Next week’s chapters: 13-25
This week has been crazy! I didn’t get to do any posts about my feelings for chapters 1-12, so I thought I’d quickly jot down a few thoughts before the discussion questions. (I’m actually going to post my answers in a separate post, probably tomorrow or Monday.)
I really like Elizabeth and her father. Elizabeth’s mother reminds me too much of Mrs. Norris from Mansfield Park; she’s too nosy and too much of a busy body. I think Jane is fragile and she bugs me a bit. I hate Lydia and Kitty–they’re both so annoying, especially Lydia! And, I don’t really have an opinion on Mary because she’s just really quiet and unlike everyone else.
Mr. Bingley seems kind of foppish. Mr. Bingley’s sisters are annoying and stuck up. Mr. Darcy is way too stuck up and arrogant for his own good, and I don’t see why everyone swoons over him, but I suppose I will as I continue to read the book.
The relationships, even those of husband and wife, seem way formal. And, the way they speak reminds me of an episode of Backyardigans I watched with my great-nieces. Uniqua is reading a book aloud and reads the word, “obstacles.” One of the others asks what it means and she responds, “things that get in the way.” The one who asked what it means then says, “Why didn’t they just say, ‘things that get in the way’?” I have the same question as I read the language in Pride and Prejudice. The language is just so formal and creates the feeling that all the relationships are at arm’s length rather than intimate and I’m not sure I like it. Maybe, it’ll grow on me as I read the book more or even more books from this era.
Discussion Questions: Chapters 1-12
I found these questions here.
- In Pride and PrejudiceJane Austen presents an interesting view of 19th century life in England. A key part of her presentation involves humor. Describe the presence of humor in the beginning of the novel. What examples of humor do you find? (e.g. in the dialogue between Mr. and Mrs. Bennet.) What does this humor suggest about the tone of the novel?
- Humor? What humor? I’m being a little bit sarcastic with that comment, but at the same time, I’m not. I don’t often get humor unless it smacks me on the head with a 2×4. Humor has to be very blatant for me to get it, especially in a book. It’s only after I’ve read a book several times or seen actors act out a scene in the book that I finally see the humor. So, unfortunately, Austen’s humor has been lost on me.
- This novel addresses a variety of themes, including issues involving marriage, financial status, and social appearances. The novel begins with one of the most famous first sentences in all novels. What does this sentence mean? What is the view of marriage that it suggests? In what ways is the conversation between Mr. and Mrs. Bennet in chapter one a commentary on this sentence?
- The first sentence basically tells me that no matter what you do in life, the most important thing you can do is get married. While I somewhat agree with that, I also disagree with that. Marriage is a big deal in my social circles. Heck, it’s a big deal outside my social circles. Look at all the gay marriage issues. People want to get or be able to get married, no matter their circumstance. But, what I think some people forget is that you can be successful without marrying. I know of two particular ladies within my extended social circle that have proven that. So, yes, I agree that one should look for a suitable mate, but one should also live their life for oneself and do the things that would make them happy.
- All the major families (e.g. the Bennets, the Bingleys, the Lucas and the Darcys) are introduced with explanation of the fortune they have and the place they live in. What does this suggest about the importance of money and social status in this novel?
- Social status and money are extremely important in Pride and Prejudice, so much so that people won’t marry each other or even have anything to do with each other if they feel that the other person is beneath them. I think this still goes on to some extent, but maybe not as much as it did. It depends on the social circles you hang out in and also the country you’re from.
- What is Elizabeth’s first impression of Darcy? What does she overhear him say? What is her opinion of him after that? Is her opinion based only on appearance or other more substantial criteria? How about Mrs. Bennet’s view of Darcy?
- Her first impression is that he’s proud and snobbish. She basically overhears him saying that she’s not worthy to dance with. I don’t think her opinion is completely based on appearance; it’s based more on his behavior. And, Mrs. Bennet’s view is similar, but she also thinks he’s not very handsome.
- As Elizabeth and Jane stay at Netherfield, what more does Elizabeth learn about Bingley’s sisters? How would you describe the relationship between Miss Bingley and Darcy? Does Elizabeth’s view of Darcy change? Does Darcy’s view of Elizabeth change? By the time that Elizabeth returns to Lonbourn, Darcy has conflicting feelings about Elizabeth. What does he feel? What does he decide to do about it?
- She learns that Bingley’s sisters are very shallow and snobbish. They also don’t think Jane is a good match for their brother and try to advise him against it. Darcy sees Miss Bingley as his friend’s sister and someone of the same social status, but not really anything more. Miss Bingley fancies him and is jealous that he starts to pay attention to Elizabeth. I think that Elizabeth still sees Darcy as proud and snobbish. She continues to refuse to dance with him. Darcy is intrigued by Elizabeth and is worried that he’ll come to care for her, so he decides to stay away from her because she’s beneath his social status.