“Pride and Prejudice”: meaning of the book by Jane Austen

“Pride and Prejudice”: meaning and analysis of the book by Jane Austen Literature

Jane Austen is one of the most popular writers of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Most known for her novel Pride and Prejudice, but this is not her only successful work. All her works are saturated with real emotions and filled with interesting thoughts. In each story, morality wraps around any action of the characters with a thin thread, indicating the correctness and infidelity of their decisions and actions.

History of creation

Jane Austen began writing this story at the age of 21. Having finished working on it, the writer gave the manuscript to a publisher, but she was refused there. I had to postpone the publication of the book for a long 15 years. Before attempting to print this novel again, Austin did a good job of completely editing and refining the material.

Initially, the novel was called “First Impression”, which is how she called it in a letter to her sister. Then in 1811 or 1812 (there is no exact data), the writer renames the book to Pride and Prejudice. Presumably the title was changed in order to avoid confusion with other works of the same name. There is a hypothesis that before the full editing of the manuscript, “First Impression” was a novel in letters.

Jane Austen sold Pride and Prejudice to publisher Thomas Edgertan. He in turn published the first edition in three volumes on January 27, 1813. The second edition was published in November of the same year. Third edition published in 1817. In the edition of the book, the name of Jane Austen was not written, in the line “author” it was indicated: “written by the author of Sense and Sensibility” (“Sense and Sensibility”).

Genre, direction

The work is written in the genre of a novel. All of Austin’s works are characterized by the direction of realism. All situations in her work are connected with marriage of convenience, with love between people from different levels of society – a characteristic feature of that time. It was relevant then, and it is still relevant today.

The entire narrative of the novel comes from the perspective of Elizabeth. The reader takes the point of view of the heroine. He feels the world through her eyes, through her thoughts. This feature is characteristic of almost all the works of the author. We learn about the feelings of other characters through letters. They also contribute to the further disclosure of the characters of certain characters. So, in one of the letters we learn about the essence of Mr. Wickham. Through it, the inner world of Mr. Darcy himself is revealed.


At that time, people got married by calculation. Roughly speaking, if the party is beneficial for the future and for the family, then there is nothing to talk about. There will be a wedding. Getting married, marrying for love is a rarity for people of that time. The book is devoted to this problem: the heroine stubbornly defends her right to dispose of her feelings. Perhaps, with this work, the writer wanted to show that defending her desire to marry for love is not so bad. Yes, there will be misunderstanding on the part of society, but on the other hand, there will be no difficulties of life in the company of a person who is not particularly loved.

Despite the pressure of the environment, as the example of the heroine proves to us, it is worth remaining true to yourself. If you feel that you are doing the right thing, that your feelings do not deceive you, and you understand that otherwise it will be worse for you, then you must continue to be confident in this and not succumb to the provocations of other people. Only in this way can one remain happy and pass for a firm person who cannot be broken by other people’s opinions.

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Main characters and their characteristics

  1. The main character of the novel is Elizabeth Bennet , a reasonable girl who knows exactly what she wants. Lizzie, as her father affectionately calls her, is incapable of conforming to anyone’s wishes. She is ready to go against the opinion of the majority if she is sure that the solution proposed by them will not bring her happiness. Despite her sound mind, she is not without a light and cheerful disposition. He likes to play a joke and laugh, favorably treats the whims of his family. She is not so insightful, but this is her charm. Over time, she will be able to see the true face of people nearby. She judges them based on the first impression, but can also easily change her mind when she realizes that she was wrong in a person.
  2. Mr Darcyis another main character. His image is composed of the main features of a rich and worthy man. It combines nobility with arrogance, a big mind with scorn, a closed behavior with a big heart. Mr Darcy has a different upbringing than Elizabeth Bennet. He is a man of noble blood, belongs to a different level of society. He respects everything restrained, neat and clear. He does not understand the life of a small town. Initially, it seems as if this hero is a negative character, but during the course of the story his image is revealed. It becomes clear that despite the betrayal of a friend who was like a brother to him, despite the fact that it was difficult for him to accept his feelings for the “simple” Elizabeth, he showed his nobility, he helped Miss Lydia Bennet without any personal gain. He is the ideal of many girls.

Topics and issues

  1. Obviously, the issue of pride is touched upon , which becomes an obstacle between lovers or loved ones. It destroys feelings, makes you resist and feel like an absolute “sheep” from the fact that you are standing at a dead end and do not want to budge even a millimeter. You see only a wall in front of you, but if you tense up and look away, you can see that this wall is easy to get around, once you understand that pride means nothing when it turns into pride and arrogance, fed by prejudice.
  2. The problem of social inequality and, as a result, prejudice. Jane Austen quite successfully changed the title of the book. After all, in fact, it makes you wonder who among them is proud and who is prejudiced. Mr. Darcy hurt Elizabeth’s pride by saying that she was not so beautiful and smart as to be able to accompany him in the dance. Mr. Darcy is just prejudiced against Lizzy because of her family and first impressions. It seems to him that a woman who is lower than him in origin and has such “strange” relatives cannot be near him. But all this can be reversed. Mr. Darcy is too proud to even notice Elizabeth and show even the slightest bit of condescension towards her, and Elizabeth is too prejudiced about his behavior in society, because he behaved very arrogantly and arrogantly. She had a certain opinion about him, therefore,
  3. Again and again, the author touches on the topic of the influence of other people on the opinion and actions of a person . Thus, Mr. Bingley was seriously influenced by Mr. Darcy. He, not being convinced of his own arguments, assured the poor lover that Jane was not particularly interested in him as a future beloved wife, rather, she was simply worried about the desire to get married in order to quickly satisfy her mother’s requests and leave her home. But in fact, Jane was a more subtle nature, who carefully concealed her feelings so as not to appear frivolous.
  4. From this we can deduce another small problem that is revealed in this work – the problem of closed character . To hide your feelings so much that the beloved does not even know about reciprocity is not always good. But this is a personal matter for everyone. Too individual.
  5. The theme of family and upbringing is also touched upon to some extent . The relationship between Jane and Lizzie is great propaganda for today’s society. Friendship between sisters, respect for parents, love between parents, a share of humor – all this is a combination of ideal components that form a strong bond in the family. Although their middle sister Mary was very different in character from the other two, she was loved. The family is multi-character and so good. In addition, the children were brought up independently by Mrs. Bennet, without governesses. For high society, this is an indicator of recklessness, but, nevertheless, she managed and raised worthy daughters. Though Miss Leady didn’t quite live up to her mother’s expectations. Perhaps, indeed, because of insufficient education, she grew up so frivolous.
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Meaning of the book “Pride and Prejudice”

The idea of ​​the novel is that all our human prejudices do not matter when it comes to love. Man desperately clogs his head with these viruses that poison all sorts of feelings. If you understand all this, then only emotions remain. And this is the most important thing. Mr. Darcy, like Elizabeth Bennet, entangled in their own pride and prejudices, but, having managed to overcome them, became absolutely happy.

In addition, the writer invested strong-willed character traits in her heroine, showing the ladies of her age an example. Elizabeth knows her worth, despite the poverty of the family. She is not going to sell herself at the bride fair, just to get richer. She is driven by dignity, which she does not forget for a minute. This woman is free from greed and outside influence. By depicting such a virtuous and independent heroine, the author taught a lesson to his contemporaries, which is not a sin to repeat today, because we are sometimes surrounded by mercantile and driven girls who are ready to do anything to move up the social ladder.


Jane Austen’s novels are always popular. Even today, her books are recognized as the standard of English prose around the world. Pride and Prejudice is number two on the BBC’s 200 Best Books. In 2013, the 200th anniversary of the work was celebrated around the world. Even such well-known publications as The Huffington Post, The New York Times and The Daily Telegraph took part in the celebration.

The first edition of the book was a success with the public and critics. Lord Byron’s wife, Anna Isabella Byron, called this work a “fashion novel”. George Henry Lewis, a well-known critic and reviewer, also spoke with positive criticism of this work.

But, nevertheless, there were those who completely criticized this novel. Thus, Charlotte Bronte, in a letter to Lewis, compared Austen’s novel to a cultivated garden with neat borders, delicate flowers, where there is not a single hill, an open area. In other words, the writer lacked something vital and refreshing in her work. Charlotte Bronte believed that the novel did not deserve a drop of praise and admiration. She reproached Austin for her inability to see the life of her people as it is. There are a few more negative reviews about the book from famous people, but it’s probably better to have your own opinion about the book. After reading it, you can love or hate this novel, but we must admit that this is a classic in literature that you need to know and be able to understand.

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Jane Austen herself, in a letter to her sister, said that she was very worried that the novel came out too “sunny and sparkling”, she wanted to make it stricter and more correct.

Films and series based on the novel “Pride and Prejudice”

Another confirmation of the popularity of this novel is the number of its adaptations. It’s hard to believe, but it was filmed eight times – in 1938, 1940, 1952, 1958, 1967, 1980, 1995 and 2005.

In the 1940 film adaptation, starring Laurence Olivier and Greer Garson, the writers tried to follow the plot of the book as closely as possible. This film was a huge success and in 1941 was awarded the “Oscar” in the nomination “Best stop artist “.

The next, noteworthy, film adaptation of the novel Pride and Prejudice was published in 1995. This mini-series is still considered an exemplary work today. In the film, everything seems to have descended from the pages of a beloved novel: landscapes of old rural England, luxurious interiors, magnificent costumes, romantic feelings and love affairs. And thanks to the amazing game of the main characters, you seem to find yourself in the center of all events.

In 2005, another film adaptation of the beloved novel was presented to the attention of the audience, where the roles of the main characters were played by Matthew Macfadyen and Keira Knightley. And even despite the fact that the writers and directors tried to stick to the original as much as possible, the ending turned out to be very unusual.

The main reasons for the popularity of the novel

” Pride and Prejudice ” is literally saturated with interesting thoughts and filled with real emotions. Each act of the main characters seems to be shrouded in a thin thread of morality, indicating the correctness or incorrectness of their actions and decisions.

The author tried to convey to the reader that all human prejudices do not matter when it comes to love. On the example of the main characters, she shows that if pride and prejudice are thrown aside, and all prejudices are left, then emotions and feelings will prevail and people can be absolutely happy.

Moreover, Jane Austen was able to show how important it is to have self-esteem, to know your worth, to be free from greed and outside influence. By depicting an independent and virtuous heroine, the writer was able to teach a lesson to every reader and made her think about what should come first for every girl – real feelings and love or promotion on the social ladder.

It is the themes raised in the novel that have made it so popular for more than 200 years.

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