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8. Not only the marriage relationship (see previous question) but other relationships both within the family and outside it have a strong role in the novel. Elizabeth may disapprove of her father (Chapters 36,
42) and try to correct her mother's embarrassing behavior (Chapter 18), but never does she disobey or have a rebellious thought toward her parents. Her sisterly relationship with Jane (Chapters 4, 40) is gently teasing but deeply considerate, reflecting perhaps Jane Austen's own relationship with her sister Cassandra. The aunt and niece relationship between Elizabeth and Mrs. Gardiner is especially interesting for its delicate balance of confidence and tact on both sides (Chapters 25, 44, 46, 51 and 52). Note that Jane Austen had a similarly close relationship with her nieces and nephews, at least according to her letters and their memoirs of her. Finally there are the friendships, particularly between Elizabeth and Charlotte, in which both can speak their minds without offense (Chapters 6, 22); and between Bingley and Darcy, two sharply contrasting characters (Chapter 10) who yet treat each other with mutual regard. Significant in the story development is Darcy's misguided but fatherly effort to keep Bingley from marrying Jane. When Darcy's opinion changes, Bingley is again willing to follow his guidance and renew the interrupted courtship. "A most convenient friend," Elizabeth muses (Chapter 58), but only to herself: Darcy is not yet ready to be laughed at. When they are married, Darcy's sister Georgiana is amazed that Elizabeth can tease Darcy and make him laugh at himself, a privilege (Chapter 61) that a wife may take but not a younger sister. With this final subtle touch Jane Austen shows her mastery of the art of relationships.
9. 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. Its first impact (Chapter 3) is of Darcy's haughty behavior at the Meryton assembly, where no woman is handsome enough for him to dance with. Pride is identified there with arrogance, insolence, and conceit. Charlotte Lucas comments (Chapter 5) that with his wealth, family name and social status, Darcy has a right to be proud. This was probably a generally held opinion, but it was not, apparently, Jane Austen's. In his proposal to Elizabeth (Chapter 34), Darcy expresses pride in belonging to a superior social class, and he is astonished that she rejects him. His letter defending his actions toward Jane and Wickham (Chapter 35) is motivated not by pride so much as by a sense of moral obligation. He has put aside all thoughts of class and status, and expresses only criticism of the behavior of Elizabeth's family-criticism which Elizabeth must accept as just. Elizabeth (Chapter 50) believes that Darcy is too morally proud to renew his proposal of marriage now that Wickham is part of her family-no one as "correct" as Darcy would accept that scoundrel as a brother-in-law. Pride plays a role in Darcy's rescue of Lydia (Chapter 52) and in his management of her marriage-pride in the sense of taking responsibility for another person's welfare. Darcy's pride assumes another, very romantic dimension when he tries to keep his help to Lydia a secret from Elizabeth, so that he can win not her gratitude but her love.
10. Darcy's behavior on his first appearance (Chapter 3) surely gives Elizabeth just cause for her prejudice, but she dismisses it with a quip (Chapter 5). She becomes genuinely hostile to him only for the sake of others: first on Wickham's account (Chapters 16, 24, 26) and then on Jane's (Chapter 33). She shows great prejudice against him when she rejects his proposal (Chapter 34), but she begins to experience doubts about the justice of her thoughts as she reads and rereads his letter (Chapter 36). Although she remains angry with him for interfering with Jane's happiness, she begins her series of self-examinations, which we follow with a good deal of sympathy because she chides herself with humor rather than self-pity. She acknowledges that she has been prejudiced not only against Darcy but in favor of Wickham: one has all the goodness and the other all the appearance of it, she tells Jane, making fun of her own cleverness (Chapter 40). From then on her prejudice falls rapidly into shreds. The housekeeper's praise of Darcy, followed by his courtesy to the Gardiners and attentions to herself, blow away the last tatters of it. When at last he proposes again and she accepts him, her only regret is that she has expressed her dislike of him so freely in the past that Jane cannot believe she now loves him (Chapter 59). Still able to make fun of herself, she says she fell in love with him when she first saw Pemberley. But then she explains how prejudice gave way to understanding, appreciation, and finally love.
11. From the first page of the first chapter, Jane Austen demonstrates her extraordinary gift for developing her story and characters in dramatic scenes and sparkling dialogue. She does not tell us-she shows us. Here are some scenes you can refer to and describe as both comedy and drama: Chapter 1, the domestic scene at Longbourn; Chapter 6, confidences of Elizabeth and Charlotte; and Chapters 8 to 11, an almost continuous scene of social interplay and repartee among Darcy, Elizabeth, Bingley, and his sister Caroline.
Both the scene where Collins proposes (Chapter 19); and where Darcy proposes (Chapter 34) are famous in the dramatized versions, one for its comedy, the other for its impassioned confrontation between the embattled lovers. Lady Catherine's outrageous visit (Chapter 56) is only one of several comic scenes that you can refer to in your discussion of Jane Austen's gift for drama.
12. In 1797, when Jane Austen wrote Pride and Prejudice, the right of women to vote was still more than a hundred years away but there were stirrings of protest. Mary Wollstonecraft published the first great feminist document, A Vindication of the Rights of Women, in 1792, and it created an uproar. News of this document may or may not have filtered down to young Jane in her father's parsonage at Steventon; that is something we may never know. Still, the insecure situation of middle-class women seems to have been on Austen's mind when she came to write the novel. Although she turned the search for a husband into a comedy, we cannot doubt that she took very seriously the financial necessity of making a good marriage that confronted most women of her class. In Pride and Prejudice, Austen's concern for these women is best expressed through the character of Charlotte Lucas. Charlotte's attitude toward marriage (Chapters 6 and 22) shocks Elizabeth, who can only think of marriage as something based on affection and respect. But in her day, Charlotte's attitude was a practical approach to the realities of a young woman's life. Jane Bennet with her beauty and Elizabeth with her wit and charm might look forward to a marriage of love, but Charlotte is a plain girl, the eldest of a large family of modest means, and she can only hope for a marriage that will bring her security. By marrying Charlotte to such a ludicrous husband as Mr. Collins, Jane Austen serves the comic aspect of her novel, but she tells us something serious as well about the women of her day.