Format – Prose
Edition – Paperback
Publication Date – 1813 but this edition in 2003
No of Pages – 435
Genre – Classics
Audience – Adult
Author – Jane Austen
“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”
As one of the most famous opening lines in English literary history, Austen highlights and opens our eyes to an English country society born on constraints and expectation. Once they are considered ‘out in society’ both men and women of the upper class are influenced to marry, settle down, and provide for their families. However, in regards to Pride and Prejudice, it is the women who have a greater marital responsibility. Marrying well provides security, family provisions and the chance to move within important social circles.
With a family of five daughters and an estate that is entailed against them, the Bennets of Longbourn have no choice but to conform to the restrictions society places on them.
Elizabeth Bennet, the protagonist and second of the five sisters, has deep beliefs on romance and what she wants from a prospective partner. She also prides herself on being sensible and removed from the flightiness and silliness that afflicts her mother, and her younger sisters, Mary, Kitty, and Lydia. Aside from her father (to whom she is closest and most resembles) her confidante is Jane, the oldest sister and arguably the daughter who is most bound by society.
Born of beauty, intelligence, sensitivity, and grace, it is she who has the greatest chance of protecting the family from financial ruin and eventually homelessness.
Inspired by the relationship between Austen and her own sister, Cassandra, Jane and Elizabeth are the pillars that hold the family together.
After the arrival of new wealthy inhabitants – that one single man of good fortune – to the neighbouring house of Netherfield, all expectations of Jane and Elizabeth suddenly increase. Whilst at a local ball – the natural location to mingle and find a suitable marital partner – Elizabeth becomes acquainted with Mr Darcy, a very wealthy and handsome gentleman who possesses great pride and rank.
They both couldn’t be any more different, but after being thrown together under a number of unforeseen circumstances, Elizabeth and Darcy learn that society cannot deny the true depths of love and companionship.
Entwined in wit, sarcasm, and intelligence, Pride and Prejudice is most importantly a story that teaches us about the danger of first impressions.
For those who are completely unaware, Pride and Prejudice is arguably my favourite book of all time. I first read it when I was about thirteen or fourteen and to date I have never read another classic – possibly apart from Persuasion – that contains so much strength and power. My love for this book and a couple of its adaptations holds no bounds and there is always something new to discover with every re-read.
In particular I always find myself connecting to, and sympathising with characters that I originally dismissed, the main two being Mary and Kitty. They are both treated rather cruelly by both Mr and Mrs Bennet, constantly compared to and pitted against either Jane or Lydia, and watching them being pushed aside over the course of the novel is sad. Really it is of no surprise that Kitty gets jealous and that Mary sits at a piano or with a book all day.
Nonetheless, despite the cruelty that may happen between them all, I find that the plethora of different characters makes Pride and Prejudice entertaining. I laugh, I shake my head in despair, and I get sad when hearts are broken.
I don’t think I’ll read another book like it, so it is a good job that Austen created a true classic that will continue to be loved by people across the globe.
If anyone wants any more Pride and Prejudice love, why not check out these two tags I created (the second in collaboration with Laura @ TheBookCorps).
Thanks for reading and have a good day!