By Kiara Bean, Correspondent
Jane Austen was a 19th century British author who did not gain great popularity during her years of writing. In the time period she lived in, women were seen only as wives, mothers, and maids. They were not allowed to write books, and if they did, they had to publish their work anonymously. With the help of her brothers, Austen got several of her books published. The rest of her books were published posthumously.
In her books, Austen created characters based on everyday life during the 1800s in England. The stories in her books are an accurate reflection of the lives of people in the rural upper classes. She was known as the first female writer to use irony and humor to describe the position of women in society at the time.
Austen’s best-known book is “Pride and Prejudice.” The book got so famous that there have been multiple movie and TV series adaptations. There are also other movies that base their stories on similar relationships between the main characters found in this book.
The main theme in “Pride and Prejudice” is the idea that first impressions and emotions mistakenly play a large role in relationships. The storyline mainly follows the Bennet family, emphasizing the stories of the two eldest girls – Jane and Elizabeth Bennet. Austen follows their relationships with two gentlemen, Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy, that move into the nearby home with Bingley’s sister and friends. She creates parallel romances between Jane and Mr. Bingley and Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, and she uses these relationships to compare and contrast how both girls deal with love and pain in various situations.
All the characters in the book have their own rank and place in society, and this often reflects in their relationships. Because of different social standings, prejudices and opinions often arise. People during that time were not supposed to interact with other social classes, much less court or marry below their standings.
Austen has been especially praised for her creation of the quick-witted Elizabeth and the stubborn and arrogant Mr. Darcy. Readers are often humored by their sarcastic conversations and manners towards each other. While enjoying their comedic interactions, readers can watch with great suspense as the story between the two main characters, who are similar yet completely different, develops.
This story shows that strong feelings, including prejudices and pride, can heavily affect how one sees other people. It shows that first impressions are not always an accurate reflection of a person’s character. Oftentimes, people’s views are swayed by their own flawed beliefs, others’ opinions, and the expectations of society. In her novel, Austen was trying to show that when forming relationships, one has to become acquainted with the person to really know them because appearance is not everything.
In my opinion, this is the best classic out there, and it should be a part of core literature so that everybody can enjoy a great storyline written in very well-structured sentences.