Audrey LinMs. TobinEnglish II Honors12 January 2018Book Review – Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice, a literature classic by European author Jane Austen, holds true to its 1800’s classic style, but is in no way dull. Sharp-tongued and unyielding Elizabeth Bennet lives with her mother, father, and four sisters in the English countryside. She feels the pressure to marry as the second eldest sister, next to Jane Bennet, while living in a world where marrying a rich man is the best thing a girl can do. When Mr. Bingley, a rich neighbor, takes a liking to Jane, he introduces Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy, a prideful and wealthy young man. From the very beginning, their relationship is mostly spiteful, some love. Darcy’s pride is built upon social prejudice, as the Bennets are of lower class and poorer, while Elizabeth’s initial prejudice was due to a first impression preconception. As the book and characters develop, both begin to fall for each other as their prejudice against each other begins to fade away. Jane Austen captivates your attention with sharp, stubborn, and nonconformist Elizabeth Bennet, who (among other characters) add in the comedy that is needed in the usual strict and stale writing style. She has a romantic touch in her writing, with quotes such as “He had done all this for a girl whom he could neither regard nor esteem. Her heart did whisper, that he had done it for her” (Austen 308). Each of her characters has their own unique voice and way of speaking that drags the reader into the book and makes it feel like reality. Elizabeth brings out her wit everytime she speaks, with quotes such as “Stupid men are the only ones worth knowing” (Austen 152) that will definitely bring a smile to your face. On the more serious side, Jane Austen does delve into the deeper meaning of things when saying “Angry people are not always wise” (Austen 259) and “Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously” (Austen 21). All lot of the actions that Elizabeth Bennet does, we do every day. Jane Austen helps the reader connect with the characters a lot more, for example, “My dear Lizzy, do not give way to such feelings as these.They will ruin your happiness” (Austen 133). In everyday life, we often over think many things and negative feelings, and this book reminds you not to, and that in doing so, we are ruining our happiness and tiring ourselves out. When starting to read this, I had felt like I made a bad choice when choosing a book to read. The first volume (24 chapters) dragged on without romance or character development. From chapter 3, “He was the proudest, most disagreeable man in the world, and every body hoped that he would never come there again” (Austen 12) to chapter 18, “‘What is Mr. Darcy to me, pray, that I should be afraid of him? I am sure we owe him no such particular civility as to be obliged to say nothing he may not like to hear'” (Austen 125), Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy stay stale and static.Yet, as the book progressed into the second half, the story starts to move faster, with marriage proposals, eloping, and grand declarations of love. This is not the only problem with Pride and Prejudice, either. This novel was written around 1820; thus, English is different and harder to understand than the common young adult novels a teen may read today. Difficult English, wordy, run-on sentences will require patience and focus to understand what Jane Austen is trying to understand. For example, “The gentlemen pronounced him to be a fine figure of a man, the ladies declared he was much handsomer than Mr. Bingley, and he was looked at with great admiration for about half the evening, till his manners gave a disgust which turned the tide of his popularity; for he was discovered to be proud, to be above his company, and above being pleased; and not all his large estate in Derbyshire could then save him from having a most forbidding countenance, and being unworthy to be compared to his friend” (Austen 13). This whole quote is a massive, awkward, wordy, run-on, which could’ve separated into two or three sentences to clarify. Why were his manners disgusting? How was he “discovered to be proud”? What is the “most forbidding countenance”? Although Jane Austen is one of the most well-known and best authors of history, there are many times where an extensive vocabulary and a large amount of dedication is needed to understand and digest. A large, encompassing theme of Pride and Prejudice is that pride and prejudice, although in some cases may be good, can cause pain and figurative blindness. Elizabeth Bennet’s prideful and quick misjudging of Mr. Darcy and Mr. Wickham caused her much heartache. She hastily judged Mr. Darcy to be despicable because he is more reserved and standoffish, compared to Mr. Wickham who is more amicable and friendly. This fools everyone and Elizabeth believes anything he says without question. However, she realizes that her judgments are erred when she reads Mr. Darcy’s letter that explains the truth of his history with Wickham, which exposes Wickham to be a liar. She realizes this herself, “‘How despicably I have acted!’ she cried; ‘I, who have prided myself on my discernment! I, who have valued myself on my abilities!’… ‘Had I been in love, I could not have been more wretchedly blind!'” (Austen 202). One must remember that Mr. Darcy was not the evil, despicable man he was made out to be – the view given to us was largely formed on Elizabeth’s prejudice and his reputation for being proud. The reader realizes this by Mr. Darcy’s housekeeper’s comments when she said: “… some people may call him proud, I have seen nothing of it” (Austen 246). However, Darcy has also been proven guilty, as he has shown to look down on others simply because of their class. “Mr. Darcy had at first scarcely allowed her to be pretty; he had looked at her without admiration at the ball; and when they next met, he looked at her only to criticise” (Austen 28). His initial prejudice clouds his ability to truly see Elizabeth and prevents the connection. However, once he looks past the social class difference, he falls in love with her. Jane Austen uses Elizabeth’s and Mr. Darcy’s pride and prejudice against each other to show the issues it can cause, and what could happen if prejudices are removed from the society. In the time that Jane Austen wrote the book, marriage was a business deal. Meaning? It was for money, and love had no part in it. However, Austen did not believe in this and was rather ahead of her time in her philosophy that marriage was not about money, but rather love. She tried to show the women, and some men, that marriage can be about love. Her use of satire in the first sentence of the novel tips the reader off to her point. “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife” (Austen 5). A more accurate statement would be that a poor single woman must be in want of a husband. Her satire shines and shows her thoughts on marriage. Another purpose was to bring questions to young women who read her books. In 1813, people were still getting used to the fact that there could be female authors, much less an outspoken, stubborn, female protagonist like Elizabeth Bennet. Reading about a character who is like them may make young women wonder, “Why are we expected to marry for money? Does our own happiness not matter? Why are we supposed to be quiet and reserved?”. In the end, there is a reason why Pride and Prejudice is one of the most well-known literature pieces of all time. It is not the typical, stale, 1800’s book. Jane Austen’s relatable characters, satire, and valuable lessons make this literary classic a must-read.