Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen: Summary for the BA English Honours Semester IV BBMKU And VBU University. JPathshala makes your syllabus easy. Get free notes and also video Lessons on your YouTube channel Jharkhand Pathshala.
Pride and Prejudice Summary
The Bennets Family
The family of Bennets lived out in a small village named Longbourn in Hertfordshire. The family comprised Mr. and Mrs. Bennet and their five daughters.
Mr. and Mrs. Bennet
Mr. Bennet was a sort of man who seemed to be tired of his wife and had almost given her up to her own doings. Mrs. Bennet was a woman of mean understanding, little information, and uncertain temper. The marriage between the two Bennets had been the result of a love affair when the young Mr. Bennet had felt fascinated with the captivating beauty of Miss Bennet, now Mrs. Bennet. Mrs. Bennet had no business in life, but to get her daughters.
The names of her daughters’ were-
(1) Jane: She was the eldest and was extremely beautiful. She was a docile creature.
(2) Elizabeth (called Lizzy): She was next to Jane in age. She was pretty but not as beautiful as Jane. But was the most sensible, quickwitted, and attractive in her manners and powers of observation. She was the favorite of her father.
(3) Catherine (or Kitty): She was next to Elizabeth in age.
(4) Lydia: She was the youngest. Both Catherine and Lydia often ran after military officers. As we later read in the novel, Lydia even eloped away with a dashing young man, Wickham, who was worthless otherwise.
(5) Mary: She was next to Kitty in age. She was always absorbed in her studies. As a matter of fact, all the three last mentioned girls were models of folly.
The news about Mr. Bingley
One day, the news was received that a young man, Mr. Bingley, had come to stay in their neighborhood at Netherfield. It was reported that Mr. Bingley was a gentleman of good fortune.
Mrs. Bennet’s action
Mrs. Bennet was elated on hearing the news about Bingley. She eagerly hoped that the young man might fall in love with one of her daughters and marry her.
Visit to Bingley (Pride and Prejudice)
Mrs. Bennet and her daughter met Mr. Bingley at a ball. Mr. Darcy, his friend, and the later brother-in-law were also there. Two of Mr. Hurst’s sisters were also present at the ball. Bingley’s sister, Miss Bingley also participated in the ball.
Bingley and Darcy described
The difference in appearance, nature, and manners between the two friends was quite clear-
(a) Bingley was a good-looking man. He was docile and unassuming by nature. Like Jane, he took men and matters in any easy way.
(b) Darcy was taller and more handsome than Bingley. But he was proved, if not haughty by nature. He maintained a reserved attitude as far as talking to anybody in the ballroom was concerned.
The two friends and the girls
(a) Mr. Bingley was a man of easy manners. He at first sight fell in love with Jane.
(b) On the other hand, Darcy was not ready to accept a partner below his status. He declines to take part in the ball. It was because he did not find any of the girls suitable for him. He was asked to dance with Elizabeth. But he said that she was tolerable, but not beautiful enough to attract him. Mr. Darcy’s remarks greatly offended Elizabeth and she developed a sort of prejudice against him.
Charlotte Lucas and Elizabeth
One of Elizabeth’s close friends was Charlotte Lucas who was a young lady of twenty-seven. There was a talk about the ball between the two friends. Even in this talk, as a mention of Bingley and Darcy came, the former was praised for the sweetness of his temper while the later was condemned for his pride, overbearing attitude, and unjustified reserve.
Darcy’s observation (Pride and Prejudice)
Darcy observed Elizabeth closely. He realized that she lacked the charm of physical features, but there was a beautiful expression on her dark eyes and that she was extraordinarily intelligent. He also observed vivacity in her manners which made her look light and pleasing. He disclosed his views to Miss Bingley, but she was not pleased to hear this as she herself longed for Darcy.
Jane’s visit to Netherfield
Miss Bingley invited Jane to pay a visit to Netherfield. Jane accepted the invitation and rode to Netherfield in rain. On the way, she got drenched in rain. She fell ill and had to stay there for some time. This greatly pleased Mrs. Bennet, as she realized that now there were chances of Darcy and Jane coming closer.
Elizabeth’s visit to Netherfield
On account of Jane’s illness, Elizabeth had to go to Netherfield to look after her ailing sister. Different observations Both Elizabeth and Darcy were great observers. Their observations were as under-
(a) Elizabeth observed that Bingley took a keen interest in Jane’s health about which he was very anxious.
(b) Darcy observed Elizabeth much more closely and minutely. He constantly kept his eyes fixed on her face. Now, he gradually began to find several qualities in her. Her witty remarks further enhanced her personality in his eyes.
The departure of Jane and Elizabeth
After the recovery of Jane, the two sisters departed from Netherfield. Darcy was very conscious not to express his positive feeling about Elizabeth to her.
Mrs. Collins’ visit to Longbourn
Mr. Collins was Mr. Bennet’s cousin. He was to inherit all his property after his death. He had been appointed a clergyman on the recommendation of Lady Catherine de Bough. He paid to visit Longbourn after first informing the Bennets about his ensuing visit.
Purpose of Collins’ visit
Mr. Collins was a mixture of opposites inclined to be a gross fool. In him pride and humility were mixed, the former probably being more in quantity. Soon on coming, Mr. Collins started praising things and people. He was full of praise for his patroness, Lady Catherine, her residence, and furniture.
Soon, Collins’ purpose for the visit was clear and he himself let the cat out of the bag. As he saw Jane, he expressed his desire to marry her. When he was told that was soon likely to be engaged,’ he expressed his desire to marry Elizabeth instead. All this greatly pleased Mrs. Bennet. He was bold and blatant enough to say that Elizabeth could not find a husband better than he himself. He said that this could also save them from giving dowry. However, Elizabeth felt greatly resentful and rejected the proposal outright. Later Collins was engaged to Charlotte Lucas and she married him as she wanted economic security in life.
Wickham’s version of Darcy
Wickham was a cunning, dashing young man. Elizabeth was greatly impressed by him. He told her that Darcy was a haughty, jealous and vindictive fellow who had done great injustice to him. Elizabeth believed him and her prejudice against Darcy got accentuated.
Elizabeth’s visit to Hunsford
After Collins and Charlotte’s marriage, Elizabeth was invited to the vicarage of Hunsford. Darcy met her there and proposed to her in an arrogant manner. Elizabeth instantly rejected the proposal. Elizabeth was having a walk in the park the next morning. Darcy came to her and handed over a letter to her with the solicitation that she should read it. In the letter, he tried to explain everything to her. Through this letter, Elizabeth came to know of some new aspects of her personality of Darcy. Now her assessment of Darcy’s character got some boost.
Lydia’s elopement (Pride and Prejudice)
Meanwhile, it was learned that Lydia had eloped with Wickham. Elizabeth conveyed the news to Darcy. The latter acted promptly. He paid off Wickham’s debts, persuaded him, and virtually bribed or forced him to marry Lydia.
Changed in Elizabeth’s attitude
As Elizabeth learned about Darcy’s solid support in arranging Lydia’s marriage with Wickham, she felt greatly thankful to him. Her prejudice against him slowly slid down. She had also visited Darcy’s estate and had learned from a number of tenants and servants about the essential goodness of nature in spite of his outward superiority complex or pride.
The two friends’ visit to Longbourn
It was given to know that Mr. Bingley was going to visit Longbourn. He came along with Darcy. In fact, they began to visit the place frequently.
Bingley’s proposal to Jane
Bingley proposed to Jane. Both Mr. and Mrs. Bennet were happy with the proposal.
Darcy’s proposal to Elizabeth
Shortly afterward, Darcy proposed to Elizabeth. The latter readily accepted the proposal which surprised Mr. bennet. On Elizabeth’s giving some explanation regarding the essential qualities of Darcy and her sincere love for him, Mr. Bennet gave his consent to their marriage. The happiest person, however, probably was Mrs. Bennet. At the end of the novel, Jane was married to Bingley and Elizabeth to Darcy. It is presumed the two couples lived happily together forever.