Pride and Prejudice AP English Summer Homework
“Why could not he keep on quarrelling with you, as his father did before him?” (53)
Mrs. Bennett's response to Mr. Collins owning her house once her husband dies is timeless. This quote reminds me of every useless argument people have had since the beginning of time. People sometimes argue just for the sake of arguing and do not even remember what they were arguing about. It is easier to stick your head in the sand and not deal with the reality before you as Mrs. Bennett is doing here, then to deal with your problems head-on. It is like getting a bad grade at school, you come home and you tell your parents the teachers hates me, it is all her fault! When, in fact, they just have not put in the time or effort. The argument it is just there, on the table, you know both sides before you even start and yet people go through it every single day. Mrs. Bennett is just scared, it is a human emotion and she cannot help herself. They lived in a different time where upon her husband she would be penniless, living in the streets with her five daughters. Mrs. Bennett is really just reacting to the reality that is going to happen eventually if she does not do something about it. Because Mrs. Bennett is alone in her consistent and constant worry sometimes she lashes out and tries to hide from the reality. It is pointless, of course.
“This was a stroke of civility for which she was quite unprepared; and she could hardly suppress a smile at his being now seeking the acquaintance of some of those very people against whom his pride had revolted in his offer to herself”. (216)
This quote is a good example of Jane Austen's understated style of writing. She does not come out and hit you on the head with statements like Elizabeth is probably more full of pride and Darcy ever was. Austin uses subtle words to say the same thing. The “stroke of civility” sounds a great deal better than good luck. I enjoy the flowery words Jane Austin uses like “seeking the acquaintance” instead of meeting. These lyrical words bring you back to a more civilized time when people were less vulgar and more subtle. The writing seems feminine somehow, I can't put my finger on it, but I cannot imagine a man saying these words. I believe a man could tell this entire story but the gentle writing of Jane Austen brings it to life in a way that feels more passionate and real. The words “his pride had revolted” really speaks to what Elizabeth is trying to say about Mr. Darcy. At this point in the novel she is in love with him and knows it, but she will not allow herself to let him off the hook for hurting her pride earlier in the book. Jane Austen is a masterful writer who allows you to feel every Dean in pain and Elizabeth's heart.
“I take no leave of you, Ms. Bennett. I send no complements to your mother. You deserve no such attention. I am most seriously displeased”. (308)
There are many funny passages in this book, but this one takes the cake! The book portrays Lady Catherine as a blowhard yet someone to be afraid of because her position is so high in society. This quote gives you all new insight into how insecure she is in her own position. Lady Catherine almost sounds belligerent in her hatred of Elizabeth. Lady Catherine has lost all control and is now screaming in a tantrum, like child. This brings her character into a new light and gives us greater knowledge of who she really is. She only has power because she demands it, not because she is inherently above or better than any of the other characters in the story. We give people like Lady Catherine power by our acceptance that she is somehow above everybody us. We take away that power and she is just an obnoxious person demanding their own way. Elizabeth has all the control in the conversation and becomes forever the heroine to the reader by demanding equal footing with this monster of society. It is such a vivid portrayal of who Lady Catherine is, as a person, that you almost feel sorry for her. You realize that she is actually pretty powerless in the world, the only power she has is the power the people willingly give to her.