"And to this purpose"

"If people like to read their books, it is all very well, but to be at so much trouble in filling great volumes, which, as I used to think, nobody would willingly ever look into, to be labouring only for the torment of little boys and girls, always struck me as a hard fate; and though I know it is all very right and necessary, I have often wondered at the person's courage that could sit down on purpose to do it." (In other words: rambling analyses, opinions, ideas, views, and comments from an English major, Essay/paper-writing enthusiastic, Austen-loving Master Librarian on, well, Jane Austen...and a whole lot of other things, too.)

"Celebrated Passages are Quoted"

Heidi's favorite quotes

"What is it really like to be engaged?" asked Anne curiously. "Well, that all depends on who you're engaged to," answered Diana, with that maddening air of superior wisdom always assumed by those who are engaged over those who are not."— L.M. Montgomery

Friday, February 1, 2013

Pride & Prejudice Discussion Questions

All right, gang! Here are the discussion questions I've rounded up from some Internet searching. I didn't take much time to screen them, so if there are some you think are dumb or don't want to answer, don't answer.

1. Pride and Prejudice is probably Austen's most famous, most beloved book. One element, the initial mutual dislike of two people destined to love each other, has become a cliché of the Hollywood romance. I'm sure you can think of numerous examples.

2. In 1814 Mary Russell Mitford wrote: "It is impossible not to feel in every line of Pride and Prejudice...the entire want of taste which could produce so pert, so worldly a heroine as the beloved of such a man as Darcy.... Darcy should have married Jane."
  • Would you have liked the book as well if Jane were its heroine?
  • Have you ever seen a movie version in which the woman playing Jane was, as Austen imagined her, truly more beautiful than the woman playing Elizabeth?
3. Austen suggests that in order to marry well a woman must be pretty, respectable, and have money. In the world of Pride and Prejudice, which of these is most important? 

4. Spare a thought for some of the unmarried women in the book—Mary and Kitty Bennet, Miss de Bourgh, Miss Georgiana Darcy, poor, disappointed Caroline Bingley. Which of them do you picture marrying some day? Which of them do you picture marrying well?

5. Was Charlotte Lucas right to marry Reverend Collins?

6. What are your feelings about Mr. Bennet? Is he a good father? A good husband? A good man?

7. Darcy says that one of Wickham's motivations in his attempted elopement with Georgiana was revenge. What motivations might he have had for running off with Lydia? (Besides the obvious...)

8. Elizabeth Bennet says,".... people themselves alter so much, that there is something new to be observed in them for ever." Do any of the characters in the book change substantially? Or do they, as Elizabeth says of Darcy, "in essentials" remain much as they ever were?

9. Elizabeth is furious with Darcy for breaking up the match between Jane and Mr. Bingley. Although he initially defends himself, she changes his mind. Later when Lady Catherine attempts to interfere in his own courtship, he describes this as unjustifiable.
  • Should you tell a friend if you think they're about to make a big mistake romantically?
  • Have you ever done so? How did that work out for you?
10. Is Elizabeth consistent in her actions? Is she a fully developed character? How? Why?

Any other questions you want to ask/answer?

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