How Contrasting Places Contribute To Theme In

Pride And Prejudice Essay, Research Paper

How Contrasting Places Contribute to Theme

Many times in life a person will feel awkward or insecure in a strange environment.

At home, one may feel comfortable and relaxed. This brings about the phrase home

sweet home. This same idea helps contribute to the central meaning of Jane Austen s

work Pride and Prejudice. The two establishments of Netherfield and Pemberley are as

different as night and day in the way they bring out the attitudes and actions of

Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet.

In Netherfield, it is evident that pride is part of Mr. Darcy s nature and is seen in

his mannerisms and in his speech. Darcy has such a high opinion of himself that he does

not care what other think of him or his prideful actions. He believes that he is the best in

every way possible and finds that his standing in society gives him the right to be critical of

those not as perfect as he is. For example, while staying at Netherfield, Mr. Darcy attends

the ball in Meryton where he walks about the room by himself and speaks occasionally to

one of his own party. He makes no attempt at being friendly or becoming acquainted

with anyone. His character is decided as being the proudest, most disagreeable man in

the world, and everybody hoped that he would never come their again. This is the same

type of attitude and pride that possesses Mr. Darcy for the remainder of the time that he

spends at Netherfield. On the other hand, Mr. Darcy acts with a certain sense of perfect

civility , friendliness, and attentiveness when he is at Pemberley, his home. He seems

more relaxed and acts without the feeling of improper pride that he had previously

possessed. For instance, Darcy invites Mr. Gardiner, with the greatest civility , to fish at

Pemberley as often as he chose. Darcy even suggests that he could supply him with

fishing tackle and point out the parts of the stream where there was usually more sport.

This is a side of Darcy that Elizabeth has not seen before and it causes her to grow more

fond of him.

The contrasting places, Netherfield and Pemberley, show two completely different

sides of Jane, as well. In the beginning, at Netherfield, she sees Darcy as an arrogant,

prideful man whom she would never have intentions of marrying. Her despise toward the

man only grows as the novel progresses. Ironically, she is just as guilty of being proud as

Mr. Darcy. She prides herself on being unprejudiced and rational in the judgement of

others. Yet, this is an imaginary quality as she learns that her preconceived notions of

both Mr. Darcy and Mr. Wickham turn out to be false. It is not until she realizes this and,

in particular, the event where she unexpectedly encounters Mr. Darcy at Pemberley that

she begins to develop feelings toward him. When she arrives at Pemberley for the first

time, she felt that to be mistress of Pemberley might be something! The housekeeper is

very sincere in her praise of Mr. Darcy saying that he was always the sweet-hearted, most

generous-hearted boy in the world. When Elizabeth unexpectedly comes across Darcy,

she is surprised to see him acting so friendly and attentive. She is especially honored when

he wishes her to be acquainted with his sister. Overall, the visit to Pemberley

completely changed her negative views of Mr. Darcy and allowed her to have a new

respect for Mr. Darcy. Elizabeth s interest and level of comfort can arguably foreshadow

the fact that Pemberley will soon be her home, too.

Netherfield and Pemberley are essential components of Pride and Prejudice in

representing the opposing ideas of characters and events. Both places contribute greatly

to the meaning of the work by representing how Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth come to

recognize their pride as a flaw in their respective characters. Furthermore, the two places

serve as a way to show how Elizabeth s love for Mr. Darcy is true in that there is a feeling

of respect as well as love. The novel just goes to show that home sweet home sure is a

peaceful place to be.



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