IRJE – April 15 – Pride and Prejudice

In Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Mr. Darcy’s character is quite difficult to identify. The first impression he leaves on the protagonist, Elizabeth Bennet, is certainly negative. He insults her honour, which leads everyone to believe that he has far too much pride to be agreeable. However, when Elizabeth comes to Netherfield (Mr. Bingley’s residence) to nurse her sister back to health, Mr. Darcy starts to act differently. He begins to notice things about her, such as her beautiful eyes and her lively spirit. Although Mr. Darcy seems to be filled with pride of his accomplishments, and prejudice toward people of a lower social standing, he starts to seem… nice. Elizabeth often catches him looking at her, and he tries to engage in conversation. Despite the poor impression he originally makes on her, he is recovering fairly well. Unfortunately, when Elizabeth speaks to Mr. Wickham, who is essentially like a second son to Mr. Darcy’s father, her impression of Mr. Darcy becomes as negative as ever.

“I had not thought Mr. Darcy so bad as this—though I have never liked him, I had not thought so very ill of him. I had supposed him to  be despising his fellow-creatures in general, but did not suspect him of descending to such malicious revenge, such injustice, such inhumanity as this.” (p. 74)

Prior to this, Mr. Wickham tells Elizabeth something terrible about Mr. Darcy. Mr. Wickham claims he was so beloved by Mr. Darcy’s father, that when the father passed away, he was meant to receive a portion from his will (even though they are not related). Mr Wickham tells Elizabeth that Mr. Darcy used a loophole in his recently departed father’s will, to maliciously take Mr. Wickham’s share from him. My hopes for Mr. Darcy depleted as I read this.  Before then, I genuinely liked his character! He did leave a negative first impression. However, I find that relationships are most intriguing when they start in that manner. If the characters previously disliked or hated one another, the relationship is unanticipated, and usually quite passionate. The relationship between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth hasn’t developed at this point, because she truly dislikes him. And honestly… I can see why. As Mr. Wickham illustrates Mr. Darcy’s character, there is absolutely no detail that reflects positively on him. As I read on, the novel begins to reflect that it isn’t actually Mr. Darcy’s character that’s this flawed, but it’s the portrayal. Mr. Wickham is sabotaging his image, which leaves me wondering, did Mr. Darcy deserve this? Perhaps his character is what I thought, and perhaps Mr. Wickham is the true antagonist of this story…

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One thought on “IRJE – April 15 – Pride and Prejudice”

  1. Amy, you are taking on one of the heavy hitters! Bravo! And it seems that you have *not* taken the easy route and watched a movie version before reading the novel. Well done! Your post shows, too, that you are reading carefully and catching a lot of the nuances (of which there are many in Austen’s work!). Two notes: 1) Don’t divide the part of your IRJE that follows the quotation into two paragraphs. The entire IRJE should be a single paragraph with a block quotation. 2) Check out Error 67 in the Marking Key and join Fenna in the “I Get the Difference Between Hyphens and Dashes” club. Then look again at the first line of your quotation ;^).

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