Jane Austen’s 1813 novel tells the story of a young and wealthy young man, Charles Bingley, who rents an estate in Hertfordshire, causing havoc and disagreements between the girls in the country, who see him as an excellent party. Bingley organizes a dance in Netherfield, during which he falls in love with the eldest daughter of the Bennet family, Jane. His friend Fitz-William Darcy despises both Lizzy, the second child, and the whole family, attracting their dislikes. The Bennet family lives in very modest conditions and Mrs. Bennet, who is described as vulgar and tactless, puts her daughters in a bad light so that Darcy, seeing his friend destined for a wedding without prestige, tries to make him change his mind .
He is determined to do this, but at the second dance of the month he falls in love with Lizzy, who however considers him a haughty and unpleasant person due to the rude behavior towards him during the dance. Mrs. Bennet sends her daughter Jane to visit Mr. Bingley in bad weather, confident that she would get stuck there and the two young men would get to know each other. Her plan succeeds perfectly, as Jane gets sick and stays with the Bingleys for days, assisted by her sister Lizzy. During this period, Lizzy and Darcy know each other better, even if no one seems interested in the other, moreover, the Bingley sisters have an increasingly negative opinion of Elisabeth.
Days later, the eldest daughters returned, the news of the visit of Mr. Collins, a clergyman who is under the protection of Lady de Bourgh and who would have inherited the Longbourn estate at the death of Mr. Bennet, arrives at the Bennet house. He wants to look for a wife and chooses to find her among the Bennet daughters, whose beauty was known, but finds rejection from his favorite, Lizzy. He then married Charlotte Lucas, who was more interested in money than in the person. Around April-May Lizzy goes to visit Charlotte, who lives in Rosings, near the Lady de Bourgh estate. Here comes Mr. Darcy, related to the owner, and finally declares his love for Elisabeth. However, since he cannot bring out from his own words the sacrifice of pride that it costs him to marry with a lower class girl, Elisabeth rejects him. Some time later, the two meet in the north of England, where Elisabeth is with her uncles, and Fitz-William manages to explain them, this time with convincing tones, because he wants to marry her, but without getting an answer.
Those days in Derbyshire Lizzy was enchanted, a guest on the Pemberly estate, and gradually fell in love with Darcy. When everything seems to be going well, and even Charles and Jane are getting closer, Lydia, another of Bennet’s daughters, runs away from home with George Wickam, a nice young officer, but with not too noble feelings. To avoid the scandal, Fitz-William manages to reach the two fugitives and forces the officer to marry Lydia. At the same time Charles and Jane get engaged, because Mr. Darcy no longer hinders this union, while the last to see their love finally realized will be precisely Mr. Darcy and Elisabeth, hindered to the end by his proud aunt, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, who wished to see his daughter and nephew married. The novel ends with some letters that explain to the reader how the lives of the protagonists are presented to events that have finally ended.
PRIDE AND INJURY: CHARACTERS
The protagonist, Elisabeth, is the expression of what Jane Austen should look like. Although not beautiful, with eyes that capture attention, she manages, thanks to her intelligence and liveliness, to marry the most important and coveted man, Mr. Darcy. The relationship between the two is not easy at the beginning. Social barriers contrast them. On the one hand there is the pride of Darcy who suffers a terrible blow when he realizes that he is in love with a woman of a lower class and with so little “worthy” relatives; on the other there is Elisabeth’s prejudice towards the man who at first had considered her barely passable and who afterwards asked her in marriage in such an offensive way. But both in the course of history grow internally, change their minds and realize their mistakes.
PRIDE AND INJURY: ANALYSIS AND ENVIRONMENT
Jane Austen does more than just analyze and represent the two main characters. The author describes the whole society of that period. The respectable women had no job ambitions: the ladies spent time chatting, reading poetry, writing letters, singing or playing the piano. Dances were considered an important opportunity to find a husband. To have a respectable place in society, a woman had to marry a prestigious man. But for many women, a good and “convenient” marriage was the only device in their lives. People usually married someone from their class, strictly following the rigidity of social classes, since getting married in a different class could have created problems.