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Thread: Themes of pride and prejudice (Pleeeease! Need help, to do a presentation about it)

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    Dragon lover Bluebiird's Avatar
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    Question Themes of pride and prejudice (Pleeeease! Need help, to do a presentation about it)

    In my Enrichment English class, we're reading Pride and Prejudice and now I have a presentation to do on the subject, and I'm working alone on it; everyone else got into their little groups, leaving me high and dry with the subject no one else wanted.
    Anyway. The presentation is about themes of pride and/or prejudice in 'Pride and Prejudice'.
    I get the basics; Mr Darcy's pride and Lizzy's prejudice, but I can't just do a presentation on that, as much as I'd like to. Mr Bingley's sisters also seem to exhibit an awful lot of pride. But I need to delve a bit deeper into the subject, and that, I'm afraid, is where I have gotten stuck. At the moment, I am unable to find any other themes of pride and/or prejudice in the book. And this is why I ask you, the good members of online-literature.com, for your help. Please, I am in great need of your help.
    I would insert a begging face, but I'm not sure where to find one. So, please inturpret this as cute, begging, puppy dog eyes.
    Last edited by Bluebiird; 01-20-2006 at 08:14 AM.
    No doubt but there is none other beeste comparable to the mightie dragon in awsome power and majestie, and few so worthie of the diligent studies of wise men - Gildas Magnus, Ars Draconis, 1465

  2. #2
    As someone who has had to answer students’ complaints that ‘this book isn’t relevant today’, I have many times had to suggest themes that show that the book is very much relevant to today. The most well represented themes in the novel are love/marriage/relationships. Most of us will find these to be relevant in our lives.

    You could construct a useful discussion of the theme of marriage by looking at a few very different marriages:

    Mr. And Mrs. Bennet – she was young and pretty and he was ‘captivated by youth and beauty’.
    Elizabeth and Darcy – a marriage almost of equals, to the benefit of both.
    Charlotte Lucas and Collins – a minor tragedy in the novel – Charlotte marries him for financial security, even though he is grotesque.
    Wickham and Lydia – an attraction based purely on lust, which becomes enshrined in marriage for less than admirable reasons.

    Other themes would include upbringing and the family (look at the way the Bennet parents bring up their children), education (you could look at Collins and Mary here) and snobbery as well as pride (interesting to consider the difference – I wouldn’t call Darcy a snob).

  3. #3
    Dragon lover Bluebiird's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Unnamable
    (interesting to consider the difference – I wouldn’t call Darcy a snob).
    Neither would I. I would just call him proud, too proud, hence the title of the book. My presentation on themes of pride and/or prejudice in 'Pride and Prejudice' will, no doubt, go into Mr Darcy's pride quite a lot. Are there and other themes of pride in the book?
    Likewise, with Lizzy's prejudice, I'll go into that quite a lot too. But, are there any other themes of prejudice in the book?
    I ask this, because, though I've seen the film, and I have also seen some of the TV series version in class, we have not yet even got half way through the book; not even a quater. I'm not sure if there are many examples of pride and/or prejudice in the chapters we've read, I can't seem to find them. Can anyone give me some examples of pride and/or prejudice shown in the book? Pleeeeaseeee. My presentation's due on Monday, and it's now Friday.
    Begging eyes again
    No doubt but there is none other beeste comparable to the mightie dragon in awsome power and majestie, and few so worthie of the diligent studies of wise men - Gildas Magnus, Ars Draconis, 1465

  4. #4
    Why don’t you finish the book first on your own (that will earn you the esteem of your teacher) then you can use other parts of the book to give your presentation.

    There are plenty of other examples of pride in the novel. It’s a strange thing, pride. It’s one of the Seven Deadly Sins, yet most people would never hesitate to talk about how proud they are of something.
    Anyway, there is the misplaced intellectual pride of Mary. She’s the sister who Mr. Bennet enjoys mocking:

    “What say you, Mary? for you are a young lady of deep reflection I know, and read great books, and make extracts.''

    Mary wished to say something very sensible, but knew not how.

    ``While Mary is adjusting her ideas,'' he continued, ``let us return to Mr. Bingley.''”

    Chapter 2



    I love that – especially as there are so many people who would be ‘horrified’ at a father treating his daughter in this way – encouraging her stupidity for his own amusement.

    There is the simple haughty pride of Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Her pride is also misplaced – her social status, based on wealth and privilege, leads her to grossly overestimate her own worth and talents. She believes that she could have done anything:

    “There are few people in England, I suppose, who have more true enjoyment of music than myself, or a better natural taste. If I had ever learnt, I should have been a great proficient.”
    Chapter 31

    What nonsense – we could all say that – doesn’t make it true, though.

    Her pride also leads her to think that only her own feelings are important. She is simply rude here and has no idea that she is so:

    “I have told Miss Bennet several times, that she will never play really well, unless she practises more; and though Mrs. Collins has no instrument, she is very welcome, as I have often told her, to come to Rosings every day, and play on the piano forte in Mrs. Jenkinson's room. She would be in nobody's way, you know, in that part of the house.''

    Mr. Darcy looked a little ashamed of his aunt's ill breeding, and made no answer.”


    Darcy’s response is interesting – he can see her rudeness and is more than embarrassed by it. His pride is far more excusable than hers. If you really want to think about this, look for examples of Darcy’s pride. I don’t think there are many, even though everyone assumes that he’s the epitome of pride.

    The following thoughts are Elizabeth’s (and by this time she’s in love with him so she’s biased) but there is a good point about prejudice as well here:

    “They had nothing to accuse him of but pride; pride he probably had, and if not, it would certainly be imputed by the inhabitants of a small market-town where the family did not visit.” Chapter 44

    Isn’t Austen also pointing out the prejudices these “inhabitants of a small market-town”? They make up their minds about him simply from the fact that he doesn’t visit their town. They assume his reason is pride but they don’t actually know. Isn’t that to pre-judge someone?


    Here’s a section from chapter 8 that might be useful. Louisa and Caroline Bingley are discussing the Bennets with their brother and Darcy:

    ""I have an excessive regard for Jane Bennet, she is really a very sweet girl, and I wish with all my heart she were well settled. But with such a father and mother, and such low connections, I am afraid there is no chance of it.''

    "I think I have heard you say, that their uncle is an attorney in Meryton.''

    "Yes; and they have another, who lives somewhere near Cheapside.''

    "That is capital,'' added her sister, and they both laughed heartily.

    "If they had uncles enough to fill all Cheapside,'' cried Bingley, ``it would not make them one jot less agreeable.''

    "But it must very materially lessen their chance of marrying men of any consideration in the world,'' replied Darcy.

    To this speech Bingley made no answer; but his sisters gave it their hearty assent, and indulged their mirth for some time at the expense of their dear friend's vulgar relations."


    To live in Meryton or Cheapside is indicative of social inferiority in the eyes of the Bingley sisters. They sneer at the socially inferior. It might spring from their own pride but it seems to me simple prejudice. The attorney in Meryton might be a really nice man but they have decided he deserves their contempt because of where he works.

    Bingley’s response tells us a lot about him. He doesn’t mind if the Bennets have relatives all over Cheapside, he still likes them – and that is based on meeting them in person, not simply from knowing their social standing. However, he doesn’t say, "what does it matter if they do live in Cheapside?" – in other words, he does feel that they are socially inferior. Which brings us to Darcy’s comment. At first, it might just sound like a piece of haughty pride or snobbery. However, what he says is true. Whether it’s just or not, the Bennet sisters’ chances of marrying what Darcy calls ‘men of any consideration’ will be limited. Perhaps he’s rather brusque but that doesn’t make him proud or snobby. The same point could have been made by Bingley, except that he would have made it sound much more like a cause for regret – a sort of ‘sad but true’ approach. Yet we wouldn’t think of Bingley as proud. I think a lot of Darcy’s supposed pride is due to the assumptions people have about him because of his manner. You might say, “yes – his manner is proud” but people are only seeing the first thing they want to see. There is a lot more to Darcy than pride.

    Mr Bingley’s not responding to Darcy here is one of the things I really like about Jane Austen’s characterisation. Already Bingley is convincing enough as a character for me to think about why he doesn’t respond. Does he agree with Darcy but is too uncomfortable with what he considers is pride or snobbery to agree? Does he disagree? In which case, why doesn’t he say so? Is it because he is intimidated by Darcy and knows he will probably lose the argument anyway? Is it a combination? The nature of the man is revealed through not responding.

    The Bingley sisters end the extract with “his sisters gave it their hearty assent, and indulged their mirth for some time at the expense of their dear friend's vulgar relations.” They are really unpleasant. You can spot the narrator’s stance through the use of ‘dear friend’. This is how they had referred to her to her face but now she’s not there, they have a good laugh at her simply because she doesn’t have their wealth and privilege.

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    Dragon lover Bluebiird's Avatar
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    Thank you very much for your help 'The Unnamable'.
    I should explain about the book. We're reading it in my english enrichment class, which is only for the last two lessons on every Monday. Also, I don't own my own copy, no one in the class does, we're reading the school's books. We have to read it aloud so it takes even longer. I think I'll get my own copy, but it won't do much good now, you see, the presentation's due in 3 days time, and I am a detestably slow reader. So, now you can see why I had to ask for help. Though I'll probably get my own copy over the weekend, a head start is always good.

    I must say thank you again though, you have saved my skin, and given me a different view of things in the book.
    Please accept this happy face as a further thank you.

    And a dancing banana
    No doubt but there is none other beeste comparable to the mightie dragon in awsome power and majestie, and few so worthie of the diligent studies of wise men - Gildas Magnus, Ars Draconis, 1465

  6. #6
    Smile and banana gratefully received. I’m always happy to discuss Pride and Prejudice. Although Emma is my favourite, I have a special affection for Pride and Prejudice and know it well.

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    Moderator Logos's Avatar
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    Bluebiird, I know it's not the same as wrapping your hands around a great book, but there is fully searchable text on this site

    http://www.online-literature.com/austen/prideprejudice/
    Forum » Rules » FAQ » Tags » Blogs » Groups » Quizzes » e-Texts »
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    Smile Need to do book review of the book 'Pride and Prejudice'

    Hi friends,

    i am doing a book review on this book. i need help on the following points:

    1)Presentaion Style/Sequence of events, and its impact on readability
    2)Narrative Style of the book, Choice of words(whether they are common or rare)
    3)Compare the book with any of its kind, read before.

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    Marked. and i will prepare for my thesis for it....

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    Talking This helped me a lot. Thanks

    Quote Originally Posted by The Unnamable View Post
    Why don’t you finish the book first on your own (that will earn you the esteem of your teacher) then you can use other parts of the book to give your presentation.

    There are plenty of other examples of pride in the novel. It’s a strange thing, pride. It’s one of the Seven Deadly Sins, yet most people would never hesitate to talk about how proud they are of something.
    Anyway, there is the misplaced intellectual pride of Mary. She’s the sister who Mr. Bennet enjoys mocking:

    “What say you, Mary? for you are a young lady of deep reflection I know, and read great books, and make extracts.''

    Mary wished to say something very sensible, but knew not how.

    ``While Mary is adjusting her ideas,'' he continued, ``let us return to Mr. Bingley.''”

    Chapter 2



    I love that – especially as there are so many people who would be ‘horrified’ at a father treating his daughter in this way – encouraging her stupidity for his own amusement.

    There is the simple haughty pride of Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Her pride is also misplaced – her social status, based on wealth and privilege, leads her to grossly overestimate her own worth and talents. She believes that she could have done anything:

    “There are few people in England, I suppose, who have more true enjoyment of music than myself, or a better natural taste. If I had ever learnt, I should have been a great proficient.”
    Chapter 31

    What nonsense – we could all say that – doesn’t make it true, though.

    Her pride also leads her to think that only her own feelings are important. She is simply rude here and has no idea that she is so:

    “I have told Miss Bennet several times, that she will never play really well, unless she practises more; and though Mrs. Collins has no instrument, she is very welcome, as I have often told her, to come to Rosings every day, and play on the piano forte in Mrs. Jenkinson's room. She would be in nobody's way, you know, in that part of the house.''

    Mr. Darcy looked a little ashamed of his aunt's ill breeding, and made no answer.”


    Darcy’s response is interesting – he can see her rudeness and is more than embarrassed by it. His pride is far more excusable than hers. If you really want to think about this, look for examples of Darcy’s pride. I don’t think there are many, even though everyone assumes that he’s the epitome of pride.

    The following thoughts are Elizabeth’s (and by this time she’s in love with him so she’s biased) but there is a good point about prejudice as well here:

    “They had nothing to accuse him of but pride; pride he probably had, and if not, it would certainly be imputed by the inhabitants of a small market-town where the family did not visit.” Chapter 44

    Isn’t Austen also pointing out the prejudices these “inhabitants of a small market-town”? They make up their minds about him simply from the fact that he doesn’t visit their town. They assume his reason is pride but they don’t actually know. Isn’t that to pre-judge someone?


    Here’s a section from chapter 8 that might be useful. Louisa and Caroline Bingley are discussing the Bennets with their brother and Darcy:

    ""I have an excessive regard for Jane Bennet, she is really a very sweet girl, and I wish with all my heart she were well settled. But with such a father and mother, and such low connections, I am afraid there is no chance of it.''

    "I think I have heard you say, that their uncle is an attorney in Meryton.''

    "Yes; and they have another, who lives somewhere near Cheapside.''

    "That is capital,'' added her sister, and they both laughed heartily.

    "If they had uncles enough to fill all Cheapside,'' cried Bingley, ``it would not make them one jot less agreeable.''

    "But it must very materially lessen their chance of marrying men of any consideration in the world,'' replied Darcy.

    To this speech Bingley made no answer; but his sisters gave it their hearty assent, and indulged their mirth for some time at the expense of their dear friend's vulgar relations."


    To live in Meryton or Cheapside is indicative of social inferiority in the eyes of the Bingley sisters. They sneer at the socially inferior. It might spring from their own pride but it seems to me simple prejudice. The attorney in Meryton might be a really nice man but they have decided he deserves their contempt because of where he works.

    Bingley’s response tells us a lot about him. He doesn’t mind if the Bennets have relatives all over Cheapside, he still likes them – and that is based on meeting them in person, not simply from knowing their social standing. However, he doesn’t say, "what does it matter if they do live in Cheapside?" – in other words, he does feel that they are socially inferior. Which brings us to Darcy’s comment. At first, it might just sound like a piece of haughty pride or snobbery. However, what he says is true. Whether it’s just or not, the Bennet sisters’ chances of marrying what Darcy calls ‘men of any consideration’ will be limited. Perhaps he’s rather brusque but that doesn’t make him proud or snobby. The same point could have been made by Bingley, except that he would have made it sound much more like a cause for regret – a sort of ‘sad but true’ approach. Yet we wouldn’t think of Bingley as proud. I think a lot of Darcy’s supposed pride is due to the assumptions people have about him because of his manner. You might say, “yes – his manner is proud” but people are only seeing the first thing they want to see. There is a lot more to Darcy than pride.

    Mr Bingley’s not responding to Darcy here is one of the things I really like about Jane Austen’s characterisation. Already Bingley is convincing enough as a character for me to think about why he doesn’t respond. Does he agree with Darcy but is too uncomfortable with what he considers is pride or snobbery to agree? Does he disagree? In which case, why doesn’t he say so? Is it because he is intimidated by Darcy and knows he will probably lose the argument anyway? Is it a combination? The nature of the man is revealed through not responding.

    The Bingley sisters end the extract with “his sisters gave it their hearty assent, and indulged their mirth for some time at the expense of their dear friend's vulgar relations.” They are really unpleasant. You can spot the narrator’s stance through the use of ‘dear friend’. This is how they had referred to her to her face but now she’s not there, they have a good laugh at her simply because she doesn’t have their wealth and privilege.
    Your post has given me a lot of important pointers. I'm in the 2nd year of my undergraduate study. I'm a student of literature and am searching for materials for my exams and also to start working on a few theses. Thank you.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Logos View Post
    Bluebiird, I know it's not the same as wrapping your hands around a great book, but there is fully searchable text on this site

    http://www.online-literature.com/austen/prideprejudice/
    Logos, I really miss the ability to access a book from a forum discussion on that book. For instance: http://www.online-literature.com/for...-and-Prejudice.

    Since the revamp of The Literature Forum site a few months ago, the link to the book on each discussion web-page has gone, and there seems no quick way to access the book. Why was such a useful feature removed?
    "Love does not alter the beloved, it alters itself"

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