Pride and Prejudice- a Biting Bestseller Essay

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Pride and Prejudice: A Biting Bestseller After reading Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice three words come to mind; Class, Wealth, and Egoism. As we get inside the minds of aristocratic Regency England, Austen tackles themes such as social standing, economic strata, and self-importance. In fact she addresses the topics so frequently some question whether critics overestimated Austen’s masterpiece to be much more complex than it actually is. Robert Dawkins states, “I can’t get excited about who is going to marry whom and how rich they are.” Could it be that what most readers believed to be intellectual satire is actually nothing more than a reflection of Austen’s own alleged haughtiness? I disagree. Although the theme of class and social standing is echoed recurrently throughout the novel, Pride and Prejudice uses the relationships, personalities, and social standing of characters to satirize the importance placed on the hierarchy of class and wealth in society. Austen has written the novel in order to define and satirize the problems that were prevalent in the society of her time. She specifically focuses on the wealth of the characters. There isn’t a single character in Pride and Prejudice who is introduced without his or her income being mentioned in the next sentence. “Mr. Darcy soon drew the attention of the room...within five minutes after his entrance, of his having ten thousand a year. The gentlemen pronounced him to be a fine figure of a man, the ladies declared he was much handsomer than Mr. Bingley and he was looked at with great admiration…” (Chapter 3) Amusingly, all the guests automatically took a shine to Mr. Darcy once they heard of his fortune. They praised him for his character and demeanor, which would have been fine had they actually known him! To no surprise at all, many of the guests hadn’t even met Darcy although they had already created

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