This analysis of the famous novel Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen will help you explore key elements of the novel and boost your understanding of it. Pride and Prejudice is both a classic love story as well as a novel of manners, which means that the story describes the social norms and customs of a specific social class.
We explore the structure of the novel: how the intrigue moves the action forward, how the plot is complicated by different events and characters, and how foreshadowing gives us hints about how the characters are going to act, while backstory helps to gain a deeper understanding of the characters' actions and motives.
We also analyse the most important characters in the novel. We examine the protagonists of the story, Darcy and Elizabeth, seeing how their pride and prejudices against each other keep them apart until they manage to overcome them and develop as characters. We also consider flat characters like Mr and Mrs Bennet, Jane, Bingley, and Wickham.
We discuss how the physical setting combines real places with fictional places and sets the action in a rural area. The social setting explores class differences and social hierarchy during the Regency era. We also see how the patriarchal society in which the characters live makes women dependent on marriage and men. For example, the Bennet girls need to marry because they have no right to inherit their father’s estate and cannot work to support themselves.
We then present the third-person omniscient narrator who seems to know everything about the characters but is selective in terms of what is shared with the readers. Additionally, we will see how the narrator’s focus on Elizabeth’s point of view influences how the reader feels about other characters. For example, because Elizabeth dislikes Darcy at first, we are also inclined to dislike him.
We also analyse Jane Austen’s use of language and literary devices. Austen's tone is realistic as well as satirical. Austen’s preference for dialogue gives a dramatic style to the text, while letters (such as Darcy's letter to Elizabeth) are used to convey both plot and characterisation.
In terms of literary devices, Austen is famous for her use of humour and irony which influences how we perceive the characters. Humorous passages give us an insight into the foolishness of characters such as Mrs Bennet and Mr Collins. Hyperbole often has a comical and ironical effect, particularly with Mrs Bennet. Various imagery is occasionally used to help the reader visualise key settings or characters, such as Mr Darcy’s estate.
You can dive into our full analysis of the novel in the next pages.