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The Title in Pride and Prejudice Essay


4) The initial working title of Jane Austens Pride and Prejudice was First Impressions. Which of the two titles do you consider gives a better idea of the novels themes?

In this question I will be arguing whether the title Pride and Prejudice or First Impressions gives a better idea of the novels themes.

I personally find first impressions is a relevant title, however I feel that pride and prejudice suits the novels themes better as we can relate back to the title in relation to the characters pride and their prejudice, even after they have made their first impressions of others and how these prejudices develop or disappear. Also the issues of pride and prejudice are related all through out the novel. I think pride and prejudice is also a more effective title because it can cause the reader to take some time after of during the reading of the novel and perhaps reflect on their pride or their prejudices. The characters I will discuss in this essay are Elizabeth Bennet, Mr Fitzwilliam Darcy and Lady Catherine De Bourgh.

Personally I believe Pride and Prejudice is a far better title because this novel goes beyond peoples first impressions. At the start of this novel we see Mr Darcy is extremely conscious of class differences. Mr Darcys pride leads to his prejudice against Elizabeth. From the start we see Elizabeth prides herself on her keen perception of people. As well as that Elizabeths pride arises from her prejudice against Mr Darcy. Mr Darcy, being brought up in such a way which he develops a prejudice against people of a lower class, therefore causes him to look down his nose at anyone outside his social circle. Mr Darcy insults Elizabeth in chapter two saying she is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me . Elizabeths pride and also her prejudices cause her to think lowly of Mr Darcy. During a conversation with Miss Lucas she states I could easily forgive his pride, if he had not mortified mine . Also later on after a discussion with Mr Wickham her prejudice causes her to think warmly of Mr Wickham and she believes his story that he was cheated out of his fortune by mr Darcy.

I was brought up for the church, and I should at this time have been in possession of a most valuable living, had it pleased the gentleman we were speaking of just now

The late Mr Darcy bequeathed me the next presentation of the best living in his gift. He was my godfather, and excessively attached to me. I cannot do justice to his kindness. He meant to provide for me amply, and thought he had done it; but when the living fell, it was given else where

A man of honour could not have doubted the intention, but Mr Darcy chose to doubt it- or to treat it as a merely conditional recommendation, and to assert that I had forfeited all claim to it by extravagance, imprudence, in short any thing or nothing

In chapter 36 we see her coming to terms that there was a misunderstanding in her conception of both Mr Wickham and Mr Darcy. While reading the letter which Mr Darcy has sent her she learns of information which contradicts her earlier judgements and she also realises her judgement of character is not as sharp as she had previously believed. She blames herself for not having recognised the smack of impropriety of Wickhams behaviour, but allowed herself to be fooled by his charm. She sees now that all her previous judgements have been made on vanity, not on reason.

she remembered that he had boasted of having no fear of seeing Mr Darcy- that Mr Darcy might leave the country, but that he should stand his ground; yet he had avoided the Netherfield ball the very next week'.

she grew absolutely ashamed of herself.- Of neither Darcy nor Wickham could she think, without feeling that she had been blind, partial, prejudiced ,absurd. how despicably have I acted! she cried.-I, who have prided myself on discernment!

I have courted prepossession and ignorance, and driven reason away, where neither were concerned. Till this moment, I never knew myself!

We see in chapter 52, through a letter, Mr Darcy defeating his prejudice when he finds and offers Mr Wickham enough money to marry Lydia who has virtually no money, to save the reputation of the Bennet family and in order to marry Elizabeth and ensure safety of the reputation at Pemberley. He does all this despite his grudge against Mr Wickham. Also he insists on Mr Gardiner taking the credit for it. Elizabeth also sees him being genuinely pleasant to the Gardiner's, despite that the family are of a much lower class. Throughout the novel we see Mr Darcy trying to regulate his pride and prejudices in order to win Elizabeths heart.

Lady Catherine De Bourgh has characteristics of both pride and prejudice, both of which relate back to the title Pride and Prejudice. She is fixated with social status and is livid when she discovers Mr Darcy desiring a woman with a social status like Elizabeths. We see this in chapter 56 when she pays a visit to Longbourn and demands a walk with Elizabeth. She also demands a promise from Elizabeth that she will not attempt to marry Mr Darcy, when Elizabeth rejects this promise, Lady Catherine is shocked and astonished

Obstinate, headstrong girl! I am ashamed of you!

Is this your gratitude for my attention to you last spring?

Is nothing due to me on that score?

Miss Bennet I am shocked and astonished. I expected to find a more reasonable young woman. But do not deceive yourself into a belief that I will ever recede. I shall never go away, till you have given me the assurance I require

She is set on her own daughter, Anne, marrying Mr Darcy as they are of the same social status. We see this when Lady Catherine says:

My daughter and my nephew are formed for each other. They are descended on the maternal side, and from the same noble line; and, on the fathers, from respectable, honourable, and ancient, though untitled families. Their fortune on both sides is splendid.

As well as that she says if you were sensible of your own good, you would not wish to quit the sphere in which you have been brought up . Elizabeth proceeds to say he is a gentleman and I am a gentlemans daughter: so far we are equal I feel the height of lady Catherines prejudice and pride are seen when she says

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