Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” begins with one of the most famous one-liners in the history of literature “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” This line is enough to describe the overall theme and plot of the entire story. The readers are almost immediately introduced to Elizabeth Bennet. She is observant, clever, strong-minded and independent. The entire story takes a leap of drama, and the main focus is on how people judge others based on their wealth, appearance and family.
Not a lot has changed from the 1800s, and people fail to correlate this book with the society today, but they still judge each other by their wealth, looks and family backgrounds.
She was smart and independent
Elizabeth was a smart and independent woman and was able to make her own decisions in life. She was not a follower but a leader and was always about accomplishing goals. She was never ready to settle for anything less just because she was a woman or because all the other people were doing it. In spite of having such commendable qualities, society and social class got in her way. A lot of women can relate to Elizabeth today as they want to be like her, but the societal norms are controlling and interfering. A lot of women want to free themselves from the ongoing tradition of finding or needing a man to continue with their life, just like Elizabeth did not need a man desperately. They do not want to get married, and this is one of the reasons why the story of pride and prejudice is still relevant in today’s time.
Wealth and status
The class structure is still relevant today and still going on. Jane had written about how people were tied to their social backgrounds, and they still are for a matter of fact. The society gives more importance to people who are rich or are socially accepted. As we call it, the rich ones have ghamand about all the money they have and look down at the poor class.Ghamand in English is called pride, which we get from pride and prejudice. People are biased and more often support the ones who are powerful and wealthy. Just like Darcy, people get socially awkward and confused when they encounter people from other class and fail to establish any kind of understanding with them.
Quick in making assumptions
Both Darcy and Elizabeth were extremely fast in making snap judgments about each other as well as people around them, and later on, find that they were incorrect. This is precisely the scenario today; people are very quick in making judgments. They judge the book by its cover without really seeing on the inside.
Women have gained importance and respect over the time; however, they are still not treated equally as compared to a man regarding remuneration, social instances, decision making, etc. It is indeed possible to read Austen’s book as an “escapist fantasy,” but it is not at all a fairytale and has a realistic approach towards life. The messages were much darker and still hold relevance in society.