The essay is an in depth analysis of themes in the novel Pride and Prejudice. Themes are generally the central ideas of a piece or art be it a book, drawing, film or poems. Usually themes are developed through various ways among them through characters. The novel Pride and Prejudice was written by Austen Jane back in 1813. Generally, the story is told of a Bennet Elizabeth going through a number of issues in life for instance education, marriage among others. The major style used by the author is narrative technique of free indirect speech. Through the various ways of presenting her ideas, readers are able to identify several themes including love reputation, class, and environment playing a part in child upbringing, marriage to mention but a few (Pat 121).
Theme of love
Austen Jane has been hailed to have written the most cherish literature in regards to love; this can be seen in the courtship of Elizabeth and Darcy. For the two to realize their love, there were numerous things that blocked such desires. The theme of love is depicted to be hand in hand with marriage. It is worth noting that at the opening of the novel, the author says, “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife” (Austen Chapter 1). It is worth noting that during the times of the author marriage was an issue in the society and it is deemed this is what influenced her to write it up in this novel.
It is evident that one of the stumbling block was characters’ own qualities, for instance, Elizabeth was proud making her misjudge Darcy as being unfriendly while the later misjudges the former for coming from a poor background. Apparently, the author makes the reader understand that for individuals to realize and capture love, then there is need for both partners to come out of the wrapping effect of social class (Tanvir par. 4). Austen through Elizabeth and Darcy as well as other characters make it evident that true love is what dictates the separation of individuals and the society conquering all the predominant barriers.
Additionally, readers also become aware of fake love. This is where characters engage in a marriage relationship for the sake of wealth. This is exemplified by what Lucas Charlotte said of their marriage with Mr. Collin, “I am not romantic you know, I never was, I ask only a comfortable home, and considering Mr. Collin’ character, connections and situation in life, I am convinced that my chance of happiness with him is as fairâ€¦” (Austen Chapter 22)
Theme of class and economic inequality
In the novel, the line between those who have and those who have not are clearly drawn. This is a clear reflection of what was happening in England at the time. Although the Bennet middle class family, they possibly mingled with their counter-parts in upper class. Nonetheless, it is evident that they felt inferior and were indeed treated as such. The issue of class consciousness is shown when Mr. Collins takes most of his time bootlicking those in the upper class- Lady Catherine. Similarly, Darcy is of the opinion that his lineage of dignity to him, on the same line Miss Bingley hates those that are not socially acceptable to her (Pat 45). Individuals also strive to climb the social ladder as shown by Wickham who is ready to go in doing extra ordinary things to acquire social class. However, the novel in a succinct manner proves that through marriage, love as well as happiness brought about by it breaks the chains of social class.
There are clear evidences that economic inequality facing women at the time forced them to marry partners that were undesirable so to speak so that they could gain financial security. A typical example of such marriage was between Collin and Lucas Charlotte who was ready to even mess with her own life but be with a rich man who could fulfill her financial needs. This is condemned by the author. It is also financial inequality that makes Mrs. Bennet to arrange suitors to her daughters and one of her daughters, Elizabeth says of her sister Jane, “If Jane should die, it would be comfort to know that it was all in pursuit of Mr. Bingley” (Austen Chapter 7).
Theme of morality and reputation
In the novel the authors makes it very clear that the reputation especially of a woman count a lot. There are certain ways women are to carry themselves and if they go astray then they are bound to ostracism/exclusion. This is summarized Mary, “Loss of virtue in a female is irretrievable; that one false step involves her in endless ruin; that her reputation is no less brittle than it is beautiful; and that she cannot be too much guarded in her behavior towards the undeserving of the other sex” (Austen Chapter 47)
This is exemplified by various female characters. For instance, when Mrs. Bennet behaved in an ill-manner towards Darcy and Bingleys, similarly, the scenario where Elizabeth went to Netherfield and meet Miss Bingley and her friend in a dirty skirt tarnished her reputation. The step taken by Lydia to elope with Wickham then walks away without getting married places her in an ill position in the society (Lombardi par. 2). This might also negatively impact on her sisters as it threatens their quest of finding husbands and might remain unmarried for the rest of their lives.
Theme of intellectual pride
The book revolves around pride as the characters of the [people is built along this. This is so pronounced in the novel where Darcy alienates himself from other people due to pride. This is seen where he acted so snobbishly with lot f superiority when they encountered for the first time on the ball with Benet leading to them being turned off. In his loving of Elizabeth, Darcy acted so proudly to a point whereby, Elizabeth was disgusted due to his behavior leading her to despise him so much. We see him debasing Elizabeth family so much even after proposing to her for marriage. Nevertheless, to ensure that he wins her love back and marry her, Darcy had to look at her life once again and change her intense pride to ensure that he makes her happy (Catherine, 2005).
In addition, there is the intellectual pride that is portrayed by Mr. Benet to Mary who is the sister that he likes mocking around. In the novel Benet makes mockery of Mary by talking to her and saying, “what say you Mary? For you are a young lady of deep reflection I know, and read great books, and makes extracts.” At this point, Mary felt that that was a mockery and felt that she should say something but held her breath knowing that it was not the right time to say it. Out of his pride, he never let Mary to adjust her ideas to respond to him, but suggested that they should go back to Mr. Bigley.
Catherine De Bough is seen to be so proud of her elf due to the social status that she is in. she is seen to base her pride in the wealth and the privileges that the wealth bring along with making her overestimate her ability. Her pride show that she is capable of d0oing anything. According to the novel, her pride is shown through the statement that she makes. She says, “There are few people in England, I suppose, who have more true enjoyment of music than me, or a better natural taste. If I had ever learnt, I should have been a great proficient.” That mere pride is not supported by any aspect of her life. Otherwise, no matter the wealth that she has and privileges that the wealth bring along her way, it does not mean that she is capable of doing everything.
Her pride is able to drift her to think that her feelings are the only important one. She talks rudely with little or no conscious that she is doing so. She said that, “I have told Miss Bennet several times, that she will never play really well, unless she practices more; and though Mrs. Collins has no instrument, she is very welcome, as I have often told her, to come to Rosings every day, and play on the piano forte in Mrs. Jenison’s room. She would be in nobody’s way, you know, in that part of the house,” (Austen, chapter 35). This showa the level that the Mrs. Catherine had due to the status she had to an extent of the pride being so rooted in her that even by making insensible statement she does not realize she is rude.
Theme of prejudice
Prejudice has also been very rampant in this book where several people undermine others mostly due to their education and economic status. According to the novel, Elizabeth had some prejudice issues to deal with. Darcy who economically was stable but was constantly hurt by the issue of his prejudice by undermining her family loved her. It took time for Elizabeth to overcome her lover’s prejudices that were always followed with arrogance and snobbery. Elizabeth is portrayed to be very caring and she was hated the things that Darcy said about her family that seemed to be so belittling (Catherine, 2005).
The following conversation show the level at which prejudice has been heighted by especially Darcy in the way he gives his regards towards Jane Bennet according to Austen chapter 8, he says;
“”I have an excessive regard for Jane Bennet, she is really a very sweet girl, and I wish with all my heart she were well settled. But with such a father and mother, and such low connections, I am afraid there is no chance of it.”
“I think I have heard you say, that their uncle is an attorney in Meryton.”
“Yes; and they have another, who lives somewhere near Cheapside.”
“That is capital,” added her sister, and they both laughed heartily.
“If they had uncles enough to fill all Cheapside,” cried Bingley, “it would not make them one jot less agreeable.”
“But it must very materially lessen their chance of marrying men of any consideration in the world,” replied Darcy.
This conversation shows the level of the prejudice that Darcy had for the lower class people. According to him, the idea of living in Cheapside and Meryton was because of inferiority of the economic status. They really hold them with very low regard.
The novel has various themes according to the way various readers are able to disseminate the idea that the writer had in mind. Depending with the way the plot has been developed and the conversation that the characters have involved in, the above themes, which are love and marriage, pride, prejudice, social class, and economic inequality and reputation are the most conspicuous through the novel. They may be intertwined but excerpt have been critically examined to get the different meaning, thus diverse themes developed.
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