Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice
Prompts and Essay Topics for the book
Thesis statements for your P&P essays.
Notes on Your Pride and Prejudice Essays
Slant lines mean to italicize
whatever is between the slants. /Pride and Prejudice/ means to italicize those
Spell the names correctly. You have the book right in front of your faces; use it.
Jane Austen is spelled with an "e"--it's AUSTEN, not Austin.
Elizabeth is spelled with a "z" not an "s"--it's ELIZABETH, not Elisabeth.
The is general
confusion about the terms “rank” and “status.”
first time Darcy appears in the book with Bingley, they are at the
MERYTON ASSEMBLY, which is a public dance. Elizabeth and Darcy,
however, do not dance together until the Netherfield Ball, which is a
private dance at Bingley's rented home some weeks later.
- "Rank" refers to something
rigid and formal; a will tell you how to “address” a person in public. Sir
William Lucas had rank as did Lady Catherine and we can tell b/c they have
titles, “Sir” and “Lady.” When Elizabeth tells Lady Catherine that both she and
Darcy come from “gentleman,” she’s referring to their rank as landed gentry,
which does not come with a title. Darcy is a “Mr” and Elizabeth a “Miss” until
- "Status" is a less rigid
term that reflects a family or person’s general standing in a community, and is
determined by a combination of factors, including respectability, wealth and
behavior. Darcy and Elizabeth are both gentry from respectable families, but
Elizabeth’s family is a small, unknown and unconnected family of modest income,
whereas Darcy’s family is well-connected to other families and those in power,
has property in town and a huge estate in Derbyshire, and has the money and
mien to live a noble life. Darcy’s status, then, is considered higher than
Elizabeth’s even if their rank is the same.
you are writing an essay of this nature, be consistent with the terms you
use. If you call Elizabeth "Lizzy" in the first paragraph, do so in the
rest of the essay. Don't switch back and forth between different names
and nicknames, unless the text you are quoting does so.
is what the book should look like on your MLA Works Cited page, unless
you're using a different edition. Then, you should cite that book
Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. 1813. Eds. Claudia
L. Johnson and Susan J. Wolfson.
New York: Longman, 2003. Print.
Jane Austen Packet, pdf
including study questions, family trees and backgrond info
of Terms, pdf
List of all the characters in P&P
Map of the classes of British Society 1814
Study Guide from
Study Guide from Glencoe
Cultural Context of Jane Austen's Writings
To understand and enjoy Pride and Prejudice,
it's helpful to have a general understanding of the following topics.
To learn more about these topics, explore the links farther down the
going on in the world?
- Nobility and the peers
Gentry, upper and lower
the law, medicine, and the church
and Trades people
and public service workers, factory workers, farm workers
between old and new money.
- Wars and colonization.
and imports from the new world
- Trade and industrialization.
and property: primogenitor and the entail.
young men/excess of marriageable women.
dowry, love, money, appropriate ages, etc.
of interaction between men and women and the social classes. Forms of address.
of events like dances and dinners.
- Here are my
general notes about reading this book successfully. I've taught Sense
and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice
with many groups of students, ranging in skill from the ESL reader and
struggling academic writer to the English major. My students have been
high school teens to grandparents; they have come for all parts of the
world with all kinds of backgrounds and values. And,
they’ve all been able to read and enjoy these books. Give it a chance.
- I have the
lessons structure this way and give you the advice I do because this is
how students will be most successful and get the most enjoyment out of
the book. I want you to learn, but I also want you to enjoy this text.
It's worth your attention and will reward your efforts. Jane Austen was
not interested in laziness and ignorance and her books don’t reward it.
- Do NOT read the
introduction—it contains spoilers and will be confusing. You can come
back to it after you've finished the whole text if you want, to see
what that writer had to say about the themes and ideas present in the
novel, but it's not necessary.
- If the chapter
numbers are in Roman Numerals, you can remind yourself of what those
are here: Roman Numeral conversions are in a
chart on this web site if you want to practice.)
- If you use
Sparknotes/Cliffnotes/Bookrags or other web sites offering
summaries/analysis, please do so AFTER you've read
the text. I think knowing what these web sites have to say will
influence your ability to think critically about the text in negative
ways and the many nuances involved in the social situations and
relationships. You can understand the text if you
put the effort into it. The book will reward your patience. I also know
what these sites have to say; I've been there too--if you can find it
on the web, so can I. But, truly, what these sites have to say is not
that interesting. I'd rather hear what you think, not what some English
major dropout thinks who makes his living writing commentary for cheat
- Look up words
and use these notes to find out about things you don't understand. Here
is the link to the Notes from Pemberly.com if you
want more detail about the finer points in the text. Don't worry about
the 'textual variants' section of the book we have; it's not important
for our purposes, though if you're interested you're free to read it.
- Be careful as
you pace the book. If you read too fast you'll not remember anything
that happens; if you read too slow, you'll get stuck at the word-level
and lose the flow and meaning of the text. If you're struggling with
the reading, buzz through the chapters first for overall sense of plot
and then re-read more slowly to pick up the finer detail. Yes, I said
re-read. Smart students--successful students--they re-read. This is one
of the things that helps them be successful.
Austen & Regency
and wrote during a period of time in England generally called
the Regency Era.
She was born on December 16, 1975 in Steventon, Hampshire, and died at
of 41. She published some novels while she was alive, but made little
from her writing. Her other completed novels were published after her
There are pieces of unfinished work, things she wrote as a youth and a
collection of letters that are all part of the Jane Austen collection
Many scholars make their professional work researching and writing
Austen and her marvelous texts.
For all things
Jane Austen online,
survive this class on the movies alone. However, you can watch one of
the movies in addition to reading the book. You
are not required to watch a movie. If you decide to watch a movie
(optional), you can watch this one
one only. Remember
the one with the three letter acronyms. YES to the A&E and BBC
the film from 1995. This is the one with Colin Firth and Jennifer
watch the 2005 Keira Knightley one. NO Knightley. I have nothing
against this movie
except that it gets the book really wrong. As a movie it's fine; as an
the book, it's off by a few accounts.) Also, the one on watch instantly
on Netflix is boring as dirt so avoid that. Watch this
like to listen and read, there is a free audio podcast you can download
from Itunes. It can be found at here. It's not the best book on
tape I've ever heard, but it's okay, and it's good reinforcement,
espcially if you spend a lot of time in the car or if you are a
multi-lingual student. There is another version here. Of course,
there are plenty of free digital versions and apple apps as well.
There are also audio copies of the book at the public library. Reserve
them early if you plan to use them.
semester the ARC theater is putting on Pride
and Prejudice. I have no
idea what it will be like, but you can earn extra credit by going and
writing a review.