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Analysis of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Osten
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Pride and Prejudice by Jane Osten.

Jane Osten is a well-known and much-loved English author. Her fans today number in the millions and since the advent of motion pictures, her novels have been turned into film at an almost regular pace. Although only six novels were published, those few works have become the model for true romance stories since the early 1800’s. Today, Jane Osten is as popular as ever and revered as much as any literary figure in history. This site is a testament to her works, her life and her particular understanding of the world she lived in.

One of the most popular Jane Osten’s novels is Pride and Prejudice.

Pride and Prejudice is a humorous story of love and life among English gentility during the Georgian era. Mr Bennet is an English gentleman living in Hartfordshire with his overbearing wife. The Bennets 5 daughters; the beautiful Jane, the clever Elizabeth, the bookish Mary, the immature Kitty and the wild Lydia. Unfortunately for the Bennets, if Mr Bennet dies their house will be inherited by a distant cousin whom they have never met, so the family's future happiness and security is dependent on the daughters making good marriages. Life is uneventful until the arrival in the neighbourhood of the rich gentleman Mr Bingley, who rents a large house so he can spend the summer in the country. Mr Bingley brings with him his sister and the dashing (and richer) but proud Mr Darcy. Love is soon in the air for one of the Bennet sisters, while another may have jumped to a hasty prejudgment. For the Bennet sisters many trials and tribulations stand between them and their happiness, including class, gossip and scandal. 

The main themes of the novel are love, marriage, wealth, society and class.

In Pride and Prejudice, love is not a necessary component of marriage. In fact, most of the marriages we see are not based on love, but instead either on lust that quickly fades or on economic necessity. In this novel, romantic love is a privilege that most people have to do without and something that most people do not expect to find. At the same time, because love is a union between empathetic minds, it is shown to be a completely special emotion that is available only for intelligent, mature adults – it's the crowning achievement in the building of character.

Austen's society placed on marriage as the only possible economic security for women who are not independently wealthy.  By showing us the miserable marriage of the Bennets, and by grossing us out with the mercenary marriages of Charlotte and Lydia, the novel questions a system which places so much importance on this institution that it seems to endanger individual morality and happiness. On the other hand, with the marriages of Jane and Elizabeth front and center, the novel does allow room for good partnership as well.

Wealth is crucially important in Pride and Prejudice, since the general plot revolves around the fact that the five Bennet daughters will have no way of financially supporting themselves once their father dies and their house is handed over to Mr. Collins. There is almost no conversation about potential spouses that doesn't also calculate the annual income that the pair might have to live on. Several characters are even openly gold-diggers when it comes to finding a spouse.

Pride and Prejudice upholds reasonably conservative views on class. Darcy's character arc is to become the ultimate gentleman – he starts out wealthy, aristocratic, and good-hearted, and learns to add good manners and sociability to the mix. Conversely, although Wickham seems to have the outer polish of an aristocrat, he is proven to be thoroughly ungentlemanly. (And believe it or not, that's one of the more serious insults characters lob at each other in the novel.)  It is the same with the female characters, whose behavior and decorum immediately marks them as either upper or lower class. Although both Jane and Elizabeth cross class lines to get married, the general idea is that they are almost aristocratic already.

The main characters of the novel are Elizabeth Bennet, Charles Bingley, William Darcy and Jane Bennet .

Elizabeth Bennet is the novel’s protagonist. The second daughter of Mr. Bennet, Elizabeth is the most intelligent and sensible of the five Bennet sisters. She is well read and quick-witted, with a tongue that occasionally proves too sharp for her own good. Her realization of Darcy’s essential goodness eventually triumphs over her initial prejudice against him.

William Darcy -  A wealthy gentleman, the master of Pemberley, and the nephew of Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Though Darcy is intelligent and honest, his excess of pride causes him to look down on his social inferiors. Over the course of the novel, he tempers his class-consciousness and learns to admire and love Elizabeth for her strong character.

Jane Bennet -  The eldest and most beautiful Bennet sister. Jane is more reserved and gentler than Elizabeth. The easy pleasantness with which she and Bingley interact contrasts starkly with the mutual distaste that marks the encounters between Elizabeth and Darcy.

Charles Bingley -  Darcy’s considerably wealthy best friend. Bingley’s purchase of Netherfield, an estate near the Bennets, serves as the impetus for the novel. He is a genial, well-intentioned gentleman, whose easygoing nature contrasts with Darcy’s initially discourteous demeanor. He is blissfully uncaring about class differences.

Pride and prejudice are intimately related in the novel.  As critic A. Walton Litz comments, "in Pride and Prejudice one cannot equate Darcy with Pride, or Elizabeth with Prejudice; Darcy's pride of place is founded on social prejudice, while Elizabeth's initial prejudice against him is rooted in pride of her own quick perceptions." Darcy, having been brought up in such a way that he began to scorn all those outside his own social circle, must overcome his prejudice in order to see that Elizabeth would be a good wife for him and to win Elizabeth's heart. The overcoming of his prejudice is demonstrated when he treats the Gardiners with great civility. The Gardiners are a much lower class than Darcy, because Mr. Darcy is a lawyer and must practice a trade to earn a living, rather than living off of the interest of an estate as gentlemen do. From the beginning of the novel Elizabeth prides herself on her keen ability for perception. Yet this supposed ability is often lacking, as in Elizabeth's judgments of Darcy and Wickham. (Это что-то вроде твоего мнения).


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