Pride And Prejudice Commentary
Pride and Prejudice Commentary
The initial conversation between Mr. and Mrs. Bennet establishes memorably one of the key tones of the entire novel: that of irony or satire. The famous first sentence – “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife” – is funny because however much the Mrs. Bennets of the world might wish it to be true (and thus by them, at least, it is a truth universally acknowledged), it is not in fact true. Throughout the novel, pay close attention to extreme language – words like “necessarily,” “impossible,” or “universally.” Austen has a sophisticated view of the worlds complexity, and characters in her novels who express themselves or their opinions in such unreserved and extreme terms are often guilty of confused or biased reasoning. You will see such faulty perspectives not just in the novels comic characters, such as Mrs. Bennet; they also constitute the “prejudice” of the novels title, from which any number o!
f more generally reasonable and admirable characters suffer throughout the novel. Be on the lookout for examples of such prejudice as you continue reading.
The first conversation
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