Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen

Jane Austen Biography

Jane Austen was born on December 16th, 1775 at Steventon rectory in Hampshire, England. She was the second daughter and the seventh of eight children. She was tutored mostly at home but she received a more extensive education than most women of her time. As a child she would often write for her family’s amusement. Her parents, being avid readers, encouraged her writing and bought her paper and a desk. Before his death in 1805, her father, George Austen, even tried to help get her a publisher. After his death, she lived with her sister and mother in Southhampton. In 1809 they moved to Chawton, the environment in which Austen would write most of her work in.
Most of Austen’s work depicts lives that were similar to her own. She enjoyed dancing, attended many balls in the great houses of the neighborhood, she loved the country, and enjoyed long country walks. Her novels mainly focus on middle-class provincial life with some humor and much understanding. She portrayed lower upper class, country clergymen and their families, where marriage determined women's social status. Though she never married, she did fall in love with a man who died before they could marry and accepted a marriage proposal. (Though she changed her mind the next day and turned him down.)
In 1816 Austen contracted Addisons Disease and by May 1817 she was so ill that she moved with her sister to Winchester to be near her physician. There was no cure during that time and she died in her sister's arms on July 18th, 1817. She was 41 years old when she died. She is buried in Winchester Cathedral.
Much of Jane Austen’s life is a mystery to historians. Many of the letters that she sent have been destroyed and the ones that remain are censored by her family. Therefore the only biographies that were written by her contemporaries by her family and are biased. Not much has been learned besides what her family has written.

Pride & Prejudice

- What's it about?

The novel Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is about a five sisters who meet two men in their mother’s desperation to have them married. The first gentleman, Mr. Darcy, was, upon meeting, quite disagreeable and was known in their town as being a pompous jerk. As time passes he falls in love with the second oldest sister, Elizabeth. Soon after the sisters meet Mr. Darcy, they meet a man, Mr. Wickham, who is in the military and has come to their town with the rest of his regiment. At their first meeting he sweeps most of the sisters off their feet with his charm and manners. He seems to fancy Elizabeth and flirts with her often. After several encounters he tells her of his relationship with Mr. Darcy and how he is a cruel person who cheated Mr. Wickham out of a nice life. This fuels Elizabeth’s dislike toward Mr. Darcy. Many months pass and Mr. Darcy proposes to Elizabeth who quickly rejects him, calling him a jerk and criticizing the wrong he did to Wickham. This makes him change and he soon tells Elizabeth about the truth concerning Wickham. She learns he is the true despicable one. As time goes by Darcy changes into a kind, charming gentleman. Elizabeth soon finds herself in love with him. In the end he proposes to her again and she quickly accepts.

Sign of the times

In Pride & Prejudice it is very easy to tell what life was like for Jane Austen and those who lived during the late 1700s. The story mostly revolves around women’s lives in the upper middle class and what was most important to them. In the story the younger Bennet sisters only care about material things and finding a husband. During this time that was very important as women’s lives depended on their husbands. This caused major class distinctions and made the upper class more “snobbish” and secluded, only letting others in the upper class marry them.
Another sign of the times is how the Bennet sisters never worked, only played. Throughout the book there was often talk of balls and large parties as well as many dinners with friends. For the upper middle to upper class this was a common practice and kept connections between families and made networking easier and also more important in the lives of the idle rich. Education for women was also uncommon which made women focus more of their lives on connections, which in turn lead to marriage.

My personal opinion of Pride & Prejudice

As I was thinking about what I could say about Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice I was looking for a picture that had a symbolic link to the book. I stumbled upon some pictures that portrayed today’s typical high school stereotypes and what they generally look like. At that moment I realized that Pride and Prejudice is extremely similar to high school life as well as its effect on those close to high schoolers.
Emo_by_SilverPassion.jpgFatty_by_SilverPassion.jpg Dyke_by_SilverPassion.jpgJock_by_SilverPassion.jpg When I first started reading Pride and Prejudice I must admit that I was quite bored with it and counted down the pages until it was over. It was just one of those stories where all that matters is getting married and nothing else seems important. In my mind it was just another example of how society kept women down and the stupidity in women that derived from it. As I kept reading it started getting more interesting but that didn’t happen until the fairly close to the end.
The reason I didn’t care for most of the book is because it focused on the results of a mother’s quest to marry her five daughters to wealthy men, regardless of how happy they were. In the end it worked out but between the beginning and the end there was a lot of hurt, misunderstandings and deception.
You’re probably wondering “How does all this have anything to do with high school?” Well it’s simple. As I stated before the story revolves around a mother’s quest to marry her five daughters to wealthy men. This can be likened to those mothers out there who want their daughters to be popular cheerleaders and/or prom queen, something they did or something they aspired to at that age. When a rich young bachelor, Mr. Bingley comes to town she doesn't let anything or anyone stop her from introducing her ALL of her five daughters to him before knowing anything about his character. Again this is like those mothers that blindly push their daughters to succeed, even if they do not want what their mothers do. They end up going to a ball that Bingley also attends, bringing along friends and family. One of those friends is Mr. Darcy, another rich young bachelor, who is criticized for being arrogant and rude in comparison to his charming friend, Bingley. Despite his arrogance and bad manners, the young bachelorettes at the ball throw themselves at him and Mr. Bingley, hoping to seduce them. This is a lot like the girls in high school who want to get with the most popular boys in school, often jocks, even if they are arrogant. Mr. Darcy compared to Mr. Bingley are kind of like the two most common types of jocks (or most popular boys in school if it’s not jocks), the nice jock and the rude jock.
The Bennet sisters include the typical stereotypes for the different type of girls between fifteen and twenty-one. The two youngest sisters are absolutely boy crazy, like many freshmen girls I know (I say freshmen because they would probably be freshmen in the modern day, based on their maturity). All they care about is flirting with as many guys as possible, not really caring about anything else. The middle Bennet sister doesn’t really care about boys or having a social life. Much of the book she seems to spend out of the picture, usually studying when mentioned. The two oldest Bennet sisters are much more mature than their younger sisters. Focusing mainly on being happy and living a content life.
At the ball Mr. Bingley seems to be entranced by the eldest sister, Jane. He spends most of the ball with her, to the surprise of many of the other bachelorettes, as she does not throw herself at him but still gets most of his attention. Mr. Darcy does not dance with anyone new to him and sits for some of the ball and Bingley who wants him to join says to him, “Come Darcy I must have you dance. I hate to see you standing about by yourself in this stupid manner.” They talk for a little bit and it eventually leads to Darcy insulting the second oldest sister, Elizabeth. His horrendous behavior at the ball leads everyone in town to label him an arrogant, unpleasant man.
A little while after Bingley moves to town, the ---shire regiment are stationed in a nearby town. The two youngest sisters are absolutely crazy about the soldiers and spend most of their time talking to them or talking of them. Mr. Bennet doesn’t care for their infatuation but Mrs. Bennet encourages it as it could lead to a marriage. One of the soldiers is a young Mr. Wickham, a charming man who entrances all the young bachelorettes easily and quickly becomes a favorite among the Bennets and their friends and family. Quite like those new boys that interest girls with a good first impression, causing them to develop a large crush on them rather quickly. Sometimes they don’t always seem the way they actually are but in a high school it could take awhile before people realize it.
Mr. Bingley and Jane’s relationship leads Jane to befriend his two sisters, Miss Bingley and Mrs. Hurst. Miss Bingley seems to become one of Jane’s best friends but you can’t have a high school without those fake girls that pretend to be friends with other girls just so they can manipulate and hurt them. That sums up Miss Bingley’s relationship with Jane though Jane does not learn this until later on. As their “friendship” grows, Jane is invited over to spend time with Miss Bingley. Mr. Bennet refuses to lend her the carriage in an attempt to keep her home but she goes by horseback and catches a horrible cold on her way. This causes her to be deemed unfit for traveling back home. Elizabeth, worried about her best friend and older sister goes to see her but walks the whole way leaving her dirty upon her arrival. Of course Miss Bingley insults her for being dirty and comes up with many things that are “obviously” wrong with her. Sounds a lot like high school to me.

Awhile after Jane gets better Bingley, who is obviously in love with Jane at this point (Jane of course feels the same way about him), and everyone he lives with suddenly moves away. This leaves Jane heartbroken and many of the young bachelorettes in despair. Elizabeth finds this quite odd and thinks it has something to do with someone else’s influence. It turns out she was right. This can be likened to how easily some people are influenced and how easily they can be convinced not to be friends with someone anymore. This is a common practice in many high schools.
Through some events, which are not critical to this book review, Elizabeth goes to meet her newly married friend and stay with her and her husband awhile. The husband is closely affiliated with Lady Catherine, who happens to be Darcy’s aunt. She sees a lot of Lady Catherine and is surprised when she sees Darcy. She is doubly surprised when Darcy reveals his undying love for her. Soon after he proposes to her. She quickly rejects him and tells him it’s because he’s a jerk who did wrong to Wickham.
As time passes Elizabeth goes traveling with her aunt and uncle. They visit Mr. Darcy’s beautiful estate while he is away. He surprises everyone by showing up early. As he stays there Elizabeth is introduced to his younger sister. During her stay at the estate she is pleasantly surprised by Darcy’s sudden civility. She slowly finds herself in love with him. Darcy did this to try to win Elizabeth’s heart. This is like those high school boys that seem like jerks but actually are very caring when it comes to someone they love.
While Elizabeth is still enjoying her stay at Darcy’s estate she finds out that her youngest sister ran away with Wickham to get married, without telling anyone about it. Elizabeth rushes home to help her mother cope with the loss. Elizabeth’s sister’s actions are like those girls that don’t think things through, a common event for high schoolers. Some even do the same thing and runaway to get married to someone they hardly know in this day and age.
If you want to know the rest of the story you’ll just have to read the book.


Connection Corner

Howl’s Moving Castle book
Howl’s Moving Castle is a novel written by Diana Wynne Jones about a young lady named Sophie Hatter. Sophie is the eldest daughter of three living in the magical kingdom of Ingary, in the town of Market Chipping where magic is an accepted way of life. Being the eldest she gives up on trying to find her fortune and doesn’t see herself doing anything but taking over and running the family hat shop. She doesn’t see herself doing anything but this until one day the Witch of the Waste, a very powerful and feared witch, comes and turns her into a ninety year old woman. Unable to stay home she leaves the hat shop and finds herself as the cleaning lady for Wizard Howl, who is famous for eating the hearts of beautiful women.

Twilight is the first novel of the Twilight series written by Stephanie Meyer. The book takes place when Isabella Swan moves from Phoenix, Arizona to Forks, Washington to live with her father. She attracts a lot of attention at school and soon makes new friends. Several boys also compete for her attention. On her first day of school she sits next to Edward Cullen who acts toward her with utter abhorrence. Soon she learns that Edward and his family are thought to be vampires who drink animal blood, instead of humans. Thus begins Isabella’s journey into a world of vampires and continual danger.

Bar Code Tattoo
The Bar Code Tattoo is a young adult novel written by Suzanne Weyn. The story focuses on young Kayla Reed who is about to turn seventeen, the age at which she can get her bar code tattoo. Bar code tattoos are a part of life at this point in time (2025) but her father’s recent suicide makes her suspicious about the tattoos. The bar codes have information such as the person’s basic information, medical records, credit card information, etc. Before he mother’s death Kayla finds out that there is more information in the bar code than what the government is telling the people, which causes Kayla to refuse to get her bar code. Soon after it becomes illegal not to have a bar code tattoo, which causes Kayla to seek help from a group of teenagers who refuse to get their bar codes as well. Together they try to find out the real secrets behind the bar code tattoos and the company that requires them.

Read or Die the TV
The anime series Read Or Die the TV starts when a famous author Nenene Sumiregawa goes to Hong Kong for a book signing. There she meets three sisters, Michelle, Maggie, and Anita who are supposed to be her guides during her stay. However the hotel where Nenene is supposed to stay has been bombed at which point the eldest sister, Michelle, offers herself and her sisters as Nenene’s bodyguards and invites her to stay with them until she goes back to Tokyo. During a press conference Nenene is held hostage for a short period causing the sisters to decide to go to Tokyo and continue being Nenene’s bodygaurds. As the story unfolds Nenene finds out the sisters’ secrets and their possible connection to her long lost friend.

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