Are you an avid reader of fictional books or novels of any genre? Are you a student taking some courses related to literature such as creative writing, storytelling, screenwriting and so on? Then there is a good chance that you will be coming across assignments that require you to write an essay on some specific literary material or work. You may be asked to explore a particular theme in work. That means you will have to write an expository essay to inform your reader about the issue in the specific literary material.
Similarly, you may be asked to critique a piece of literary work. It means you will have to come up with a critical essay, which presents an analysis of the themes and other issues in the material such as the behavior of characters depicted and how their relationships are affected by different circumstances such as tragedy, family dynamics, work or career, political and economic developments. When critiquing a material, you can make a few arguments expressing your take on how or why things are presented the way they are, but greater emphasis is to be placed on factually based evidence or what is contained in the material.
One of such literary pieces of work you may come across is a novel titled Pride and Prejudice.
It is a romantic novel that was written by the English Novelist Jane Austen (1775 — 1817). It was first published in the year 1813. The novel explores the life of the main character Elizabeth Bennet, who has four other sisters and their parents (Mr. and Mrs. Bennet). In the story, Mr. Bennet's estate or property cannot be inherited or sold because they are legally entailed or encumbered. It implied they could not be passed on as the inheritance to any of their children.
Furthermore, his wife is from no wealthy background or in possession of a significant fortune. That induces them into exerting pressure on their daughters to marry into wealthy families to improve their economic fortune and social status and be in a position to support other family members should Mr. Bennet suddenly pass on by death. The plot primarily explores the issue of marriage and what real purpose should inform such an important union. It also examines issues connected to marriage such as social class, education, and power. Elizabeth Bennet through her experiences is made to face the question of what should matter for her when deciding whom to marry: the superficial (money, social class, etc.) or deep-seated value (mutual love, care, and respect)?
It may interest you to know that the original novel is considered one of the most popular novels in the annals of English literature. It has sold over 20 million copies around the world, with varying forms and styles of modifications done to portray the original story and characters in theatres and other print media. It may also interest you to know that it has a movie adaption of the same title. The movie was released in 2005 starring some famous Hollywood actresses including Keira Knightley.
Before Starting to Write Your Essay
When you have to write an essay on Pride and Prejudice, do understand the requirements regarding what type of essay it should be, the expected length of the essay in words or pages, formatting of text and headings, page margins, the writing style and other literary devices or tools you are expected to use in it. After that, the next step is to start planning and researching the material with the focus on what aspects you need to extract and analyze. That is especially useful if you previously have not read the book. You could also choose to watch the movie adaptation to get some insights. Next step is to create an outline for the essay. It will serve as the framework or skeleton upon which you will build your write-up.
Regarding the type of essay, your assignment may also be to write a Pride and Prejudice literary analysis essay. That means you have to study the literary work closely, evaluate and analyze the work into its parts or themes. You also have to investigate or try to explain as to why the author presented characters or themes in work the way it is therein. You can make arguments that are subjective, but they should be strictly based on evidence that can be found in the material.
When writing a literary analysis, also keep the following in mind:
- You should clearly state the aim of your investigation in a thesis statement. It is the central or main idea behind all the content of your analysis.
- Stay focused on only the topic or material you are writing about. Do not stray into issues, examples that have no clear and direct connections with the literary work you are analyzing. Your readers should feel like they are understanding the analyzed material much better and getting insights they otherwise never had. The reader should feel immersed in the literary work.
- The write-up should be organized in such a way that every paragraph or main body of explanation (perhaps around a theme or character) connects logically to the previous and subsequent ones coherently and sequentially.
- Give a conclusion that presents your main idea once more and briefly explains the key issues addressed in the analysis to support the thesis.
You can even think of the above points as being useful tips to note down and use for writing a literary analysis.
Themes of Pride and Prejudice: Essay Outline Example
It may not be surprising that some students may be confused or still struggle a bit with writing their own essays. The writing process is made much easier when planned. One tool that eases the process is an essay outline. Recall that it serves as a framework, skeleton, or foundation upon which you will develop the content of your essay. To help give a better understanding of what is involved, we present below a sample of an essay outline focusing on the themes of the novel.
- Title of the Essay: Pride and Prejudice: A Literary Analysis Around Crucial Themes
- Introduction: Aim of analysis or central idea of the essay;
- Body Paragraph 1: The role of social class in the plot;
- Body Paragraph 2: Marriage and how it is viewed in connection with social class;
- Body Paragraph 3: Exploring femininity and how it shaped the outcomes for characters in the plot;
- Body Paragraph 4: The influence and pressure from family members and how they shaped the fate of some characters;
- Conclusion: The main idea presented again with the key issues addressed mentioned briefly.
Do note that the above is just a sample outline. An outline is never the same for everyone even when writing on the same topic. It is a personal tool to help you or any other writer flesh out the structure and content of your work.
Essay Topics on Pride and Prejudice — Exploring Your Options
For any avid fan of the novel, exploring essay topics on Pride and Prejudice to work on should be exciting, because there is a litany of possibilities due to the multi-faceted themes, characters, and plot of the novel. Indeed, one will be spoilt for choice in selecting an essay topic. Some of the themes you can explore to be the topic of your essay include Marriage in Pride and Prejudice. You can write about issues connected to the marriages of Elizabeth Bennet and her four sisters, and the views or attitudes of their family members to the subject of marriage. Another theme that may be explored would be the social class in Pride and Prejudice. That is obvious in the plot as the story was set during the Regency and in monarchial British society, having the class divide between the royals, the knights, and nobles as well as the commoners in the lower echelons of society. Similarly, exploring the benefits such as wealth and power or lack thereof due to the social classes of the characters will be a valuable part of the theme. There is also the theme of Feminism in Pride and Prejudice. It will make for a rich and stimulating analysis to focus on the attitudes of the British society to women in the era in which the novel is set. You may glean from reading the novel how the writer infuses the British values of the time regarding roles women should play in family life and public life. The following are ten possible essay topics that can be taken from the book.
- Explore a few of the most significant factors that represent obstacles to the sprouting of an amorous relationship between Bingley and Jane.
- Write a critical essay evaluating the differences between Elizabeth and Charlotte's views on the issue of marriage.
- Critically write on the social class within British society during the period in which the story is set. Evaluate how social class influences relationships between men and women and also marriage.
- Identify and explain the roles Lady Catherine, Bingley, and Mr. Collins played in initiating the relationship between Darcy and Elizabeth?
- First impressions may matter but can also be misleading. In the context of the first encounters between Elizabeth and Darcy, how true or not is the statement?
- Describe the character of Mr. Collins and his most significant roles in the plot of the novel.
- Describe the character of Mr.Bennet and how his views on wealth and family influence his attitudes to his daughters on the issue of marriage.
- Mary Bennet appears to be the less emphasized character in the main course of events. How would you describe her using references from the novel? What makes her different from her other sisters?
- Darcy was first attracted to Elizabeth due to her striking eyes. Evaluate the significance of this attraction.
- A tale of two names: Although originally named the First Impression, the novel was later retitled Pride and Prejudice. Write a critical essay assessing which of the title you consider more relevant and fitting for the novel.
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