Boekverslag : Jane Austen - Pride And Prejudice
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1. Short summary

In the neighborhood of the Bennet family's estate of Longbourn, Mr. Bingley, an attractive young bachelor with a good income, has moved into the nearby mansion. He falls in love with the oldest of the five Bennet daughters, Jane. But his friend Mr. Darcy, who's wealthy and aristocratic, disapproves Bingley's choice. Darcy considers the Bennet family to be socially inferior, and he talks with Bingley's sisters about separating the lovers. Meanwhile, though, Darcy is finding it hard to resist his own increasing attraction to Jane's next younger sister, Elizabeth. Elizabeth is prejudiced against Darcy because he seems so proud and arrogant. She also suspects that he has interfered between Jane and Bingley. She is even more shocked when she hears that Darcy has treated a young man, George Wickham, cruelly and unjustly. Wickham
tells her that Darcy has denied him the inheritance that his godfather, Darcy's father, left him. Wickham courts Elizabeth, and his good looks, charming manners, and the story of injustice at Darcy's hands win her sympathy and deepen her prejudice against Darcy. Because Mr. Bennet has no son, his estate will be inherited by his nearest male relative, Mr. Collins. This high-flown clergyman comes to Longbourn searching for a wife. He proposes to Elizabeth, who rejects him, even though marrying him would be the way to keep Longbourn in the family. But he wins her best friend, Charlotte Lucas, a plain young woman who marries Collins to escape from spinsterhood into a safe marriage. The story continues with an interweaving of plot and subplots. Elizabeth visits Charlotte, now Mrs. Collins. Darcy visits his aunt, Lady Catherine, who is Mr. Collins's patron. Darcy and Elizabeth meet constantly, and at last he proposes to her, saying with more
honesty than tact that he does this against his better judgment. She angrily rejects him, accusing him of destroying Jane's happiness and Wickham's legitimate prospects. Later, in an earnest letter, he tells her the truth on both counts: he did interfere between Jane and Bingley, but he did not treat Wickham unjustly. In fact, he says, Wickham is a thoroughly bad character. Elizabeth believes Darcy for once, and her prejudice against him begins to weaken. Elizabeth goes on a trip with her aunt and uncle, the Gardiners. They come to Darcy's magnificent estate in his absence and are shown through the house. His housekeeper praises him for his goodness and generosity, painting a very different picture of him from the one
Elizabeth has had. Suddenly and unexpectedly, Darcy himself arrives. Elizabeth is mortified to be found there, but he is full of courtesy to the Gardiners and very attentive to Elizabeth. Bad news comes from Longbourn: The youngest Bennet girl, giddy sixteen-year-old Lydia, has run away with Wickham. Such a scandal must disgrace the whole family, and Elizabeth decides that now, just as her feelings toward Darcy have begun to change, any hope of his renewing his proposal is lost forever. But not so. Darcy feels partially responsible for Lydia's elopement; he feels he should have warned the Bennets that Wickham once tried the same thing with Darcy's own sister. Besides, he is very much in love with Elizabeth. For her sake he searches out the fugitive couple, makes sure that they are legally married, pays Wickham's debts, and buys him a commission in the army. All this he does secretly. But, though sworn to secrecy, Lydia reveals Darcy's part in her rescue- and Elizabeth realizes at last how wrong she's been about him all along. Bingley, with Darcy's encouragement, proposes to Jane and is accepted. Soon Darcy makes his proposal again to Elizabeth. By now she has abandoned her prejudice and he has subdued his pride, and so they are married and the story has a happy ending.

4. Genre

It's a comedy but it later (chapter 33) turns into a drama.

5. Main Characters

Elizabeth Bennet: The leading female character in the novel is just under twenty-one. Mr. Darcy is attracted by her looks, but he especially likes what he calls her "lively mind"; she herself calls it her "impertinence." She is quick to make fun of people's absurdities and hypocrisies, but she's also deeply serious about some things; particularly about people's power to make each other happy or unhappy. This seriousness is the main source of her prejudice against Darcy, and also, when she learns more about him, the source of her love for him.

Fitzwilliam Darcy: Darcy is the leading male character in the novel, a tall, handsome man of twenty-eight, who first scorns and then falls in love with Elizabeth, much against his will. Unlike his friend Bingley, who is delighted with the friendly country society, Darcy's first impression is that there is no one attractive enough to dance with or even talk to. Even Elizabeth seems to him merely "tolerable" when he first sees her. His ancient family name, magnificent estate, and sizable fortune all contribute to his pride. He's also a generous master to his servants and tenants and a loving brother to his young sister Georgiana. He is so steadfast in his love for Elizabeth, even though she has rejected him, that he finds and rescues her sister from disgrace. He does this in secret, not expecting even to be thanked for it. He is too honorable to win Elizabeth's hand by this unselfish action alone. He does not want her gratitude; he wants her love.

Jane Bennet: Elizabeth's older sister is in her early twenties. She is the family beauty, and she is also the sweetest-natured of the family. She can't see anybody's faults and is never cross or angry. Her calmness and even her temper turn out to be a disadvantage to her, however, when she doesn't seem to return Bingley's affection and he is easily discouraged from proposing to her. Although Jane hides her feelings from most people, Elizabeth knows that she really loves Bingley and
suffers at losing him.

Charles Bingley: Darcy's friend provides a contrast to Darcy the way Jane provides contrast to Elizabeth. Where Darcy is proud and hard to please, Bingley is easygoing and ready to like everybody. He is also good-looking and a highly eligible bachelor. As the heir to a fortune, he is looking for a country estate, but he is taking his time and enjoying his freedom. Although he is attractive, he is unsure of himself and quick to believe Darcy when Darcy says that Jane Bennet doesn't love him. When Darcy changes his opinion of the situation, Bingley just as readily renews his attentions to Jane and wins her hand.

George Wickham: Wickham first comes on the scene as the most attractive man Elizabeth has ever met. When he pays attention to her, she is too flattered to be suspicious of how much he is confiding in someone he hardly knows. He tells her about growing up on the Darcy estate, where his father was Darcy's father's steward. He claims that after Darcy's father's death, Darcy refused to provide for him as the elder Darcy had wished. Considering how Elizabeth already feels about Darcy, she is all too ready to believe and sympathize with Wickham. She is so prejudiced, against Darcy and in Wickham's favor, that she doesn't doubt Wickham's story for a moment. In fact, however, Wickham is the only real villain in the novel.

6. Nature of the relationships

In Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen shows us all kinds of marriages, not two of them alike: Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, Charlotte and Mr. Collins, Lydia and Wickham, Jane and Bingley, and, finally, Elizabeth and Darcy. She also shows us other kinds of relationships: the sisterly relationship of Jane and Elizabeth, the aunt and niece relationship of Elizabeth and Mrs. Gardiner. Finally, there are the friendships: Elizabeth and Charlotte enjoy a friendship of equals, even though they do not always agree. At the end of the novel, when Darcy and Elizabeth are married, Darcy's sister Georgiana is amazed that Elizabeth can tease Darcy and make him laugh which is a privilege that a wife may have, but not a younger sister. In this final subtle touch Jane Austen shows her mastery of the art of relationships.

7. Where does the action take place?

Mr. Bennet's modest gentleman's estate is the main setting with excursions to Meryton and Pemberley. Some action
takes place in the more modest manor house of Netherfield, near by the Bennet home of Longbourn.

8. How does the book start.

The book starts when Mrs Bennet talks to Mr. Bennet about the new man who has taken Netherfield, Mr. Bingley. She says he's very rich and single too. This seems important.

9. How does the book end?

The novel ends with a glimpse of the characters' later lives. Regretfully, the happy marriages of Jane and Elizabeth do not make Mrs. Bennet any more sensible. Mr. Bennet, missing Elizabeth, is a frequent visitor to Pemberley. Bingley and Jane soon find Netherfield too near to Longbourn, and Bingley purchases an estate within thirty miles of Pemberley. Kitty
spends much time visiting her sisters, and getting away from home proves good for her and Mary remains mostly at home, keeping her mother's chief companion.

10. The theme of the book

How to get a husband, and preferably a rich one, is the theme of the novel. Austen's concern with money has won her the
accusation of being vulgar and mercenary. For the women of her time marriage on any terms was often the only escape from a depressing spinsterhood in respectable poverty. She also has social criticism, she makes fun of snobbery, hypocrisy, the spiteful gossip of respectable housewives and the prying impertinence of ladies of title.

11. Title explanation

The pride to which the title refers is of course Darcy's, and one of the strengths of the novel is the way in which the concept of pride evolves. Elizabeth is prejudiced against Darcy. This all comes out in chapter thirty-four.

12. Who tells the story?

Pride and Prejudice is mostly written from the objective view of an external observer. However, from time to time the novel departs from this objective storytelling into exploring the thoughts and feelings of a character. Whatever the approach is, whether through Elizabeth's mind or through the voice of a narrator, the point of view is always Jane Austen's.

13. The Chronological order

She appears to be telling a straightforward story, character by character and happening by happening, exactly as it
occurred in chronological order.

14. The best episode

I thought the best episode was in chapter three, when Mr. Bingley returns Mr. Bennet's visit, but doesn't see the young ladies who try to watch him from an upstairs window. By having the sisters watch Bingley from a window, Austen
shows us how restricted they are, compared with the young men such as Bingley, who have much more freedom.

15. Book information
First published in: 1813
Pages: 309
Published by: Wolters-Noordhoff


Fragment 1: Page 26. Austen writes in very long sentences. She uses pretty hard words but because of this all she can descibe the scenes almost perfectely.

Fragment 2: page 154. From the story that Darcy saved a friend (Bingley) Fitzgerald told a main character, Elizabeth, she definately knew Darcy deliberately came between Bingley and Jane. Her suspicion had been confirmed. Her anger rises because of this when she thinks about it.

Fragment 3: Page 284. Here we see that an unimportant character, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, tries to tell Elizabeth not to marry Darcy.

Fragment 4: Page 160. I found the first climax in the story, which was when Mr. Darcy wants to mary Elizabeth and Elizabeth rejects him. She tells him that even if she did not positively dislike him, she would not marry him, and she gives her reasons: he has deliberately ruined the happiness of her sister by separating Bingley from her and that he cruelly deprived Wickham of the secure future that the elder Mr. Darcy had planned for him. Darcy accepts her statement.

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