A reader's guide to Pride And Prejudice

The BBC Big Read gave us a chance to reappraise one of the classics of English literature - should we be proud of Jane, or does she warrant a more prejudical approach?

By: Dr Stephanie Forward (English Department)

  • Duration 5 mins
  • Updated Tuesday 6th January 2004
  • Introductory level
  • Posted under Literature
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In January we’re starting a forum on the books in the Big Read Calendar, and we’re kicking off with Jane Austen’s popular novel ‘Pride and Prejudice’. This forum will be of particular interest to anyone taking the Open University's A210 course 'Approaching Literature' , as Austen's novel is the first of the set books, but we'd like everyone to join in the discussion, and to suggest topics to explore. In the meantime you might like to think about a few points as you read the book:

Austen has been criticized for making her female characters more convincing than her men! Do you agree?
Charlotte Bronte has described ‘Pride and Prejudice’ like this: ‘a carefully fenced, highly cultivated garden, with neat borders and delicate flowers; but no glance of a bright, vivid physiognomy, no open country, no fresh air, no blue hill, no bonny beck’. Is this the old green-eyed monster at work? What do you think?
The original title was ‘First Impressions’. Do you prefer ‘Pride and Prejudice’?
What are the main themes of the novel?
Charlotte Lucas says that ‘Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance’. How does Austen tackle the subject of marriage in ‘Pride and Prejudice’?

Pride And Prejudice finger puppets Creative commons image abbey*christine under CC-BY-NC-ND licence under Creative-Commons license
Finger-puppets based on the BBC version of Pride And Prejudice