Pride & Prejudice, by Jane Austen

Location: Guidance

Lindsay Wheaton
Meagan Haley
Mo McNaboe
Natalie Stern
Carlene Shaw
Deanna Young
Brenda Michaelsen

Pride and Prejudice

First Task (Five Minutes): Summarize Elizabeth and her role in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice in ten words or fewer. Think of smaller motifs and then bigger themes that are represented throughout the novel. We will share our summaries and then proceed to discuss the book in more detail.

Twenty Minutes: Characters
- Brief listing of memorable characters, who was and wasn’t a favorite initially? By the end?
- Did you agree with Elizabeth’s perspective?
- Elizabeth criticizes Mr. Darcy for his pride, and she criticizes her family and friends for their obsession with wealth and reputation. However, are reputation and wealth important to her? Does she secretly conform to the social standards of the era?
- How does Jane’s relationship with Mr. Bingley compare to Elizabeth’s relationship with Mr. Darcy?
- What did you think of Mr. Darcy at the beginning and at the end of the novel? How did he evolve?
- Do you agree with Mr. Darcy’s initial ideas about wealth coming into play with marriage?
- How does the importance of reputation affect the Bennet family?
- Do you think Mrs. Bennet cares about her daughters’ happiness?
- Compare and contrast Lydia, Elizabeth, and Jane Bennet
- What does Lady Catherine de Bourgh symbolize?
- Why does the girls’ obsession with the soldiers symbolize?
- How did you respond to the proposal made by Mr. Collins?
- Do you think Elizabeth should have accepted Mr. Collins’ offer?
- Do you agree with Mr. Darcy’s initial ideas about wealth coming into play with marriage?

Extra: link to Mr. Darcy’s proposal in the movie
- Describe your reactions to this scene. How does it compare to the novel?

Twenty Minutes: Motifs and Themes
- Find a passage in which the motif of social status, wealth, reputation, etc.. is present. Share with the group and its significance
- How do the themes of love and status connect to each other in the novel?
- What is Jane Austen’s larger meaning? What does she want the reader to learn from reading her novel?
- Find a romantic passage in which the theme of love is present. Share with group.
- Find a passage with high tension and explain why the tension exists
- How does the novel relate to feminism?
- How are women represented in the novel?
- Why are all of the characters obsessed with status and wealth?
- How does our obsession with status today compare to the obsession portrayed in the novel?

Ten Minutes: Channel the Author
- What do you think Austen wanted to reader to take away from her book overall?
- From Darcy and Elizabeth’s relationship?
- From Elizabeth and Jane’s relationship?
- How did you feel about the pace of the book?

* Passages (important)
- Everyone who has passages marked should share which one impacted her most, openly discuss

Ten Minutes: Language
- How did the Old English affect your enjoyment of the novel? Did you find it challenging to understand? Did you feel connected to the era and location in which the novel takes place?
- How does Austen’s use of language characterize the different characters? Is there different descriptive language used to describe the different characters?
- Find a passage in which you admire Austen’s use of language and share with the group.

Open Discussion Starters: 5-10 Minutes
- If a chapter were added before or after, what would you have it be like?
- Did Pride and Prejudice make you think about your own life?
- Did it remind you of anything else you’ve read?
- Read opening and closing sentence. Discuss.
*added by Carlene

Final Whip: Five Minutes
- What comment today most affected your thinking about Pride and Prejudice?
- What have you learned most about Pride and Prejudice from our discussion today?
- Do you have any remaining questions?
Carlene Shaw, Creative Piece
Choice F. Dialogue

If Extra Time: Share Creative Writing

Seeps from his pores
dripping with heat
hot existence
he knows he exists
an ominous storm cloud around his face
thick with thunder
and lightning’s wrath
I cannot see his face
instead I see fire, haze
he is hiding behind fire
yet we all see the flames
smell them burning
beads of sweat on my forehead pulse with his heat
his pride
I wipe away the drop of salt, and with them
I wipe away him

“‘such good perfect breeding’” (15).
the words slip around my tongue
cherry pits
surfaces so rough, marked by chewing
lack of thought
their terrain scratches my tongue
what good is a good reputation when we all become “‘Vain, ignorant, idle, and absolutely uncontrolled?’” (191).
I am in agony
forever silenced
by decorum’s glare

His hand reaches for mine
and suddenly
his fingers become slimy toads
he begins with “‘Believe me, my dear Elizabeth’” (89).
he is going to ask for my hand in marriage
his eyes want to penetrate my eyes, but I look down
I refuse to look into those frigid oceans
I hear “‘no ungenerous reproach shall ever pass my lips when we are married.’” (91).
he thinks I want to marry him
his proposal is one of death
I am too young to die
it is “absolutely necessary to interrupt him now” (91).
Mr. Collins says “‘it is usual with young ladies to reject the addresses of the man whom they secretly mean to accept, when he first applies for their favour’” (91).
I do not mean to accept anything
he is cold
I shield myself from a life of shivering
I will not drown in a frigid ocean
I face him and say “‘I am perfectly serious in my refusal.’” (91).

Darcy’s flustered statement, swirling with fear and an ungraceful explosion of emotions
‘“In vain I have struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you’” (158).
he paces back and forth in an agitated vulnerability
color rushes to my instantly warm cheeks
suddenly there are miles between us
an unbreakable fog
I want so badly to reach through the wall
to touch him
brush my fingers across his face that has become “pale with anger” (159).
I do not have the strength to break through
the fog covers me
embraces me like a firm mother’s hug
protecting my body
but my heart is on the edge
not hidden
in the open
“‘misery of the acutest kind’” (159).
yet it, too, is masked by the fog
out of my hands
out of my reach
I cannot reach for it
I cannot grasp it
so I say no.

Lindsay Wheaton: Who Hates Pride and Prejudice!?
Anna: D’you read Pride and Prejudice yet?
Debbie: Yeah, finished it last week. What’d you think?
Anna: Thought it was great, actually. I wish people still wrote like Jane Austen.
Debbie: Are you serious? In that tedious tone that no one can understand and barely anyone has the patience to anyway?
Anna: I thought it was beautiful.
Debbie: To each her own! Mr. Darcy was an asshole, though.
Anna: What! No he wasn’t. What do you mean?
Debbie: He was all, “Elizabeth is beneath me” and he was all against her family. I mean, I can understand that—Mrs. Bennett was a ridiculous woman. He cared too much about what other people think to be likable.
Anna: Well—wasn’t that the whole point? To think he was an asshole when actually he had done all those things for Elizabeth’s family and his sister and Mr. Wickham?
Debbie: Still pompous. I even think Elizabeth was just as bad.
Anna: She was brilliant! Her only problem was her tendency to judge people before she knew them. She was right most of the time, but remember when she thought Mr. Wickham was godsend?
Debbie: Either way, she and Mr. Darcy were both made so “disagreeable,” as Austen would say, that not even the happy ending could redeem them.
Anna: Aha! But at the end we found that they were NOT disagreeable at all—just blind to their own vices.
Debbie: Same thing in my mind.
Anna: Well…did you like any part of the book? At all?
Debbie: Mr. Bingley was all right, bit of a pansy, though. Couldn’t make a decision without Darcy’s help. If he’d had a spine there wouldn’t’ve been any confusion between him and Jane because he wouldn’t’ve let Darcy take him to London, thereby separating them! I mean, his disposition was best, but I couldn’t stand his plasticity.
Anna: Yeah, I guess so… Anyway, I thought it was a lovely book; the ending was just perfect.
Debbie: Elizabeth’s marriage to Darcy, you mean? Whatever. As if marriages are like that—the girl’s happier than she’s ever been, and they live the rest of their lives together without a hint of a problem. If Elizabeth was such a “free” and “independent” spirit, I don’t see how she could so easily be tied down as mistress to some wealthy ass. I would’ve much rather seen her reject Darcy and live as a spinster. It seemed like her “love” for Darcy wasn’t even love—more like gratitude. She’ll always be in his debt. There’s an imbalance of power now!
Anna: You forget that that’d be radical in those times. Women didn’t have that type of independence in pre-Victorian England. Granted, Austen was rather traditional by having the book end in a marriage, but that’s how it was back then. It’s not like Elizabeth could refuse Darcy and go live in a hippie commune practicing free love. She had few options and, anyway, has as much as chance of of happiness with Darcy as she does on her own. Besides, the whole book was a satire, wasn’t it? I mean, not against Elizabeth, but against the underlying customs of that period. I think Darcy’s marriage to free-spirited—in the old sense of the word—was a great early example of equality. She’ll have every comfort at Pemberley, too, which doesn’t sound too bad, if you ask me.
Debbie: Exactly my point! She’ll be comfortable and just like every other woman at that time. If Austen has REALLY made her independent, the book would’ve started a revolution for women’s rights! Think how sexually backward we still are today—we’d be equals if feminism had really started moving in the beginning of the nineteenth century, with a novel as universally popular as Pride and Prejudice!
Anna: Chill out, Deb.

L= Lisa A=Amanda
L: Hey Amanda! How was your summer?
A: Horrible. I spent the whole month of July trying to successfully understand and read Pride and Prejudice. It was the worst book I’ve ever read.
L: Seriously? I loved it! The many different relationships and love stories were so engaging.
A: I hated everything about it.
L: Like what?
A: For example, the language that was used could not be comprehendible. 2. Why did every girl in town go crazy once a new man arrived? 3. Who cares if your daughter elopes? It doesn’t mean your family name will be shamed! 4. How is going to a ball enjoyable. All they do is dress up and look pretty. How judgmental! Talking about being judgmental, all of the girls judge Mr. Darcy the first time they meet him. Too bad he had an un-emotional face and responded rude to questions! Honestly, I think the characters of the book spent too much time worrying about marriage. Let your children marry who they are truly in love with, not the “fairest lady in the county”. Parents even commented on their children’s looks! “Lydia is much prettier than Elizabeth!” How sad! I totally regret choosing this book. I can’t believe this is known as one of the best romances of all time!
L: Calm down Amanda! You must have not taken the time to learn the culture of England in that time. There was no true love! Most marriages were arranged back then. I loved learning the differences between then and now. Imagine riding in a carriage to school, or receiving a letter (the only mean of communication back then) from your sister saying that she has eloped with a soldier. It was so amazing to read what conflicts were like back then. On the other hand, males were much more gentlemanlike. They took women out on dates that were frankly from the heart. A mere walk in the garden was what the women wanted then. Now all women want is jewelry and designer handbags. If I had the opportunity to travel back in time, I would love to live the life of any of the Bennett daughters, especially Elizabeth because she fell in love with the handsome Mr. Darcy. Amanda, I definitely recommend that you read this book again, so you can appreciate what can be learned about society in the late 1700s.
A: I’m sorry Lisa. I will never have any appreciation for this book
L: Come on, Amanda! Just listen to me! For instance, on page 264, Lady Catherine states that "'young women should always be properly guarded and attended'". Imagine if women were still treated that way today. We would actually be respected!
A: That is not respect! Women should have a the right to walk alone. We are not children! One reason why I didn't enjoy this book was because the girls took too much time worrying about who they were going to marry. They even went to specific places to find husbands! "'They must all go to Brighton. That is the place to get husbands'" (388). Finding love comes naturally, not planned. It comes at the most unexpected of places and times.
L: Good point! It was nice talking to you about this book! I have to go. See you later!
A: Okay, bye!

Deanna Young, Creative Piece
I took the scene from Part 2, Chapter 11, where Darcy first proposes to Elizabeth, and rewrote it catering more to the point of view of Mr. Darcy instead of Elizabeth. I tried to follow Jane Austen's writing style and incorporated a few quotes of Mr. Darcy's from the book to maintain the true events of the story.

Mr. Darcy sat, stone faced, in the dining room of his Aunt Catherine’s grand home. He awaited the evening’s dinner guests with what he worried might be excitement. Of course, the dreadfully giddy Mr. and Mrs. Collins would be visiting, but with them Miss Elizabeth Bennet would be attending. She was, he realized, the only thing that was keeping him from departing Rosings as quickly as possible. Darcy’s aunt might be hoping for a marriage between him and her daughter, but Darcy never bothered to let on that this wouldn’t suit him.
The new Collins couple arrived precisely on time. Mr. Darcy watched from the dining room’s hall as they greeted Lady Catherine in their crisp finery with large smiles. They briefly delivered the news that Elizabeth was ill and had stayed back at their home. Mr. Darcy breathed in sharply at this, but all the same he led them, rather reluctantly, to the dining table with Lady Catherine. Mr. Collins immediately struck up a conversation that he must have found, Mr. Darcy determined with a laugh, to be interesting.
“I’m truly sorry to interrupt, Mr. Collins, but I couldn’t help overhearing before that Miss Bennet is feeling ill. Are you sure she is fit to be left alone?” Darcy suddenly interjected, unable to stop himself. It was Mrs. Collins who answered, however:
“She assured us that she just needed some time to overcome this bought of being under the weather.” She said this with a startled look, as if unbelieving that Mr. Darcy had the nerve to disrupt their attempts at impressing his aunt.
“I think...” Mr. Darcy began hesitantly, “I need a little time myself. I’m going to take a walk in the fresh air if everyone is alright with it.” He left without getting a proper response and immediately made for the Collins’ home where he knew Elizabeth sat, expecting no one. Mr. Darcy had finally accepted the fact that he cared about Elizabeth Bennet. He needed to check for himself that she was not extremely ill. He couldn’t rely on the report of Mrs. Collins to give him assurance. A lone breeze brushed the collar of his suit back and forth as his shoes scuffed along the gravel path. He emerged from a small overhang of trees to find the Collins home just as a pastel sunset was beginning to form faintly on the horizon. Slowly, but confidently, Darcy walked to the front door.

He rang the doorbell as an announcement of his arrival, but proceeded to walk inside when no answer came. This worried him some and his heart raced a little faster as he began to wonder what could have become of Elizabeth. He stepped into a hallway and moved slowly toward the drawing room where an orange light glowed, illuminating the dark passage. As soon as Mr. Darcy entered the room, he found Elizabeth sitting in a comfortable looking chair, holding sheets of paper. She glanced up at him and her hopeful face fell a little.
“I am sorry to come here as it threatens to be late soon, but I had to come to inquire about your health. The Collins worried me too much upon their arrival.” Darcy began, fumbling for an explanation as to his barging into this home. Elizabeth offered him little reply and seemed quite nonchalant about the situation. Darcy sat down in a small wooden chair across from her, but quickly returned to standing as he realized she did not intend to strike up a conversation. In all his life as a gentleman, Mr. Darcy had never encountered a situation of awkwardness like this or a woman like Elizabeth. He knew he couldn’t keep this information from her. He struggled with his words, but began slowly: “In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” He stood there, now as shocked as Elizabeth’s own expression. Have I really just proposed marriage? Darcy asked himself. He continued, hoping to produce some semblance of words proper enough to let her understand how he felt and why he felt it. Darcy dwelt on the fact that his class was higher than Elizabeth’s, though he knew the words should not be coming out of his mouth even as he spoke them. He simply wanted to get the point across that he admired her, despite this difference. Elizabeth, however, did not seem to take away this meaning from his speech. The color rose in her cheeks and she suddenly started to denounce everything he had just said. She continued most heatedly: “I have never desired your good opinion, and you have certainly bestowed it most unwillingly.” As she went on, Mr. Darcy turned white and forced himself to look away. He had been staring at her, from the fireplace across the room, with rapt attention to every word she spoke. Now, however, he had to try very hard to make sure his anger did not show. His jawline tightened. He knew he had been unsuccessful. Yet he still had hope that this evening would strengthen his relationship with Miss Bennet somehow. He wished only that he had not surprised her too much. He couldn’t bear to know that he had hurt her in any way, no matter how their conversation may carry on. Their argument recommenced. The evening dragged on.

Meagan Haley, Creative Piece:
“Love Story” by Taylor Swift
I chose this song for Pride and Prejudice because it’s about two people meeting at a ball and falling in love. The same thing occurred with Jane and Mr. Bingley when they danced for the first time together at the ball that Mr. Bingley hosted. The lyrics that most relate to this book are: “...see the lights see the party, the ball gowns see you make your way through the crowd and say hello...” this reminded me much of the first time that Jane and Mr. Bingley were able to dance together.

“Enchanted” by Taylor Swift
This song is also related to the first time that Jane and Mr. Bingley danced at the ball together. The lyrics: “your eyes whispered, ‘Have we met?’ across the room, your silhouette starts to make its way to me” were what made me choose this song. I think it ties it nicely to the dances that Jane and Bingley shared together, the first one especially.

“Marry Me” by Train
The key lyrics in this song are: “...together can never be close enough for me, to feel like I am close enough to you, you wear white and I’ll wear out the words I love you, and you’re beautiful...” I think that these lyrics define marriage and since this book has a few important marriages I thought that this would be appropriate.

“Just Say Yes” by Snow Patrol
This song was chosen for the scene when Darcy proposes to Elizabeth for the first time and she declines. I can only imagine what could have been going through his head at the time, and the fact that she declined when I think she was secretly in love with him made it even harder for the reader. It showed that Darcy had been mistaken the night at Bingley’s ball when he criticized Elizabeth and that he wasn’t the man she had thought he was. Important lyrics: “...just say yes, just say there’s nothing holding you back, it’s not a test, nor a trick of the mind, only love...”. Luckily Elizabeth was able to find love in the end and answer the way we all knew she should have.

“Perfect Partner” by Jimmy Buffett
This song could be another one from the dance scene at the ball. It’s about finding the perfect partner to dance with and when Jane and Bingley danced together I feel that they felt they had found their “perfect partner”.

Poems, Mo McNaboe

Sisters by Mr. Bennet
A sweetheart
A loner
A strong minded one
And two of a kind, both loud and for fun
Different as they may be, they are all connected
The strong minded one binding them when their love needs to be resurrected

Mr. Darcy by Elizabeth Bennet
At first very handsome
With a strong brow and eyes so that stare with power
Then fills me with disgust
How one man can be so rude is a mystery to me
Is class all he thinks about?
Surely he cannot be serious

I am not sure about him and then
He surprises me with his sudden change of heart
And I am now a bee with no flower
Confused and conflicted

Mr. Colins by Elizabeth Bennet**
“The idea of Mr. Colins
with all his solemn composer
being run away by his feelings made Elizabeth so near LAUGHING
that she could not use the short p a u s e he allowed
in any attempt to stop him farther...
and so he continued.”
Mr. Colins does have quite the nerve but I can’t seem to stop laughing in my mind
Although he is very wealthy I could not think it very kind
To move away with him and forget my life at home
I’m marrying for love, and will not settle for this.... gnome