• This novel is told in third person with limited omniscience, and
readers are most often presented with Elizabeth’s perspective
and experiences. As you read, note in your journals examples of
the occasional shifts from Elizabeth’s perspective to brief
insights into Darcy’s thoughts and feelings.
• You may model this activity using the passage on page 22, as
Elizabeth remains unaware that Darcy’s perception of her is
changing, or page 25, as the narrator shifts from observations
made through Elizabeth’s eyes to those involving Darcy’s
thoughts, as well as his conversation with Miss Bingley after
• The ability of readers to recognize tone is central to
understanding a novel. Choose one or more passages from the
selection assigned to be aware of clues to the tone of the speaker
or the narrator. Possible examples for whole-class discussion:
• Mr. Bennet’s reaction to Elizabeth’s refusal to marry Collins (107).
• Collins’ preparation for meeting Lady Catherine (155).
•The exchange between Lady Catherine and Elizabeth concerning
the possibility of an engagement (336-338).
4. For example:
• Mr. Bennet tells his daughter, “An unhappy alternative is before
you, Elizabeth. From this day you must be a stranger to one of
your parents—Your mother will never see you again if you do not
marry Mr. Collins, and I will never see you again if you do” (107).
• Rather than presenting her with a dilemma, he is actually
surprising his wife and relieving Elizabeth by making clear his
distaste for such a marriage.
• Elizabeth smiles at her father’s agreement with her decision, but
her mother is “excessively disappointed.”These lines remind the
reader that Mr. Bennet often takes his daughter’s side in
disagreements against his wife. He supports her rejection of the
proposal, preferring Elizabeth’s happiness to a miserable security.
5. Deepening one’s understanding
• Distinguish between static
and dynamic characters,
contrasting those who truly
change over the course of the
novel, for example Darcy, to
those whose true character
emerges over time, like
• Chart Austen’s development
of these two characters
through their actions, words,
and what others reveal about
6. For example, changes in Darcy’s character
emerge through his change of actions—
ignoring Elizabeth and her
peers at the ball, then
paying closer attention to
Jane’s aunt and
uncle during their
visit to Derbyshire
He eventually tells Bingley
the truth of his interference
in his courtship of Jane
he helps to locate Lydia and
Wickham, even helping them
monetarily in order to bring
about the marriage and to put
an end to the scandal.
• On the other hand,
Wickham’s true character
emerges through what
others reveal about him.
Col. Fitzwilliam confirms
details of the scandal
involving Darcy’s sister,
Mrs. Gardiner expresses
her own misgivings, and
after the elopement, his
gambling debts are
7. Character Sketch
What the character says
What the character thinks
What the character does
What other characters say
about the character
•Jane and Mr. Bingley
•Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy
•Elizabeth and Wickham
•Charlotte Lucas and Mr.
•Mr. and Mrs. Bennet
•Lydia and Wickham.
13. “I have said no such thing. I am
only resolved to act in that
manner, which will, in my own
opinion, constitute my
happiness, without reference
to you, or to any person so
wholly unconnected with me.”
14. “Her air was not conciliating, nor
was her manner of receiving
them such as to make her
visitors forget their inferior rank.
She was not rendered
formidable by silence; but
whatever she said was spoken in
so authoritative a tone, as
marked her self-importance.”
15. “when she saw him thus civil,
not only to herself, but to the
very relations whom he had
openly disdained ... the
difference, the change was so
great, and struck so forcibly
on her mind, that she could
hardly restrain her
astonishment from being
16. “Oh! you are a great deal too
apt, you know, to like people
in general.You never see a
fault in anybody. All the
world are good and
agreeable in your eyes. I
never heard you speak ill of
a human being in your life.”
17. “Much as I respect
them, I believe, I
thought only of you.”
18. “I am a very selfish creature;
and, for the sake of giving
relief to my own feelings,
care not how much I may
be wounding yours. I can
no longer help thanking
you for your unexampled
19. That ONE thing you and Collins have in common…
“His character was decided. He
was the proudest, most
disagreeable man in the
world, and everybody hoped
that he would never come
20. “There certainly was some
great mismanagement in the
education of those two young
men. One has got all the
goodness, and the other all
the appearance of it.”
21. “For what do we live,
but make sport of our
neighbors, and laugh
at them in our turn?”
22. "It is sometimes a disadvantage to be so very guarded. If a woman conceals her affection with the
same skill from the object of it, she may lose the opportunity of fixing him; ..There is so much of
gratitude or vanity in almost every attachment, that it is not safe to leave any to itself.We can all
begin freely—a slight preference is natural enough; but there are very few of us who have heart
enough to be really in love without encouragement. In nine cases out of ten a women had better
show more affection than she feels."
- Charlotte Lucas,Volume I: Chapter 6
On one hand, Charlotte's pragmatic view of love, stands in stark contrast to the more romantic worldview that
Elizabeth (and presumably, Austen herself) possesses.
However, Charlotte's philosophy reflects the unfortunate reality that the women in Pride and Prejudice must
face.They live in a patriarchal society. If a man remains single, his greatest risk is loneliness. However, an
unmarried woman faces a potential lack of financial security.
In Charlotte's eyes, this social inequality means that a woman must consider employing manipulation for the
sake of her future. Charlotte follows her own advice when she shows "more affection than she feels" towards
Mr. Collins in order to secure a proposal. Though Elizabeth's happy ending suggests that it is not always
necessary for a woman to be as pragmatic as Charlotte, her philosophy nevertheless serves as a criticism
of a world that so limits a woman's agency.
23. "You are mistaken, Mr. Darcy, if you suppose that the mode of your
declaration affected me in any other way, than as it spared me the
concern which I might have felt in refusing you, had you behaved in a
more gentlemanlike manner."
- - Elizabeth Bennet,Volume II: Chapter 11
When Elizabeth refuses Darcy's first proposal, she attacks his pride.
Darcy clearly expects a positive response, which reveals his arrogance.
However, Elizabeth's claim that Darcy's manner is not "gentlemanlike"
shows that she judges him based on his behavior rather than his
He can wear the label of a gentleman, but that doesn't necessarily
mean that his behavior is always appropriate.
This particular statement causes Darcy great consternation. Elizabeth
therefore forces him to reevaluate how he sees himself and consider
his personality separate from his social position.
24. "No, I have made no such pretension. I have faults enough, but they are not, I hope, of
understanding. ..I cannot forget the follies and vices of others so soon as I ought, nor their
offenses against myself. My feelings are not puffed about with every attempt to move them.
My temper would perhaps be called resentful. My good opinion once lost, is lost forever."
- Mr. Darcy,Volume I: Chapter 11
If Pride and Prejudice is largely about Darcy and Elizabeth gaining self-awareness, then this statement -
which Darcy delivers to Elizabeth during her stay at Netherfield - embodies the way Darcy initially sees
There is a certain irony in Darcy's honesty.While he seems to exhibit complete self-awareness, he is
somewhat oblivious. His pride is so great that he openly refuses to question his own self-perception.
Therefore, he actually lacks self-awareness.
Elizabeth is shocked by Darcy's arrogant dismissal here, but she has similar pride in her own
disposition. Later, Darcy will realize that his pride has concealed the limits of his first impressions (as in
the case of Jane), while Elizabeth will realize that she harbors a great deal of prejudice as well.
25. "How despicably I have acted! I, who have prided myself on my
discernment! I, who have valued myself on my abilities! … Had I been in
love, I could not have been more wretchedly blind! But vanity, not love,
has been my folly. …I have courted prepossession and ignorance, and
driven reason away, where either were concerned.Till this moment I
never knew myself."
- Elizabeth,Volume II: Chapter 13
In this moment, Elizabeth realizes how much her pride and prejudice
have affected her judgement, even though she has criticized Darcy for
the same narrow-mindedness.
She believedWickham's story despite the obvious signs of his
dishonesty - and she also wanted to believe the worst about Darcy.
Once Elizabeth recognizes her faults, she does not wallow in them.
Instead, she takes the opportunity to improve her attitude and finally
admit her feelings for Darcy.
26. "What do I not owe you!You taught me a lesson, hard indeed at first, but most
advantageous. By you, I was properly humbled. I came to you without a doubt of my
reception.You showed me how insufficient were all my pretensions to please a
woman worthy of being pleased."
- Mr. Darcy,Volume III: Chapter XVI
This passage is the climax of Darcy's journey to self-discovery. By admitting that he proposed to
Elizabeth "without a doubt of [his] reception," Darcy acknowledges that his class prejudice clouded
After Elizabeth's rebuke, Darcy came to realize that a person's manner is more important than his or
her social status. He has since achieved a level of self-awareness that will enable his future
Finally, this statement reflects the importance that Austen places on the family unit educating its
children, since Darcy sees his shortcomings in the context of his upbringing.
27. "Pride...is a very common failing, I believe. By all that I have ever read, I am convinced that it is
very common indeed; that human nature is particularly prone to it…Vanity and pride are
different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud
without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have
others think of us."
- Mary Bennet,Volume I: Chapter 5
Mary gives the reader a lens through which to understand one of the novel's central conceits.
On the surface, Mary offers simple definitions of pride and vanity. Her speech also indicates
that these attributes are "very common."Therefore, she implies that it is best to acknowledge
one's tendency towards such behavior.
However, at the beginning of Pride and Prejudice, both Elizabeth and Darcy believe that they
are above pride and vanity.They think they can exist outside these cultural norms, but are
ultimately forced to accept that they do in fact exist in the context of a greater society.They
have responsibilities to others, and should consider to some extent how their family and friends
28. "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of
a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.“
- Narrator,Volume I: Chapter 1
In the first line of the novel, Austen reveals two of its primary themes:
marriage and class. In the world of Pride and Prejudice, individuals are defined
by their marital opportunities and financial holdings.
The irony in this line conceals an implicit criticism.The line's grammatical
focus is on "a single man . . . in want of a wife," but Austen's novel is centered
on her female characters as they struggle to succeed within this oppressive
Each Miss Bennet knows that without a husband of decent means and status,
she risks living a life as a powerless and potentially destitute spinster.
29. "She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me; and I
am in no humour at present to give consequence to young ladies
who are slighted by other men.”
- Darcy,Volume I: Chapter 3
These words describe Darcy’s reaction at the Meryton ball in Chapter 3 to Bingley’s
suggestion that he dance with Elizabeth.
Darcy, who sees the people of Meryton as his social inferiors, haughtily refuses to
condescend to dancing with someone “not handsome enough” for him.
Moreover, he does so within range of Elizabeth, who overhears this. His sense of
social superiority, artfully exposed in this passing comment, later proves his chief
difficulty in admitting his love for Elizabeth.
The rudeness with which Darcy treats Elizabeth creates a negative impression of him
in her mind.
30. "And this is all the reply which I am to have the honour of
expecting! I might, perhaps, wish to be informed why, with so
little endeavour at civility, I am thus rejected. But it is of small
- Darcy,Volume II
Darcy clearly expects a positive response, which reveals his
arrogance. He believes that after his expression of love, she should
give an explanation for refusing him.
She was appalled by his insensitivity and tactlessness in the way he
had handled the situation. He had expressed how inferior she was
in rank and class. Darcy was baffled at her rejection and comment
upon the matter.
He could not understand her anger after being told that he loved
her against his better judgment. He had gone to great lengths to
emphasize on his reasons against rather than focusing on his
reasons for wanting to marry her.
She tells him that nothing could induce her to marry the man who
ruined Jane’s chance of happiness. .
31. "Are the shades of Pemberley to be thus polluted?“
- Lady Catherine de Bourgh,Volume III: Chapter 56
Lady Catherine does not want Darcy to marry Elizabeth. Lady Catherine informs Elizabeth
that she has heard a rumor that Darcy is planning to marry her.
Such a notion, Lady Catherine insists, is ridiculous, given Elizabeth’s low station in life and
the tacit engagement of Darcy to her own daughter. Lady Catherine claims that Elizabeth is
bound to obey her by “the claims of duty, honour, and gratitude.”
She presents the familiar objection: the Bennets have such low connections that Darcy’s
marrying Elizabeth would “ruin him in the opinion of all his friends, and make him the
contempt of the world.”
IRONY: She came with the motive to distance the two but this meeting only affirms their
affection for each other and leads to Darcy’s second proposal.
32. "We seem to have been designed for each
- Mr. Collins
Mr. Collins states this when he is telling Elizabeth about his
felicity in marriage with his dear Charlotte. Lucas marries Collins
because he can provide a home and financial security.
She then arranges her home so she can avoid her husband as
much as possible.Collins marries her (after being rejected by
Elizabeth) simply because he feels society expects him to marry.
He has this misconception that both he and Charlotte share
similar views regarding their marriage.
Quite ironic that he feels they complement each other when
readers know the reality of Charlotte’s affections.
33. "You are mistaken, Mr. Darcy, if you suppose that the mode of
your declaration affected me in any other way, than as it spared
me the concern which I might have felt in refusing you, had you
behaved in a more gentlemanlike manner."
When Elizabeth refuses Darcy's first proposal, she attacks his
pride. She was appalled by his insensitivity and tactlessness in
the way he had handled the situation.
He had expressed how inferior she was in rank and class,
stressing on her family obstacles. Darcy clearly expects a
positive response, which reveals his arrogance. However,
Elizabeth's claim that Darcy's manner is not "gentlemanlike"
shows that she judges him based on his behavior rather than his
He can wear the label of a gentleman, but that doesn't
necessarily mean that his behavior is always appropriate.This
particular statement causes Darcy great consternation.
Elizabeth therefore forces him to reevaluate how he sees
himself and consider his personality separate from his social
34. "From this day you must be a stranger to one of your parents.
Your mother will never see you again if you do not marry Mr.
Collins, and I will never see you again if you do.”
This statement is made by Mr. Bennet. Mrs. Bennet, who regards
a match between her daughter and Mr. Collins as advantageous, is
infuriated. She tells Elizabeth that if she does not marry Mr. Collins
she will never see her again, and she asks Mr. Bennet to order
Elizabeth to marry the clergyman. Her husband refuses and,
befitting his wit and his desire to annoy his wife, actually informs
his daughter that if she were to marry Mr. Collins, he would refuse
to see her again. Elizabeth is dearest to him of all his girls. He
would not wish her to marry anyone who was not worthy of her.
35. "In vain I have struggled. It will not do. My feelings
will not be repressed.You must allow me to tell you
how ardently I admire and love you."
- Mr. Darcy
Darcy’s proposal of marriage to Elizabeth in Chapter 34 demonstrates how his
feelings toward her transformed since his earlier dismissal of her as “not
While Elizabeth rejects his proposal, this event marks the turning point in the
novel. He finally professes his love to Elizabeth.
As he proposes to her he does express his affections and how it was against his
better judgment. His declaration of love was followed by the emphasis of her
lower rank and unsuitability for marriage. His focus was more on his own
superiority rather than eloquently expressing his love for her. He talks about the
inferiority of her connections—of the family obstacles.
His pride about his high social status hampers his attempt to express his
affection. Darcy must prioritize love over his sense of superiority before he is
worthy of Elizabeth’s hand. She is appalled by his ungentlemanly behavior and
refuses his proposal
36. "Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance.
…. and it is better to know as little as possible of the
defects of the person with whom you are to pass your
- Charlotte's practical view of love and marriage actually
conceals her fear and desperation. She sees love as irrelevant to
a marriage and believes that a woman ought to limit her
intimacy with her husband in order to avoid the inevitable
This indicates that Charlotte sees a husband as a means to an
end. Even though Elizabeth criticizes Charlotte's
recommendation, there was sadly a great deal of truth to it in
Charlotte is aware that if her expectations for a mate are too
high, she risks becoming a struggling spinster. If she lowers her
standards, though, she may not find love but at least she will be
37. “You take delight in
vexing me. You have
no compassion on my
You do not know
what I suffer.”