Pride & Prejudice - Revision Notes (AQA)

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Pride & Prejudice ­ Revision Notes
Historical Context
English society in late 18th and early 19th century = characterised by
wealth, family connections, property ownership, sharp stratification
Inheritance bestowed to eldest son
Younger sons could build fortunes through trade (Bingley, Sir William
Lucas, Mr Phillips, Colonel's Fitzwilliam and Forster, Mr Collins) ­ Men
could leap social boundaries by earning fortunes, purchasing a large
estate, give up work, live lives of leisure ­ They then became `gentlemen'
Women did not work ­ only way of securing income and achieve a place in
society was to marry a wealthy husband ­ Primary importance
Women expected to be accomplished ­ Sing, play piano, draw, read,
dance, speak French
Women expected to be pretty and well mannered ­ Also helped if had
wealthy family ­ Two families could unite fortunes through the marriage
People socialised within their own rank in small circles
Prose Writing
Satirical Prose:
Writer aims to attack society by ridiculing problems within it
Austen criticise attitudes towards love, marriage, class etc.
She declared her intention at start of the novel ­ mocking attitudes in
neighbourhood when a wealthy man joins their circle "It is a truth
universally acknowledged that a single man..."
Humour and satire lie in the mockery of materialistic hopes of the
neighbourhood - the `truth' is unaware to the man ­ he has no idea that
so many ambitions are being centred on him
Austen's style is very `tongue-in-cheek" and ironic which achieves this
satire and humour
She used a lot of dialogue ­ characters can condemn themselves out of
their own mouths ­ Mr Collins proposal

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The way in which the writer makes all the different elements of the book
hang together or fuse into a whole book
Dialogue ­ Lots of this in P&P ­ We the readers have be sensitive to irony
and imagine the characters only from their contribution to discussion ­
One character may describe the other ­ Develop and opinion of the
describing character as well
Narrative Viewpoint ­ Point of view which author allows reader to
perceive events within text ­ Third person narration…read more

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Gardiner works as a lawyer (practise's trade) and does not live of the
interest of an estate like Mr Darcy
Austen portrays family as primarily responsible for intellectual and moral
education of children ­ Mr and Mrs Bennet fail to provide this for their
daughters = Lydia eloping and potentially causing shame on family
Elizabeth and Jane have both turned out well ­ possibly because the
Gardiners have been a good influence on them and have given them good
Women and Marriage:
Austen…read more

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Lady Catherine doesn't like the idea of lower classes being able to work
their way up to becoming Gentlemen
The fact that Darcy and Bingley can overcome the class differences with
their wives demonstrates that these prejudices are hollow, unfeeling and
Austen portrays the servants in the novel as happy
Individual & Society:
Novel portrays a world in which society takes and interest in private virtue
of its members ­ When Lydia eloped with Wickham ­ it is a scandal to the
whole society…read more

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They are a `catalyst for change' in the novel
Elizabeth's first journey when she goes to see Charlotte and Mr Collins
brings her into contact with Darcy
Her second journey takes her to Derby and Pemberly ­ her affection grows
for Darcy
Third journey ­ pursuit for Lydia ­ Darcy tracks them down and saves the
Bennet family
Elizabeth Bennet:
Used by the narrator (more than others) as a centre of consciousness
She is one of the main players with the novels primary…read more

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Lack all understanding
She doesn't care about the moral and social consequences of eloping with
Mr Wickham
Marriage for her is `very good fun' ­ Doesn't take it seriously
Although her disappearance causes family uproar it does ironically mean
that Darcy and Elizabeth will be reconciled
Has had bad role models as parents ­ no one to guide her in the right
Mary and Catherine Bennet:
At the end of chapter 5 Mary delivers a dreary monologue about pride ­
Austen can use Mary…read more

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Charlotte Lucas hates him/ Despises Wickham at first but when he marries
Lydia she acts like nothing was wrong)
Mr Bingley:
Much the same as Jane in that he sees the best in everybody and is very
Neither him nor Jane develop as characters as the novel progresses due to
their less intricate natures
Mr Darcy:
Considered repulsive at the start of the novel ­ Even the reader would get
this opinion of him ­ Austen wants this to happen so that they experience…read more

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Truly unsympathetic to the Bennet's situation ­ demonstrated through his
letter about Lydia's elopement
Caught up in the trappings of rank and social order
Assumes Lizzy will marry him!
Lady Catherine De Bourgh:
She is a `fixed character' representing the extremes of snobbish pride and
She is a caricature
However distinguished her and her family may be Austen shows us that
her manners are poor
Charlotte Lucas:
Appears to be quite happy with her domestic life ­ Not that bad?
Marries for money ­…read more

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Austen is very judgemental ­ her summaries and comments on characters
and events can sometimes be very judgmental and she often mocks
characters ­ Austen showing us here that nobody is free from prejudice
through her narration (It's a human thing)
As novel develops we are shown events from Elizabeth's POV ­ Using her a
centre of consciousness
Large parts of novel given over to reproduce the contents of Elizabeth's
consciousness as she modifies her view of Darcy (Free Indirect Discourse) ­
Shows Austen's determination…read more

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One character can describe another ­ building on the idea of prejudice and
also reveals two characters at the same time
Setting and Place:
Houses reveal information about their owners
London ­ Fashionable & Trendy ­ In all of Austen's novel it is the venue for
shame, unkindness, and unhappiness (Lydia elopes etc.…read more



Excellent !


Really clear and informative, thanks :)

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