1. Discuss the title of one of Jane Austen's novels and it's relevance to the text.
"Pride and Prejudice" was first written in 1797 under the title "First Impressions". It was later revised and published under the title "Pride and Prejudice"in 1813.
The title is also the main theme of the novel and emphasises how people judge based on first impressions. We are proned to believe that we judge people fairly but most of the times, when we get to know them better we realise how wrong we've been.
The main idea is that pride and prejudice prevents people from seeing the truth of a situation and from achieving happiness in life. But more exactly, the title refers to the main protagonists, Mr.Darcy and Elizabeth, who both show to possess these traits. There are many arguments about the wrong way they treat and watch each other in the beginning. For example, Mr. Darcy's pride makes him to refuse in a tough way Elizabeth's proposal to dance :" Not if i can avoid it". He also tells Bingley that she is" tolerable but not handsome enough to tempt me", remark which Elizabeth hears. From now on, she is going to misinterpret all his actions starting to believe Mr. Wickham's own story about what has happened between them. She believes Mr.Darcy to be the "proudest, most disagreeable man" and she will refuse his proposal saying all her bad opinions about him. When he made the proposal, Darcy still was proud because he said he realises that her social status is low but he still would marry her. He should have said from the start that he doesn't care from which family she comes from and that his love for her is above everything. At the same time he thinks he has put away his pride saying his feelings for her. Their discussion soon gets into an argue.
Mr.Darcy realises his misplaced pride and writes her a letter explaining what has happened in fact between him and Mr.Wickham, giving also excuses for why he tried to separate Jane and Mr.Bingley. When she finds the truth, she realises her own blindness and prejudice against Mr.Darcy.
The relevance of the title is obvious in the scene where Elizabeth comments about herself being too prejudiced when it comes to Darcy and Darcy admits to being too prideful.
The title "Pride and Prejudice" makes perfect sense if we analyse the behaviour of the main protagonists.
Jane Austen adopted in her novel the theme of pride and prejudice,traits that lead us to all sorts of mistakes We can notice that this kind of behaviour is met very often in everyday society. This story is also meant to teach us a lesson that we all know, but few are able to understand from the start : First impressions are almost always wrong and we should try to get to know the truth before jugding.
2. Identify and compare the different types of marriages in a Jane Austen novel of your choice.
Jane Austen uses in "Pride and Prejudice" the Bennet family of Longbourn to illustrate the good and bad parts behind marriage. Mrs. Bennet is a mother whose main goal in life is to get her five daughters married. She fells social and financial pressure because her husband's estate was, after his death, to be inherited by his nephew, Mr. Collins. So, Mrs.Bennet was trying to find rich husbands for her daughters. She wanted them to have financial stability.
In the time period of this story there was very little social acceptance of women who were single their whole lives. For the most part, women could not acquire money on their own without inheriting or marrying into good fortune. Women who could not find a husband were often referred to as old maids and lived their whole lives with their parents. It is understandable why Mrs. Bennet did not want this for any of her daughters. The
The Bennets' marriage was based on respect but there wasn't the same love from the beginnings. Mr. Bennet had married his wife because she was beautiful but in time her youth faded and so their atraction for each other. He prefeared to spend his time alone,in silence.They are different people but they still love each other.Mrs. Bennet enjoys gossiping and searching for possible husbands for her daughters. Mr.Bennet is also interested in that but does not show it like Mrs.Bennet does. We can notice it when he goes to visit Mr.Bingley and then surprises his wife because she thought he'll never visit him. He likes making fun of his wife and daughters but also shows,most of the times in an indirect way,his love for them.
Another marriage presented in the novel is that between Charlotte Lucas and Mr.Collin. She marries him because she was 26 old and she couldn't afford to wait for her prince charming anymore. She wanted to have her own home and get rid of the worry that she will die an old maid. Elizabeth thinks Mr Collin is ridiculous and wants someone to love her friend for real. She doesn't like that Charlotte got married for money. She wanted her friend to be loved and have someone that will match her, but finaly understands Charlotte's decision to marry him. There wasn't love between Charlotte and Mr.Collin but she hoped that if love wasn't about to come in time, at least she would have a family. She needed comprehension and a nice warm home. She declared that happiness in marriage is a matter of chance.
In contrast, Lydia's marriage to Wickham was simply for romance and lust. She is a silly teenager that all she thinks of are officers. She runs away from home with Wickham and finally they get married, mostly because Wickham needed money to pay his debts. Mr.Darcy is going to give him the money only to marry Lydia and avoid letting her family to be ashamed of her actions in front of the society. Another bad part of this marriage is that Mr.Wickham does not love Lydia, doesn't care of her and thats going to have bad effects on their happiness.
The marriages of Jane and Elizabeth seem to be ideal. Jane and Bingley are a very nice couple, they both are beautiful and love each other.Bingley is handsome, rich, shy but he finally manages to declare his love to Jane. Love is also between Elizabeth and Darcy. They have strong feelings for each other and I am sure they shared a very happy life together.
Jane Austen therefore portrays marriage as a patriarchal institution where economic, social and intellectual compatibility as well as love must be present for the relationship to succeed.