Physical Movement of Characters in Pride and Prejudice

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In the novel Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen forces the characters such as Elizabeth and Mr. Bingley and his company to move to different settings. When Darcy visits the town of Longbourn being a member of Mr, Bingley’s company, we see an uproar among the small town. When Elizabeth visits Darcy at Pemberley, we see the author develop the plot and the characters involved using the symbolism of the character’s physical journey. The point of view from which Austen reveals details in the passage serve to add more meaning to the characters, the plot, and the entire work of the novel.

Pride and Prejudice begins with the visit of Mr. Bingley and his company, coming from a larger town to the Bennet’s village of Longbourn. This physical journey of these characters has meaning and influence as revealed by Mrs. Bennet. “‘ But consider your daughters. Only think what an establishment it would be for one of them. Sir William and Lady Lucas are determined to go, merely on that account, for in general you know they visit no new comers. Indeed you must go, for it will be impossible for us to visit him, if you do not’” (2). First, the news of the visit by Mr.

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Bingley and his company spreads quickly throughout the entire town of Longbourn. The act of their harmless visit causes the townspeople to interpret it as a chance of marrying off their daughters. A person’s literal movements has much more meaning as the visit of Mr. Bingley means an opportunity for marriage for many families. Second, Mrs. Bennet suggests that the physical movement of Mr. Bennet to Bingley’s Netherfield. has substantial meaning, in this case, it opens the opportunity for the Bennet daughters to visit. Meaning that according to Mrs. Bennet, Mr. Bennet must visit Mr.

Bingley to even have a chance of marriage for his daughters. This creates an environment in the world of Pride and Prejudice where taking the time to make an acquaintance means one’s whole reputation. Sir William and Lady Lucas are planning a visit even though they visit no newcomers, revealing the magnitude of one’s visit. Jane Austin creates an environment in her novel where physical movements or journeys are important elements and has major influences.. Later, Elizabeth visits the home of Darcy, which is very significant. This is the only time we see the setting outside of our main character’s town. There was certainly at this moment, in Elizabeth’s mind, a more gentle sensation towards the original than had ever felt in the height of their acquaintance” (167). Along with Elizabeth, the author develops our opinion  of Darcy. during this change of setting. Our first impression of Darcy is morbid, solemn, uninviting. But when Austen describes his living quarters, she uses vocabulary such as elegance and handsome. Another contrast is given, enhancing our view of Darcy to have a hidden side that is opposite to the original opinion of Elizabeth.

Later on during the visit, the housekeeper stated that every idea she brought forward “was favourable to his character” (167). This journey  to Pemberley symbolizes our protagonist setting aside her assumptions and boundaries to search for the true identity of Darcy, a clear contrast from her usual judgemental view. Jane Austen chooses words such as warm, stream, delight, lofty to describe, from Elizabeth’s point of view, the Pemberley house. In doing so, the author creates a tone of soothing comfort and relaxation which reveals that Elizabeth’s character is turning from pride to open-mindedness.

Elizabeth visiting Darcy changes her whole opinion of him. In literature, the physical movement of a character is an important element to the work as a whole. In Pride and Prejudice, we see it through the visits of Mr. Bingley, Elizabeth, and the reactions of the  townspeople of Longbourn. Jane Austen uses a journey to symbolize something greater than a mere physical action, but the culture at the time, the importance of reputation and image, and the change of heart for a character. A literal movement from one place to another can be used to change the direction of a book, which Jane Austen did in Pride and Prejudice.

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Physical Movement of Characters in Pride and Prejudice. (2016, Oct 15). Retrieved from

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