Whickham,The Forgotten Essay, Research Paper
Pride and Prejudice:
Wickham, the forgotten influence of the story
Pride and Prejudice was written by the famous Jane Austen in 1813. It was first called First Impression . The reason for its name was pretty obvious after reading the novel. The main character, Elizabeth, often judged others by the first impression. As the novel proceeded, these characters slowly revealed their true personalities, which were totally contrary to the first impression. There was an obvious misjudgment between many characters especially Elizabeth and Darcy. However, these misjudgment were essential in shaping the outcome of the story.
Pride and Prejudice tells the story about five sisters of the Bennet family and their different belief towards life. The five sisters are Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Kitty, and Lydia. They lived at Longbourn in Hertfordshire. Without any male heir, the family would have to give up their property to their closest male relative, William Collins. He worked as a rector of the Lady Catherine de Bourgh.
One day Charles Bingley, a wealthy young man, rented Netherfield, a house near Longbourn. Accompanied him was his two sisters and his friend, Fitzwilliam Darcy. Charles Bingley and Jane soon began to develop a relationship. Darcy was fond of Elizabeth, but her feelings towards him were the exact opposite. She disliked him for his coldness and arrogance. Her hatred mounted when she thought Darcy misjudged George Wickham, young militia officer. Moreover, she learned that Darcy took part in the separation of Bingley and Jane.
In the meantime, Mr. Collins came to Longbourn for a visit. Encouraged by Lady Catherine and his concern for the Bennet family, he proposed to Elizabeth. She rejected him. He then proposed to Charlotte Lucas, Elizabeth s best friend, which she eagerly accepted.
Elizabeth went to visit the newly wed where she again encountered Darcy. On his prior visit, Darcy had expressed his true feelings towards Elizabeth and asked her to marry him. She refused and accused him of separating Jane and Bingley. Darcy tried to tell Elizabeth the truth by writing a letter which described his side of the story about the separation of Bingley and Jane and also the true nature of Wickham.
Elizabeth took a trip to Derbyshire with her aunt and uncle, the Gardiners. They visited Pemberly, Darcy s property, and evidently Elizabeth met Darcy again. With his charming personality and his maid s praise, she was drawn to him. Meanwhile at Longbourn Lydia had eloped with Wickham. Darcy tried to help by tracking them down. He paid off their debts and arranged their marriage. These were all done secretly.
Elizabeth finally learned about her misjudgment of Darcy and fell in love with him. They got married. Jane and Bingley reunited and also got married.
The misjudgment between Darcy and Elizabeth could be clearly seen. Elizabeth got the first impression that Darcy was a cold and arrogant person. Initially Darcy appeared to be full of pride. He showed poor manners in public when refusing to dance with Elizabeth. He said She is tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me. (Pride and Prejudice, page 11). Elizabeth disliked him immediately without trying to seek his true personality. Instead, she listened to Wickham, a person she met for only one day. Elizabeth also misjudged Wickham. She liked him for his good look and charming character without knowing his true personality. It revealed the prejudice of Elizabeth to Darcy.
Wickham was playing Elizabeth for a fool. She already had negative feelings toward Darcy, therefore it was very easy for Wickham to manipulate Elizabeth. Elizabeth said I have spent four days in the same house with him, and I think him very disagreeable. Wickham then knew that Elizabeth was on his side and described the negativity of Darcy (Pride and Prejudice, page 68). Wickham succeeded in misleading Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth later visited Pemberley, the good nature of Darcy was portrayed and supported by his housekeeper. She also realized that Wickham who appeared to be pleasant socially was in fact immoral, irresponsible, and selfish. He left debts behind and eloped with Lydia. Darcy was the opposite. He initially seemed unpleasant but was truly a good person. This is what Elizabeth felt when realizing her prejudice against Darcy. How humiliating is this discovery Pleased with the preference of one, and offended by the neglect of the other, on the very beginning of our acquaintance, I have courted prepossession and ignorance, and driven reason away, where either were concerned. Till this moment I never knew myself. (Pride and Prejudice, page 162).
There were three factors that change Elizabeth s feelings towards Darcy. The letter that Darcy wrote to Elizabeth was the first key that right the negative feelings she had. The second was when she heard the praised of his maid. The third key was when she found out that Darcy was the one behind Lydia s arrangements. Therefore, it could be said that without Wickham, there would be no one to guide Elizabeth feelings from the negative to the positive. He was both a destroyer and a creator.
At the end of the story, Darcy and Elizabeth developed their characters by emerging from their pride and prejudice. Darcy learned the effects of pride and changed his proud behavior after Elizabeth refused his proposal. Elizabeth discovered her own prejudice and learned that she should not be too quick to judge.
Jane Austen s clever skill of writing had made this story, not only a great entertaining novel, but also a great lesson in living one s life. No wonder this novel is being praised by every generation.