Pride and Prejudice quotation analysis

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“‘I desire you will do no such thing. Lizzy is not a bit better than the others; and I am sure she is not half so handsome as Jane, nor half so good humoured as Lydia. But you are always giving her the preference.’” (6)

This quote is in the beginning where Mr. And Mrs. Bennet are talking about which daughter to introduce to Mr. Bingley. Mrs. Bennet’s comment here sheds light on not only her character, but Mr. Bennet’s as well. It reveals to the reader that there is a sharp contrast in favoritism between the parents of the Bennet girls. Mr. Bennet favors Elizabeth for her intellectual wit. What is interesting is that upon reading some more, I find that Mr. Bennet himself is “witty” and maybe this is why he is drawn more to Lizzy than his other daughters. Mrs. Bennet, on the other hand, favors Jane, who’s apparently the better-looking one, and Lydia, the “good humoured” of the girls. Perhaps this suggests that Mrs. Bennet looked for more physical or materialistic things, unlike her husband who seems to be drawn more to things in the “inside.”

“What a contrast between him and his friend!” (12)

This “section” which I’m responding to takes nearly two pages, and I felt that this sentence best summed it all up. Here, the happy-go-lucky Mr. Bingley is heavily contrasted with his good friend, the proud, “disagreeable” Mr. Darcy. Why does Austin pair these two seemingly opposite friends together? Why such a drastic example of extremes? Could is be following that cliché “opposites attract”? It almost seems that with the two put together so closely, you could see their true nature more clearly. For example, in the face of Mr. Darcy’s rudeness, Mr. Bingley still acts as calm, easy-going as ever, never even appearing to be slightly angry. In the same sense, compared to Mr. Bingley’s personality, Mr. Darcy’s seems all the more unpleasant. A few questions came to mind. Why is Darcy like this? And will he ever change?

“When dinner was over, she returned directly to Jane, and Miss Bingley began abusing her as soon as she was out of the room. Her manners were pronounced to be very bad indeed, -a mixture of pride and impertinence: she had no conversation, no style, no taste, no beauty. Mrs. Hurst thought the same…”

Here, a little about the character of Miss Bingley is revealed through her rude commentary on Elizabeth’s appearance upon entering their house. She has the same politeness and civility like her brother, but underneath Miss Bingley seems almost bitter towards Elizabeth. Is she always like this or is it only towards Elizabeth? Continuing onto page 36, I noticed that Darcy didn’t really seem to notice Elizabeth’s filthiness, and instead complimented the brilliance of her eyes. Darcy hardly ever seems to appreciate anything, so it made me think if Darcy was starting to hold some sort of favoritism toward Elizabeth. Darcy seems to pay so much attention on what a woman SHOULD be (as mentioned on page 39); it seems a little strange that he doesn’t seem to notice how “unlady-like” Elizabeth is. Could this be hinting some sort of future affection?

“Lydia was a stout, well-grown girl of fifteen, with a fine complexion and goodhumoured countenance; a favourite with her mother, whose affection had brought her into public at an early age.” (44-45)

Here, this excerpt describes the character of Lydia, who is, in my opinion, a very important character in the sense that she adds contrast to the Bennet daughters. Lydia seems to be the “wild” one, always running around chasing after men, where the other daughters seem more reserved by nature. Lydia also is a favorite of Mrs. Bennet, which makes sense since their personalities are so similar. Mrs. Bennet is always eager to marry her daughters to some wealthy young man, and Lydia goes out and tries to find such a man. Perhaps it is because Lydia is one of the younger daughters, and being younger she probably isn’t as mature as her elder siblings. However, Mary and Kitty are also quite young, but they don’t seem to act like how Lydia does. Also, Lydia is fifteen, and I don’t really feel it’s “normal” for a fifteen year old to act like that. Maybe it IS personality.

“Mrs. Bennet treasured up the hint, and trusted that she might soon have two daughters married; and the man
whom she could not bear to speak of the day before was now high in her good graces.” (69)

Here, Jane Austin further portrays to the reader the character and personality of Mrs. Bennet. Once again, she drops everything negative about someone if they would just marry a daughter of hers. It’s almost amusing to see how extreme she is, able to not only forgive, but to think highly of Mr. Darcy despite his arrogant personality. Personally, I find Mrs. Bennet the comedic element in the story. It also almost seems as if Austin wants us to see that Mrs. Bennet symbolizes “economic marriage,” where marriage is solely based on establishment and connections. Whereas, people like Mr. Bingley and Jane, by showing their interest in each other, despite Jane’s lowly connections, symbolize marriage that is entirely based on love.

“‘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)

This is possibly my favorite line in the entire book thus far. Here, it’s has almost a climatic feel when Mrs. Bennet decides to bring Elizabeth to her father. At first, I started getting this “Ooooh, she’s gonna get it…” feeling, but I ended up chuckling to myself after reading his response. Again, Mr. Bennet’s pure intellectual wit adds some comical relief in the book. At the same time, it seems to additionally exemplify the difference between Mr. and Mrs. Bennet. Mr. Bennet sees that Mr. Collins’ personality does NOT appeal to Elizabeth, thus would not result in a marriage on happiness. On the contrary, Mrs. Bennet is still intent on Elizabeth marrying Mr. Collins, interested only in getting her daughters married to perhaps better connections. Again, it seems as if Austin wanted to show us some sort of contrast in material versus happiness.

“‘You wish to think all the world respectable, and are hurt if I speak ill of anybody. I only want to think you perfect, and you set yourself against it…’” (130)

Elizabeth tries to tell Jane how she (Jane) never seems to see the bad side in anyone. It’s interesting to see the amount of contrast in the Bennet family, first with the two parents and now with the two elder daughters, one who is very opinionated and the other who believes everyone meant for the best. Jane’s attitude toward the world seems almost blindly optimistic, as she had stated, “ ‘My dear Lizzy, do not give way to such feelings as these. They will ruin your happiness.’” It almost seems as if Jane tries not to upset herself by purposely convincing herself of the best. I’m starting to think that the book seems to be talking about human nature, skepticism, pride, wit, love, optimism, duplicity, etc.

“‘I confess…that I should not have been at all surprised by her Ladyship’s asking us on Sunday to drink tea and spend the evening at Rosings. I rather expected, from my knowledge of her affability, that it would happen…’” (153)

Here is another one of Mr. Collins’s many praises about Lady De Bourgh. With all his extensive praising, this no doubt adds to the suspense of finally meeting “her Ladyship” and seeing what sort of character she is. What’s interesting is that even though Mr. Collin is a clergyman, he spends far more time praising Lady De Bourgh than he does to God. His extolment at first seems to give the reader a good first impression. But its pure excessiveness leaves the reader wondering and questioning exactly what sort of character De Bourgh is, does she live up to what Mr. Collins’s praise? Or does she turn out to be completely arrogant and opposite of what her devotee claims? I’m sure it’ll be quite interesting to see what sort of person Lady De Bourgh will turn out to be.


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