Our discussion of Pride and Prejudice has been broken into multiple parts. You can find the prior discussion here: Volume I, Volume II, Volume III to Chapter X. Here we discuss Volume 3 from Chapter X to the end of the novel:
1. The question, “who knows what and when” is an important one in the book because knowledge influences opinion.
When you’re in the business of being happy, opinions matter. Consider that statement in light of Mrs. Bennet’s impression of Darcy on p. 217. Does she know everything she should know in order to form an opinion of Darcy?
2. Is what Mrs. Bennet wants for her children directly tied to what she wants for herself? p. 223.
3. Does Elizabeth ever seem concerned with what her elders think of her? p. 232.
4. What is the novel’s main idea?
Could you make an argument it’s expressed at p. 233 when Elizabeth expresses the touchstone by which she chooses to live her life: “I am only resolved to act in that manner, which will, in my own opinion, constitute my happiness, without reference to you, or to any person so wholly unconnected with me.” Does Elizabeth manage to act this way at all times?
5. Does Elizabeth change Darcy, permanently?
At p. 241 Darcy says Elizabeth has “properly humbled” him. In what way? Will the effect of that humbling be permanent? Will it last a life time?
6. Did Pemberley change Elizabeth’s opinion of Darcy, and, if so, what about the visit did it? p. 244
I had previously asked whether you thought Elizabeth’s visiting Pemberley would change her opinion of Darcy. On p. 244 she admits as much. A few pages later, on p. 248 there appears to be a contradiction. On p. 248 Elizabeth is not willing to say what changed her opinion of Darcy or when it started to change. How can you explain the contradiction? Is it a matter of who Elizabeth is talking to? Does this present a problem for Elizabeth if she is to live by caring only about her own opinion of herself as opposed to by everyone else’s? How can you reconcile the two positions about when her mind started to change with regard to Darcy?
7. Will Elizabeth and Darcy live “happily ever-after?”
8. Is reading Pride and Prejudice today a form of escapism?
9. Does the fact that Jane Austen would be expected to read her novels at gatherings of family and friends change her approach to writing the novel? Might she be more concealing on certain points? Might she exaggerate certain characters’ traits to avoid having any of her family and friends recognize themselves in the novel?
10. Go back and read the 1st sentence of the novel again. Now, what could we say, after a complete reading of the novel, a woman wants? Does Jane accurately express what a man wants? What is a woman in want of in this novel?
11. What would the world look like if we had all of our needs met? Will we still finds things that worry us enough to fill our days?
Austen seems to be taking on this idea, perhaps because that’s what she knew she could write about with ease. Do you see the novel as a reflection that is still relavent today? Do most of us really live so differently, especially since we’re having this discussion via our private access to computers, cell phones, tablets, etc.? Does the novel have something to say to the modern reader?
Thanks for reading Pride and Prejudice with me. I welcome your thoughts, today, tomorrow, or in the future when you get around to reading this novel. For next time I may have some closing thoughts on Pride and Prejudice, if anything new strikes me by then, but we can start to talk about our next book, too.
In May, I propose we read Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf. I’m going to be working with the edition found in The Mrs. Dalloway Reader so I can get some help with the text. For Sunday May 5th, I propose we read from p. 195-275 of The Mrs. Dalloway Reader or, for those with a different edition, until the line “At tea Rezia told him that Mrs. Filmer’s daughter was expecting a baby.” If you have to buy the book, consider buying it used. I found a copy for $2.00 plus shipping at Amazon.com.