Thursday, February 17, 2011

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen


Pride and Prejudice, written by the very talented Jane Austen, tells the story of the many conflicts involved with finding love. The story begins with Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, the parents of five young women, discussing that a young man named Mr. Bingley has just purchased Netherfield, a home not far from theirs. Mrs. Bennet is overjoyed to hear such great news. She instantly imagines that this rich man is bound to marry one of her daughters. As the story progresses, Mrs. Bennet becomes increasingly assertive in her quest to have all of her children married off. Her daughters attend many balls and meet many men throughout the story’s plot, some of which include Mr. Bingley, Darcy, Mr. Collins and Mr. Wickham. Jane, the oldest daughter likes Mr. Bingley and he seems to really like her too. On the other hand, Elizabeth (the second oldest) meets Darcy and instantly finds him unbearable and arrogant, when he refuses to dance with her at a ball. Things start to change though as the story progresses and Darcy proposes to Elizabeth, only for her to reject him. This incident makes Mrs. Bennet furious because one of her daughters had the chance to get married, but instead turned him down. While Elizabeth is out of town visiting Darcy, she receives a letter stating that her youngest sister, Lydia, has eloped with Mr. Wickham. This news shocks everyone so Elizabeth apologizes to Darcy for leaving so quickly and then returns home. No one can find Lydia which causes the whole family anxiety because they know that if the two don’t have an official wedding the entire family’s reputation could be ruined. Luckily they are able to find Lydia and Wickham, but Wickham agrees to the marriage only if the Bennets will provide him with a small income in return. They quickly agree and Lydia marries Mr. Wickham soon afterward. Next, Mr. Bingley finally asks Jane to marry him and they soon marry, which pleases the whole family. Darcy comes to visit often, and Elizabeth finds out that Darcy is the one who found her sister and paid Wickham. This news, coupled with Elizabeth’s gradual change in feelings toward Darcy, leads Darcy to ask for Elizabeth’s hand in marriage and this time, she accepts it. Love conquered Darcy’s pride in social status, while love also proves more important than Elizabeth’s prejudice.
1. In the novel, marriage was extremely important because women were looked down upon after a certain age if they were unable to find a gentleman to marry. Women were couldn't inherit anything, therefore; women were completely dependent on men. Do you think that this way of living is more difficult than what women face today?
2. Mrs. Bennet is very critical of her daughter's choices of whom they should marry, to the point where they were practically forcing Jane to marry Mr. Bingley. Do you think that parents should have that much control over their child's life?

24 comments:

Erika B 13-14 said...

1. While I still believe that women do not have completely equal rights to men today, I do think we have it much easier today than we did back then. There are many single mothers who are surviving in comfortable living conditions today, whereas back then it would have been extremely difficult to be a single mother. Since the husband, or sons, used to be the only people in the house who worked, it would have been nearly impossible for a woman to be independent when they depended so much on the income their husbands brought in.

2. I do believe that parents should have some say in their child's life, but it should be very little and only be an opinion - not something that the child actually has to do. Mrs. Bennet goes way over the line by basically forcing Jane to marry someone she doesn't want to. While her opinion should be valued by Jane, in the end it is up to her to decide who she wants to marry and not her mother.

Amanda Z. 11-12 said...

1. I agree with Erika about womens' rights. Today, it is much easier to be a successful, single woman than it was back then. Though I do not think woman are equal with men yet, I think we are close.
2. I think that parents' opinions should be considered when it comes to their children, but they shouldn't necessrily have a say in any matter. They can be there for advice and assistance but I think true decisions need to be made by the son or daughter, especially in the case of marriage.

Mike B 13-14 said...

I think a parents opinion should be valued but not followed blindly. Parents shouldnt choose the person their child marries that choice is up to the child. It is important for parents to let their children to make choices for themselves to allow them to grow as adults.

Brad S 11-12 said...

1. I believe the psychological effect of "not being equal" is a far more terrible price than being treated equally and having the same rights as men. It is probably easier for women to live now than it was when they were looked down on. The toll of not being treated like men would probably wear down on the female population and they might act out in anger of unfair treatment.

MaryL11-12 said...

1. It all depends on what you mean by difficult. I think today women have a lot more opportunities and aren't trapped into marriage if they don't want to be - they can choose to be successful on their own. So in that sense, no I don't believe that it's more difficult. On the other hand, because women have more opportunities, more are expected of them than before. Today, a woman with an education is regarded higher than a housewife, because that woman worked her way to the top. In that sense, yes, women have it more difficult nowadays.
2. No I don't. I think that parents need to do the best they can to raise their child right when they're growing up - teach them right from wrong and so on and so forth. But after a certain point it's time to let the kid choose for themselves. If they choose the wrong path, they will have to suffer the consequences, and will hopefully learn from their mistakes the first time around.

allie s 11-12 said...

In todays world it is much easier to be a woman i believe. We have many more opportunities and can do many other stuff we weren't aloud to do back then. So the way of life is better. Parents should have some say in the life of their children but they shouldn't have all the say, and they shouldn't have the last say. So i guess at the end of the day, parents can voice their opinions but it is the child that has control over their own life.

Betsy C 1314 said...

To answer the second question, I do think that parents should have a degree of control, but not the extent of chosing who the kid should marry. The saying that hindsight is 20/20 often comes into account in life, but it really isn't fair for a parent to control a big issue like marriage.

Hayley D 11/12 said...

I definitely agree with all of the points that everyone brought up. I share the same opinion that life is much easier for women in today's society. I still think that certain areas could be improved upon in order to make things equal. Like many of you said, I also believe that parents should help their children as well as they possibly can. But I feel like some parents try to control every little thing in life, in an attempt to continuously help them. But no one can learn when things are just handed to them. Therefore, it is best that parents gradually release their control as their children grow older. Not under any circumstance should parents make major life decisions for their children (like choosing their future spouse).

Kristen T. 11-12 said...

To answer question 1, I feel that this could go both ways. Women today have the opportunity to be independent and provide for themselves. This is a good thing because it offers the woman so much more freedom than she would have had during the time of this story. This could also be a bad thing, however, because having to be dependent on oneself without the help of anyone else could be difficult. All in all, I would say it is easier for women to live today just because they are given so many more opportunities and have so many more chances to prove themselves to society. Women in today's society are respected from so many different aspects, where in the time of the story women were defined solely by their marriage. If that marriage wasn't perfect, a reputation could have been ruined.

To answer question 2, I feel that parents should not have that much influence over who their daughter marries. There is nothing wrong with a daughter taking into consideration the opinions of her parents, but in the end she should make her own decision based on what she wants because she knows best what she wants. If it ends up being a mistake, then that is a good learning experience for the daughter. A girl cannot solely rely on the opinions of her parents for her entire life or she will never be able to think for herself.

Kaitlyn S. 13-14 said...

1. I think that way of living is more difficult than today. I agree with Erica in saying that single women back then would have a hard time since they don't usually handle financials or work. As time went on I think that they would come to resent the way that they have been treated.
2. Parents should not have that much influence over their children's lives. I do think that they should be able to state their opinions or offer advice to help make sure their child is choosing right or making the decision with a clear head.

Heather M. 13-14 said...

I do believe that life for women back then was much harder than it is today. Even though women have continued to be looked upon as less important than men, they still have gained many rights and have become very more independent over years. Women now have the opportunity to be successful on their own, without having to marry someone and be completely dependent on them

Julie S. 5-6 said...

In answer to the second question I think the parents should provide some helpful advice but not that much influence. Mainly because they aren't the ones who have to live in the marriage.

Hannah L 13-14 said...

2. I believe that parents should have some control over their child's life, but it is their life so they need to be able to make their own decisions because they will be the ones living with the choices they make, not their parents. I think that parents should give advice and opinions in matters like this but I do not think that those opinions should make the child feel like they have to do what is advised. I think that parents should also be supportive of the decisions the child makes, so although they may not neccessarily agree with the choice, they should be supportive and attempt to help the child in any way they can.

Joe K. 11-12 said...

To answer question number 2, parents should not have that much influence in their child's life. There is a big difference between caring and having an opinion and overstepping your boundaries. Parents should guide and provide advice, heeding warnings, but should not force their child or children to do something that they are dead set against doing. Part of life is making choices and then living with those choices, parents should not manually alter that decision making process.

Laura B. 13-14 said...

2) I believe that parents are there to help aid their children in making the right decisions for them. However, I do not think it is the right of either of the parents to take complete control over their children's lives.

Natalie S Mods 5-6 said...

2) I do not think parents should have that much control over their children. Parents should have an influential opinion over their child's life-altering decisions but it is the child's life so ultimately the decision should fall on the child. Parents raise their children in hopes that they teach them to make decisions that they would approve of and at some point the parents must step back and let their child be his/her own person.

Matt P. 13-14 said...

2. I do not feel that parents should have that big of an influence on their child's life, as marriage will last the rest of their life. I feel that it is the job of the parents to teach their child important life lessons, but the choice ultimately should land with the child because it will effect them. Parents can help to inform their children about whatever issue may be at hand, in this case marriage, but it should be the child's choice in the end because they should have that right.

Tyler C. 5-6 said...

2. To marry or not to marry is one of the defining choices a person must make in their life. Sure, if you have a good relationship with your parents you might want to make sure they accept your chosen partner, but should they chose your partner for you? Absolutely not.

Hayley D 11/12 said...

All of us seem to have the exact same opinion in terms of question #2. As young adults we can put ourselves in Jane's position and we see that parents are entitled to give their opinions on matters that effect us, but they shouldn't force us into doing something that we didn't fully decide on for ourselves.

Kara K. 5/6 said...

1. I think this way of living life is definently way more difficult than what we face today. They were unable to do anything for themselves. This allows them to have no independence. If I had no independence, then I would not know what to do with myself.
2. I feel that parents should not have that much control over their childs life. I think us children should be able to determine who that are going to be with for the rest of our lives. If someone got stuck with another that they hated, their lives would be miserable.

Kali D. 13-14 said...

I think parents should not have much control over a child's life. I feel it's the child's duty to make mistakes in life and learn from them, and to figure things out on their own. I think children need to know when they are making good and bad choices and we learn these from what our parents have taught us in the past.

James F (11-12) said...

1.yes because women now have all of the opportunities that men have. women are a huge part in society in america. so in america at least that old way of dependence was much harder. women couldnt be their own person.
2.parents are very helpful and supportive in life. kids need their parents until they are able to care for themselves. but parents are not depended on as much after a certain age. for example marriage. when someone is going to marry someone they get to choose who they love. parents cannot do this for their kids.

KatherineS13-14 said...

1) Women today most definately have it easier than the life women had to live back then. Although a woman's life is not easy today, nobody's life really is, it is much easier for a woman today because it is no longer necesary to depend on a man to support her. Women can now be strong and independent without a man by her side to "keep her in her place." A woman's place is now where ever she wants it to be, whether it be in the workforce, or at home.

Mrs. Sherwood said...

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