“Pride and prejudice”
Pride and Prejudice is a novel by Jane Austen, first published in 1813. The story follows the main character Elizabeth Bennet as she deals with issues of manners, upbringing, morality, education and marriage in the society of the landed gentry of early 19th-century England. Elizabeth is the second of five daughters of a country gentleman, livingnear the fictional town of Meryton in Hertfordshire, near London.
Though the story's setting is characteristically turn-of-the-19th-century, it retains a fascination for modern readers, continuing near the top of lists of 'most loved books' such as The Big Read. It has become one of the most popular novels in English literature, and receives considerable attention from literary scholars. Moderninterest in the book has resulted in a number of dramatic adaptations and an abundance of novels and stories imitating Austen's memorable characters or themes. To date, the book has sold some 20 million copies worldwide.
The main plot of the novel is driven by a particular situation of the Bennet family: if Mr Bennet dies soon, his wife and five daughters will be without home or income, as theLongbourn estate is entailed to one of Mr Bennet's collateral relatives—male only in this case—by the legal terms of fee tail. Mrs Bennet worries about this predicament, and wishes to find husbands for her daughters quickly. The father doesn't seem to be worried at all.
The narrative opens with Mr Bingley, a wealthy young gentleman and a very eligible bachelor, renting a country estate near theBennets called Netherfield. He arrives accompanied by his fashionable sisters and his good friend, Mr Darcy. Attending the local assembly (dance) Bingley is well received in the community, while Darcy begins his acquaintance with smug condescension and 'proud' distaste for all the country locals. After Darcy's haughty rejection of her at the dance, Elizabeth resolves to match his coldness and pride,his prejudice against country people, with her own prideful anger—in biting wit and sometimes sarcastic remarks—directed towards him. (Elizabeth's disposition leads her into prejudices regarding Darcy and others, such that she is unable to 'sketch' their characters accurately.)
Soon, Bingley and Jane begin to grow close. Elizabeth's best friend, Charlotte, advises that Jane should show heraffection to Bingley more openly, as he may not realise that she is indeed interested in him. Elizabeth flippantly dismisses the opinion—replying that Jane is shy and modest, and that if Bingley can't see how she feels, he is a simpleton—and she doesn't tell Jane of Charlotte's warning. Later Elizabeth begins a friendship with Mr Wickham, a militia officer who is of long personal acquaintance withDarcy—they grew up together. Wickham tells her he has been seriously mistreated by the proud man; Elizabeth seizes on this news as further reason to dislike Darcy. Ironically, Darcy begins to find himself drawn to Elizabeth, unbeknownst to her.
Mr Collins, the male relative who is to inherit Longbourn, makes an appearance and stays with the Bennets. Recently ordained a clergyman, he is employed as parishrector by the wealthy and patronising Lady Catherine de Bourgh of Kent. Mr Bennet and Elizabeth are amused by his self-important and pedantic behaviour. Though his stated reason for visiting is to reconcile with the Bennets, Collins soon confides to Mrs Bennet that he wishes to find a wife from among the Bennet sisters. He first offers to pursue Jane; however, Mrs Bennet mentions that her eldestdaughter is soon likely to be engaged, and redirects his attentions to Elizabeth.
At a ball given by Bingley at Netherfield, Elizabeth intends to deepen her acquaintance with Mr Wickham, who, however, fails to appear. She is asked to dance by Mr Darcy; here she raises Wickham's fate with him, causing their harmonious dance to fall into a 'testy' discussion. The ball proceeds as spectacle: the...
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