“Pride and Prejudice” Reading Notes: Highlights and Annotations
Summary of Pride and Prejudice
A young intelligent woman, Elizabeth, had a tendency to judge people quickly. Based on impressions and gossips, she deemed Mr. Darcy proud, cruel, and exploiting his friend. When Mr. Darcy expressed his affection to her, Elizabeth bashed him with criticism and sarcasm. However, after meeting Mr. Darcy and his family on a trip, she realized that she had rushed her opinions. She was misled by Mr. Wickham, whom she had deemed to be trustworthy but was actually a long-time liar. When she found out that she had misjudged so many people along the way, she confessed to Mr. Darcy: both her apologies and her own affection towards him. In the end, Mr. Darcy still loved her, and they got married.
The storytelling was magnificent and humorous. Not only did Elizabeth misjudged the characters of people, but also I - the reader - misjudged along with her. I also thought in the beginning that Mr. Darcy was obnoxious proud. It’s the way that author manipulated the narrative, showing only Elizabeth’s perspective, that achieved this effect. There were many intelligent conversations, yet the characters were distinct. Each smart people had their own way of showing their intelligence, some by infallible arguments, some by sarcasms and jokes.
Highlights and Annotations
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.
The beginning sentence has a witty humor behind it, which set the tone of the whole book. The sort of sarcastic, smart, biting comments were often laid by the narrator, by Elizabeth, or by her father Mr. Bennet. In fact, Mr. Bennet in the most of the book was hardly a fatherly figure. His love and biases towards the daughters were apparent. However, when his least favorite daughter was potentially in danger, his worry and actions spoke for his actual feelings.
Mr. Bennet had been an observer to the story for the majority of the book. He saw his own family and the world in a very picky lens; he did not participate in activities much; even when he did, he would take the chance to mock someone. The author might have projected herself onto this character, so she could point out ironies and mock the stupidity of people in a more engaging way.
Compliments always take you by surprise, and me never.
Elizabeth inherited Mr. Bennet’s humor, but added a self-mocking element to it. She often criticized herself and laughed about herself. She sometimes makes harsh judgments against herself, and sometimes makes fun of flaws in her own personality. Compared with Mr. Bennet’s stinging sarcasm, Elizabeth was humbler, yet prouder in herself at the same time.
“Pride,” observed Mary, who piqued herself upon the solidity of her reflections,“is a very common failing, Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us.”
Mary is the other side of the author’s voice. In contrast to how mocking was expressed through Mr. Bennet’s mouth, the serious morals were delivered by Mary the nerd.
“Undoubtedly,” replied Darcy, to whom this remark was chiefly addressed, “there is a meanness in all the arts which ladies sometimes condescend to employ for captivation. Whatever bears affinity to cunning is despicable.”
Mr. Darcy was also smart and not stingy on his criticisms. But he did not use the deliberate sarcasm like Mr. Bennet. Mr. Darcy was too proud of himself to spend effort in crafting witty attacks just for the sake of mocking people. He was much more blunt in his criticism, while Mr. Bennet would go through winding roads that catch people by surprise. It was not in his character to deliberately hurt people, although at this point of the book, the real detailed Mr. Darcy had yet to be shown. His remarks were not lacking of intelligence, however. It originated from his clear mind, observant nature, and his pride to not losing an argument.
“…… Everything nourishes what is strong already. But if it be only a slight, thin sort of inclination, I am convinced that one good sonnet will starve it entirely away.”
(said by Mr. Darcy)
“Nothing is more deceitful,” said Darcy, “than the appearance of humility. It is often only carelessness of opinion, and sometimes an indirect boast.”
" Yes, vanity is a weakness indeed. But pride — where there is a real superiority of mind, pride will be always under good regulation."
Mr. Darcy never hid his pride. He was so proud that even pride itself was to be proud of. The above quotes outlined that part of his character in clarity.
“An unhappy alternative is before you, Elizabeth. From this day you must be a stranger to one of your parents. Your mother will never see you again if you do not marry Mr. Collins, and I will never see you again if you do.”
Almost anything could be seen as a joke to Mr. Bennet. He was like an old monk who had seen everything in the world, and therefore no longer find anything worthy of excitement (though he was quite disturbed later when Lydia was lost). Unlike a monk though, he loved to make fun of people.
Some Non-annotated Highlights
There are few people whom I really love, and still fewer of whom I think well. The more I see of the world, the more am I dissatisfied with it; and every day confirms my belief of the inconsistency of all human characters, and of the little dependence that can be placed on the appearance of merit or sense.
“…… I have had the pleasure of your acquaintance long enough to know that you find great enjoyment in occasionally professing opinions which in fact are not your own.”
He spoke of apprehension and anxiety, but his countenance expressed real security.
Reflection must be reserved for solitary hours ; whenever she was alone, she gave way to it as the greatest relief ; and not a day went by without a solitary walk, in which she might indulge in all the delight of unpleasant recollections.
Mrs. Gardiner abused her stupidity.
“But he is a liberal master, I suppose, and that in the eye of a servant comprehends every virtue.”
Assistance is impossible; condolence insufferable. Let them triumph over us at a distance, and be satisfied."
We all love to instruct, though we can teach only what is not worth knowing.
“I do not pretend to possess equal frankness with your ladyship. You may ask questions which I shall not choose to answer.”
Austen, J. (2012). Pride and Prejudice. Amazon Digital Services LLC.