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Notes on Pride and Prejudice Themes

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Pride and Prejudice Topic Tracking: Pride

Volume 1, Chapter 1

Pride 1: Pride plays a very important part in Pride and Prejudice because it is a constant source of misunderstanding and misinterpretation. Social standing and proper etiquette were a large part of British society at this time, especially in the upper classes where fortunes were inherited and time was spent socializing, rather than working for a living. Mrs. Bennet's quest to marry off her daughters highlights the pride that was taken in a good match for a couple at that time. Mrs. Bennet's goal was to marry her daughters to men of a good social standing, preferably men a little wealthier than the Bennet family to assure their comfort and stability.

Volume 1, Chapter 3

Pride 2: Mr. Darcy is one of the proudest characters of the novel. His wealth and his manners are impeccable, but there is something about him that makes all the people of Elizabeth's neighborhood regard him as snobby. He creates this reputation for himself when he considers himself too good to dance with any of the local girls. It is taken as an insult to the entire neighborhood, and it won't be forgotten any time soon. Elizabeth, however, takes this insult very personally because she overhears him saying that she is not pretty enough for him. Elizabeth, though not as pretty as Jane, is considered very pretty by the standards of her neighborhood, and her own pride is hurt at such a comment from Mr. Darcy despite her efforts to pretend it doesn't matter what he thinks.

Volume 1, Chapter 5

Pride 3: Elizabeth and Charlotte agree that a man as accomplished and as handsome as Mr. Darcy should be a proud man. They can understand that aspect of his personality. But they don't feel that his right to his pride should give him the freedom to be rude and insulting to other people.

Volume 1, Chapter 6

Pride 4: Elizabeth is proud of her own rational thinking. It's what she considers her greatest trait. Elizabeth believes that the decisions that she makes are right, so although she considers Charlotte's suggestion that Jane acting so controlled around Bingley might cause a miscommunication, Elizabeth ultimately decides that her own plan for Jane to remain aloof until she knows Bingley better is the best plan. Elizabeth's plan also allows for Jane's protection from the humiliation of being dumped by Bingley if he turns out to be a jerk. Elizabeth doesn't want to see her sister embarrassed that way.

Pride 5: Although Darcy seems to have made up his mind about Elizabeth at the first ball, he has changed his mind about her. He's not too proud to reconsider, but she doesn't know that. She thinks that his odd way of following her around and eavesdropping is his way of making fun of her, and she is too proud to be insulted that way, so she is rude to him. Mary's embarrassing display doesn't make it any easier for Elizabeth to realize that Darcy might have developed an interest in her.

Pride 6: Darcy and Elizabeth once again butt heads. Darcy, who had been too proud to dance with anyone, is now willing and happy to dance with Elizabeth, but her pride won't let her dance with him. She doesn't like him, and she thinks that he's offering to dance with her out of pity or because he feels obligated, and she's too proud to be his charity case.

Volume 1, Chapter 7

Pride 7: Elizabeth knows that it's improper for her to walk three miles in the mud without even an escort, but she doesn't care about how it will look to the Bingleys and Mr. Darcy because she's worried for her sister's health. She knows that Jane must feel terrible about being an imposition to the Bingleys, and she doesn't want Jane to suffer alone. Although Elizabeth is embarrassed at her appearance, she knows that taking care of Jane is more important than her pride. When Miss Bingley tries to bait Darcy into talking badly about Elizabeth, she gets nowhere.

Volume 1, Chapter 18

Pride 8: Elizabeth is embarrassed by the way that her mother and her younger sisters behave at Bingley's ball. She knows that her family doesn't quite measure up to the rules and behaviors of polite society, but she prides herself on her own awareness and behavior. When her family behaves this way, she knows that they are making fools of themselves, but she can't ever seem to minimize the damage that they do. She also realizes that she and Jane may be considered crude and silly because they are part of the Bennet family despite the fact that she and Jane don't fit that description.

Volume 2, Chapter 13

Pride 9: Elizabeth realizes that her pride got in the way of her judgment where Wickham and Darcy were concerned. She was so miffed that Darcy wasn't flattering to her from the beginning that she refused to let herself see his goodness. By the same token, she was so taken with Wickham's charm and flattery that she did not see his deceit.

Volume 3, Chapter 2

Pride 10: Elizabeth seems to wish that Darcy still cared for her, but she knows that he's too proud to ever let her know if he does care for her because she refused him when he proposed to her. She's also too proud to just come out and ask him how he feels because she doesn't want to be rejected, either.

Volume 3, Chapter 12

Pride 11: Now that Elizabeth realizes how much she cares for Darcy, she knows that it is too late for them because she has wounded his pride by refusing him once and she knows that he is too proud to ever try to win her over again.

Volume 3, Chapter 18

Pride 12: Elizabeth and Darcy are both swallowing their pride and going out on a limb to admit that they are in love. They have both seen past their hasty first impressions and misconceptions to realize that they are perfect for one another.

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