogance, or when your pride start to negatively affect others, that it is seen as a negative trait.

Prejudice is a much more complicated idea. The concept of judging someone before you actually know them seems unfair and quite a negative concept. But sometimes this prejudice can save time. When you meet a group of people, most people find someone who looks friendly to talk to. If you got to...