Book Review By Jane AustenSubmitted by:Samia Arshad andIsbah Abdul Malik XI-G
Jane Austen (16 December 1775 – 18 July 1817) was an English novelist whose works of romantic fiction, set among the landed gentry, earned her a place as one of the most widely read writers in English literature. She was educated primarily by her father and older brothers as well as through her own reading. Her works include Sense and Sensibility(1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park(1814) and Emma (1816). She also wrote Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, both published in 1818, and began writing Sanditon, but died before completing it. Her plots mostly highlight the dependence of women on marriage to secure social standing and economic security. She earned little fame during her lifetime but the publication in 1869 of her nephews A Memoir of Jane Austen introduced her to a wider public and it was by 1940s that she became widely accepted in academia as a great English writer.
SETTINGIn the story the readers are taken to differenttowns and places but the story is set in England atlarge.Following are the places discussed in the novel. Longbourn: The Bennet family estate near the town of Meryton. It will be inherited by Mr. Collins when Mr. Bennet dies. Netherfield: Bingleys estate near Longbourn and near the town of Meryton. Meryton: Town near Longbourn where Mrs.Phillips lives and the soldiers are
Rosings: Lady Catherine De Bourghs estate in Hunsford. Mr. Collins has a parish near this estate, and Elizabeth visits Rosings while she is visiting Charlotte. Pemberley: Mr. Darcys estate in Derbyshire. Hertfordshire: The county, where Longbourn, Netherfield, and Meryton are all located. Hunsford: The town where Charlotte and Mr. Collins live. Brighton: The town to which the soldiers from Meryton are moved. Derbyshire: The county where Mr. Darcys estate, Pemberly, is located.
As said in the words of Mary at the beginning of the novel, "human nature is particularly prone to [pride]" (Volume I, Chapter 5). In the novel, pride prevents the characters from seeing the truth of a situation and from achieving happiness in life. Pride is one of the main barriers that creates an obstacle to Elizabeth and Darcys marriage. Darcys pride in his position in society leads him initially to scorn anyone outside of his own social circle. Elizabeths vanity clouds her judgment, making her prone to think ill of Darcy and to think well of Wickham. In the end, Elizabeths rebukes of Darcy help him to realize his fault and to change accordingly, as demonstrated in his genuinely friendly treatment of the Gardiners, whom he previously would have scorned because of their low social class. Darcys letter shows Elizabeth that her judgments were wrong and she realizes that they were based on vanity, not on reason.
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; Darcys pride of place is founded on social prejudice, while Elizabeths initial prejudice against him is rooted in pride of her own quick perceptions." However, Darcy tries to overcome his prejudice as it is demonstrated when he treats the Gardiners with great civility. The Gardiners are a much lower class than Darcy, because Mr. Gardiner 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 Elizabeths judgments of Darcy and Wickham.
Austen is critical of the gender injustices present in 19th century English society. The novel demonstrates how women such as Charlotte need to marry simply in order to gain financial security. The entailment of the Longbourn estate is an extreme hardship on the Bennet family, and is quite obviously unjust. The entailment of Mr. Bennets estate leaves his daughters in a poor financial situation which both requires them to marry and makes it more difficult to marry well. Clearly, Austen believes that woman are at least as intelligent and capable as men, and considers their inferior status in society to be unjust. She herself went against convention by remaining single and earning a living through her novels.
Austen portrays the family as primarily responsible for the intellectual and moral education of children. Mr. and Mrs. Bennets failure to provide this education for their daughters leads to the utter shamelessness, foolishness, and immorality of Lydia. Elizabeth and Jane have managed to develop virtue and strong characters in spite of the negligence of their parents, perhaps through the help of their studies and the good influence of Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner, who are the only relatives in the novel that take a serious concern in the girls well-being and provide sound guidance. Elizabeth and Jane are constantly forced to put up with the foolishness and poor judgment of their mother and the sarcastic indifference of their father. Even when Elizabeth advises her father not to allow Lydia to go to Brighton, he ignores the advice because he thinks it would be too difficult to deal with Lydias complaining. The result is the scandal of Lydias elopement with Wickham.
Considerations of class are omnipresent in the novel. Darcys inordinate pride is based on his extreme class-consciousness. Yet eventually he sees that factors other than wealth determine who truly belongs in the aristocracy. Those such as Miss Bingley and Mrs. Hurst, who are born into the aristocracy, are idle, mean-spirited and annoying, Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner are not members of the aristocracy in terms of wealth or birth but are natural aristocrats by virtue of their intelligence, good-breeding and virtue. The comic formality of Mr. Collins and his obsequious relationship with Lady Catherine serve as a satire class consciousness and social formalities.
The novel portrays a world in which society takes an interest in the private virtue of its members. When Lydia elopes with Wickham, therefore, it is scandal to the whole society and an injury to entire Bennet family. Darcy considers his failure to expose the wickedness of Wickhams character to be a breach of his social duty because if Wickhams true character had been known others would not have been so easily deceived by him. While Austen is critical of societys ability to judge properly, as demonstrated especially in their judgments of Wickham and Darcy, she does believe that society has a crucial role in promoting virtue. Austen has a profound sense that individuals are social beings and that their happiness is found through relationships with others. According to critic Richard Simpson, Austen has a "thorough consciousness that man is a social being, and that apart from society there is not even the individual."
Characters Elizabeth Bennet- The novel’s protagonist.- second daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet.- most intelligent and sensible- Her realization of Darcy’s essential goodness eventually triumphs over her initial prejudice
Fitzwilliam Darcy-He is Bingleys best friend and the nephew of Lady Catherine de Bourgh. He is a very wealthy, handsome, and proud bachelor.-He is viewed as rude and conceited by all the inhabitants of Meryton.-He is intelligent and honest but his pride causes him to look down on his social inferiors.“….for almost all his actions may be traced to pride;-and pride has often been his best friend.”(George Wickham-vol. I ch.16)-However, Darcy gradually tempers his class-consciousness and eventually falls in love with, and marries Elizabeth.
Jane Bennet-The eldest and most beautiful Bennet sister.-Jane is more reserved and gentler than Elizabeth.-She is later married to Mr.Bingley. Charles BingleyMr. Bingley is a wealthy, young bachelor who moves into the Bennets neighborhood.-His purchase of Netherfield, an estate near the Bennets, serves as the momentum for the novel.-His friendly nature contrasts with Darcy’s initially rude behavior.-He is uncaring about class differences.
Mr. Bennet --The patriarch of the Bennet family -He has very little interest in the duties of polite society or in raising his daughters. For example, when Elizabeth rejects Mr. Collins’ proposal, Mrs. Bennet asks for her husband’s opinion but he merely replies “…what am I to do on the occasion? It seems an hopeless business” (Mr. Bennet- vol. I ch.20)-He finds his wife and his three youngest daughters to be unbearably silly, but Elizabeth and Jane make him proud.
Mrs. Bennet --She is a foolish, noisy woman whose greatest aspiration is to have her five daughters married off.-Mrs. Bennet does not approve of Elizabeths logic and practicality, and Elizabeth is her least favorite daughter.“Elizabeth was the least dear to her of all her children….”(vol. I-ch.18) Mary Bennet - The middle Bennet sister who is very bookish. She is the only one of the Bennet girls who remains unmarried. Catherine Bennet - The fourth Bennet sister. Like Lydia, she is girlishly enthralled with the soldiers. Lydia Bennet-The youngest Bennet sister.-She is gossipy, immature and self-involved. In the end she marries George Wickham.
George Wickham-A handsome, fortune-hunting militia officer.-Wickham’s good looks and charm attract Elizabeth initially. He convinces her that he was greatly wronged by Mr. Darcy, but soon she learns of his true character, and realizes that she has been mistaken.-Wickham later marries Lydia after they run away together. Mr. Collins-A pompous clergyman who is Mr. Bennets cousin and will inherit his estate when Mr. Bennet dies
Charlotte Lucas - Elizabeth’s dear friend. Charlotte does not view love as the most vital component of a marriage and is more interested in having a comfortable home. Thus, when Mr. Collins proposes, she accepts. Sir William Lucas: He is Charlottes father. Maria Lucas-is Charlottes younger sister.
Miss Bingley - Bingley’s snobbish sister. She bears inordinate disdain for Elizabeth’s middle-class background. Mrs. Hurst: She is Bingleys older, married sister who is just as two-faced as Miss Bingley. Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner - Mrs. Bennet’s brother and his wife. They are caring, nurturing, and full of common sense.- Mrs. Gardiner and Elizabeth are quite close because Elizabeths own mother is silly while Mrs. Gardiner is more thoughtful and practical like Elizabeth.- Mr. Gardiner tries to find Lydia and Wickham when they have run away together.
Lady Catherine de Bourgh - A rich, bossy noblewoman who is Darcys wealthy aunt and Collins patroness. She greatly illustrates class snobbery as she is a forceful lady who expects everyone to appreciate and follow her advice on every topic. Miss De Bourgh- Miss De Bourgh is Darcys cousin and Lady Catherines daughter. Georgiana Darcy - Darcy’s sister. She is immensely pretty and just as shy. She is wary because she was almost conned into eloping with Mr. Wickham, which would have been a grave mistake. She has great skills at playing the pianoforte. Colonel Fitzwilliam: Col. Fitzwilliam is Darcys cousin and also co-guardian of Miss Darcy, Darcys little sister.