Within this assignment box, answer the following questions in a paragraph. Be specific, and refer to the text for details. (500)
- What does this novel tell us about social expectations of women during this time period? During Jane Austen’s lifetime, girls and women had very limited access to means of power. How do women and girls in Pride and Prejudice exert power? Find an important specific passages and analyze how that passages support your argument.
2. What does this novel tell us about social expectations of men during this time period? Give one or two examples by referring to specific characters in the text and giving some details.
3. Jane Austen grew up reading Neo-classical literature, but wrote her own literature during the Romantic Movement. How does Pride and Prejudice reveal the tensions between those two very different approaches? Find specific passages to support your answers.
4. Marriage in Pride and Prejudice is a topic as well as a symbol. It is a romantic union, a financial merger, and a vehicle for social regulation. Scholar and writer Mary Poovey said that Austen’s goal “is to make propriety and romantic desire absolutely congruent.” How are the marriages in the book fulfilling those functions? Is marriage today still an institution of social regulation?
5. What role does Lady Catherine De Bourgh play in the conclusion of the novel? Why does Austen devote such attention to her at the conclusion?
6. Pride and Prejudice was written in a time period when people were testing what it meant to question authority. Logistically, Mr. Bennet should be the authority figure in this novel. How well does he fit the role of an authority figure, and who else in this novel exerts authority? Find specific passages in the text that lead you to your argument.
7. Lydia’s situation with Wickham has serious effects on everyone around her. Find specific passages dealing with the effects of her discretion on others, especially Elizabeth and Mr. Bennet, and try to figure out why this situation is so detrimental and powerful. What are the familial and social ramifications of Lydia’s actions?
8. How does the novel conclude for the major characters? What do you think are some important themes that the novel and Jane Austen are presenting to readers? Elizabeth Bennet says, “people themselves alter so much, that there is something new to be observed in them for ever.” Do any of the characters in the book change substantially? Or do they, as Elizabeth says of Darcy, “in essentials” remain much as they ever were?