Anybody have any notes on Pride & Prejudice?

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I'm doing my coursework on it for AS English Literature and I'm proper struggling. I just can't seem to get to grips with the language or anything. Hardly any of it makes any sense to me ..

any help will be seriously appreciated! :)

Posted Sun 11th March, 2012 @ 13:07 by Alice

3 Answers

  • 1 vote

You need to firstly make sure yo've read the book and have it annotated. Secondly i recommend you watch the film.

I'm not doing it for Coursework instead its my text i've got to write about in my exam, below is an essay i got a B+ for.

 “Pride and Prejudice is preoccupied with surfaces and never gets beneath them.”


Explore the ways in which writers present the worlds of their novels


The statement “Pride and Prejudice is preoccupied with surfaces and never gets beneath them.” I would say to be a completely inaccurate statement. Pride and Prejudice is all about going into depth about how society affects people and their relationships amongst other issues. “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” This is the opening sentence of the novel, which shows that Jane Austen wanted to inform the reader about what society was like in the Regency era from the beginning of the book. From here on Jane Austen through her use of language, characters and writing techniques allows us to go beneath the surfaces.


The characters in Pride and Prejudice learn valuable life lessons; this enables them to understand themselves and others better. The biggest problem in Pride and Prejudice was that most people were too busy being judgemental of others that they ceased to realise their own faults. Elizabeth for example overall was a good, kindhearted person but it’s only towards the end of Pride and Prejudice she realises that she has faults of her own and that her judgement of Darcy was completely wrong. “And yet I meant to be uncommonly clever in taking so decided a dislike to him, without any reason.”  In addition to this Elizabeth realises how she doesn’t agree with people treating you differently or judging you based on your social status. The realisation hits Elizabeth that this is exactly what she has been doing to Darcy, which she later regrets. “She certainly did not hate him. No; hatred had vanished long ago, and she had almost as long been ashamed of ever feeling a dislike against him, that could be so called.”


Jane Austen tackles the problem of “first impressions” with the prominent characters in the book. It’s almost as if Jane Austen is saying if Darcy a wealthy prestigious man can overcome his pride and Elizabeth a strong minded, stubborn person can overcome her prejudice what’s stopping everyone else. In Pride and Prejudice, the process of transformation is very complex yet at the same time subtle. Elizabeth and Darcy are forced throughout the novel to reassess themselves.  This is an example of how Jane Austen does go beneath the surface some would even say she goes beyond.


The issue of marriage is an important aspect of the novel Pride and Prejudice. Jane Austen on the issue of marriage certainly does not stay preoccupied with surfaces. Instead she gets beneath them by having an array of marriages, which outline what is important in a relationship and what is not. Due to society’s expectations compatibility and being in love was not thought to be an important aspect of a marriage. Social status and wealth was considered to be what was important in a marriage. This point is supported by what Charlotte Lucas says in a conversation to Elizabeth. “Very few of us who have heart enough to be really in love without encouragement.”  “When she is secure of him, there will be leisure for falling in love as much as she chuses.” However compatibility and being in love gradually becomes an obvious requirement for a successful, happy marriage. This is portrayed through the relationship between Elizabeth and Darcy along with Jane and Bingley.


Mr Bennet and Mrs Bennet are a prime example to show that marrying for status in the long run will not result in a happy, long lasting marriage. This is due to the fact that they are clearly not compatible. Mr Bennet is constantly mocking Mrs Bennet and she does not understand his humour.  “You mistake me, my dear. I have a high respect for your nerves. They are my old friend. I have heard you mention them with consideration these twenty years at least.” Merely to avoid his wife he spends his time in the library, it becomes clear throughout Pride and Prejudice that Mr and Mrs Bennet originally married for social status and physical attraction. Their relationship however has clearly deteriorated over the years. The point Jane Austen is trying to get across, is that wealth will not last forever, just like Mr Bennet got tired of his wife because they didn’t marry because of love this will happen to others.


Jane Austen also goes beneath the surfaces by presenting attitudes towards, love and social status via the various characters in the novel.  The use of Jane Austen’s language is a very important part of Pride and Prejudice. For example through Lydia’s letter to her friend about her elopement with Wickham it becomes clear how naïve and idiotic she really is. “You need not send them word at Longbourn of my going, if you do not like it, for it will make the surprise the greater, when I write to them, and sign my name Lydia Wickham. What a good joke it will be! I can hardly write for laughing.” Lydia clearly thinks her elopement with Wickham is all a big joke she does not realise the consequences and how her selfish actions will affect her whole family’s reputation. In addition to this it also becomes clear how society has influenced the youngest Bennet daughter in a negative way. I think that Jane Austen wants us as readers to understand the pressures that society installed upon women. The pressures of getting married meant that Charlotte Lucas married Mr Collins not for love or happiness but instead for social status and wealth, so she was not regarded as a spinster. “And Miss Lucas, who accepted him solely from the pure and disinterested desire of an establishment, cared not how soon that establishment were gained.” “Mr. Collins to be sure was neither sensible nor agreeable; his society was irksome, and his attachment to her must be imaginary. But still he would be her husband.” “Marriage has always been her object; it was the only honourable provision for well educated young women of small fortune and however uncertain of giving happiness, must be their pleasantest preservative from want.” This very quote shows how Charlotte Lucas finds Mr Collins boring but she solely marries him because he has good connections and will be able to provide for her.


Therefore Charlotte Lucas’s relationship with Mr Collins is another example of how Jane Austen does not stay preoccupied with surfaces. Instead she gets beneath them by letting us as readers see how their relationship ultimately doesn’t work out. Initially for us to understand why everything happens in Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen has to explain the “surface” aspects of the book. However Jane Austen doesn’t just stop there, instead throughout the book she goes beneath the surface whilst engaging the reader at the same time. Irony and humour are the main language techniques used. This is to both humour the reader but it also allows us to understand the characters and their attributes better by what they say, do and how others react to them.


Jane Austen makes very serious criticisms of society but surrounds it with humour so that her points are delivered in a light hearted and humorous way. This makes the book easier and enjoyable to read. For example “Darcy seemed to feel it most acutely, more I think than last year. His attachment to Rosings certainly increases.” This shows irony and humour because Lady Catherine is unaware that it’s due to Elizabeth, that Darcy is so eager to prolong his stay. The most ironic thing about this quote is that Elizabeth and Darcy end up getting married.

Answered Tue 3rd April, 2012 @ 12:46 by Sabrina
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omg sorry I literally just got this; stupid internet :') that essay is so good! I haven't had my exact marks back from my coursework on P&P yet but apparently I did pretty good .. thanks for replying! :)x

Answered Mon 28th May, 2012 @ 22:49 by Alice
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welcome **

Answered Thu 31st May, 2012 @ 01:00 by Sabrina