Pride and Prejudice
In fact, Pride and Prejudice was originally entitled First Impressions. However, the novel is not only about first impressions. Although we can find the first impressions about the characters through the first few chapters, this book shows us the effects of those impressions on the individual characters--prejudices of the characters. The story almost evenly describes the defects of Fitzwilliam Darcy
who show "pride" at the beginning of the novel; he speaks carelessly and insultingly to Elizabeth Bennet
, and George Wickham who deceives others on purpose and conceals his truthless character. Elizabeth misunderstood both of them at first because of her prejudice
At first I have assumed that the title of this novel alludes clearly to Darcy's "pride" and Elizabeth's "prejudice." I also thought that the novel tells how Darcy and Elizabath overcome their pride and prejudice. However, I realize that this over simplifies the author's purpose. We can certainly see that Elizabeth has "pride" as much as Darcy has. She is proud of her intelligence, comprehension and independence. Actually, Darcy's pride disappears quite a bit early in this novel. By chapter 6, he is starting to change his attitudes towards her. He is humbling himself to be close to her. This shows
Darcy's change: "But no sooner had he made it to clear to himself and his friends that she had hardly a good feature in her face, than he began to find it was rendered uncommonly
intelligent by the beautiful expression of her dark eye" (16 page) "He began to wish to know more of her, and as a step towards conversing with her himself, attended to her conversation with others." From this point, Darcy's prejudice against Elizabeth begins to fade while her prejudice towards him still remains because he refused to dance with her at the ball. Her prejudice spreads throughout the book, and that prejudice is an outcome of her wounded pride.
The main subject of this novel is courtship and marriage. Jane Austen, the author of Pride and Prejudice, shows and indirectly criticizes the 18th century England's rural society and the pride of high class through several people's marriages who are in different social position.
Although the novel talks about the marriage and courtship, it's main focus is on pride and prejudice that complicates marriage and courtship. This difficulty is apparant in Darcy and Elizabeth's relationship. Elizabeth refuses to take Darcy's hand in marriage at first because she still has her prejudice towards Darcy. The happy ending of this novel
suits the novel because it stresses the point that pride and prejudice can be overcome. Hence, nothing in Austin's novel is pointless or distracting from the main theme--pride and prejudice.