“Pride and Prejudice” book by Jane Austin — review
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife”(pg.1). This first sentence of book “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austin, is probably one of the most famous phrases in all British comedies concerning social issues. The story line goes about the matters surrounding marriage in 19th century.
Elizabeth Bennet is the main character of the book “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austin. She is twenty-one years old, has a quick mind, sharp wit and keen sense of justice. Her father, Mr. Bennet, spends most of his time in his library hiding from the rest of his family. Mrs. Bennet is determined to see all her daughters in good marriages, to be well supported for the rest of their lives. The family estate of the Bennets is entitled to Mr. Collins, a not very bright clergyman, so Mrs. Bennet pushes Elizabeth to marry Mr. Collins. But she rejects Mr. Collins and he eventually marries Charlotte, Elizabeth’s best friend. Mrs Bennet’s hopes are, however, raised by the arrival in the district of a wealthy young man, Mr Bingley, and his handsome but proud friend, Mr Darcy, to whom Elizabeth immediately takes a dislike. Elizabeth adores Mr. Wickham, whose side she takes in his fight with Mr. Darcy. Meanwhile Mr. Darcy falls in love with Elizabeth. After some time Wickham seduces Elizabeth’s youngest sister, and Mr. Darcy rescues the situation. Soon enough Elizabeth realizes her love to Mr. Darcy and they get married.
The book story is a deep analysis of characters. Every character is finely crafted, generally to contrast with others, and demonstrates a point about the social niceties of love and marriage. Charlotte, Elizabeth’s best friend, is a very practical woman. She marries Mr Collins to ensure herself a happy and comfortable life. As a result, Elizabeth comes to a much dimmer view of her. It’s debatable whether this is an example of Elizabeth’s prejudice or Charlotte’s lack of passion. Frequently Elizabeth is blinded by her own prejudice, particularly her prejudice against Mr. Darcy’s pride, from where the title of the novel comes.
Our close meeting with Mr. Collins happens when he proposes Elizabeth. From the very start this proposal was nothing but a good business deal for himself and for Elizabeth’s mother. The reader gets the impression that Mr. Collins is a stupid man, and has no idea how to treat a lady with respect. He comes across as selfish because he talks of no feelings of love for her. While asking Elizabeth for her hand in marriage, he also insults her. Mr. Collins proposal is orderly and planned and is more like an act rather than spontaneous.
Another thing showing that Mr. Collins assumes Elizabeth will accept his proposal is that he says “it is usual with young ladies to reject the addresses of the man whom they secretly mean to accept, when he first applies for their favor; and sometimes the refusal is repeated a second or even a third time. I am therefore by no means discouraged by what you have just said, and shall hope to lead you to the altar ere long.” (pg. 87) This shows his parochial nature combined with a huge ego that does not let him to understand the situation correctly.
What he understands well, is his beneficial financial position, this advantage he abuses to get Elizabeth. Afterwards when he realizes that he was rejected, he can’t handle their temper and burst out to judge arbitrarily to others, trying to slander Elizabeth’s reputation in the community.
Overall, the book “Pride and Prejudice” is a well built analysis of characters and their behaviors. Undoubtedly, it is a great literary piece, very valuable as an encyclopedia on social issues of 19th century. Social aspects, as well as, the psychological portraits of the characters can be easily applied in the contemporary world. Therefore, the book could not be viewed as if it were merely a historical work, but also as an educational guide on social dilemmas.
You can download free EPUB book “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austin –>here.