Pride and Prejudice
Pride and Prejudice and Shmoop.
Sharpen those claws, Shmoopers, because it's about to get catty in here. Jane Austen may have a reputation for writing about demure ladies in fancy dresses sitting around and talking about getting married, but Pride and Prejudice is more than that.
This course includes activities, readings, and projects designed to help you
- describe and analyze Austen's writing style. (Common Core, anyone?)
- understand the history of the English novel and Jane Austen's place in it.
- explore the social and historical realities of early 19th-century life.
- think about how STEM perspectives might apply to literary analysis. (Hello, interdisciplinarity!)
Unit 1. Pride and Prejudice
Colin Firth may or may not make a cameo in this 15-lesson unit on Pride and Prejudice. Just in case, you might want to practice saying "gentry" in your best British accent.
Sample Lesson - Introduction
Lesson 2: (Love and) Marriage
Marriage. It brings us together. It sells copies of US Weekly. It propels the plots of 93% of Victorian novels.
Okay, so we made that last statistic up. But truthfully, marriage is hugely important in Jane Austen novels—almost as important as money.
If you're taking this course, you're probably old enough to have spent at least some time thinking about a potential life-mate. Maybe you've had a crush or two; maybe you're in a serious, long-term relationship. Either way, you're almost certainly not checking your love interest's credit history and career plans. Love conquers all, right?
Not in the 19th century, and especially not for the upper classes. Think Game of Thrones, not The Mindy Project. Marriage was still seen as a contract-driven coming together of assets. Just as most of us today grow up thinking that we should find marriage partners who are going to provide long-term emotional fulfillment, most upper-class kids of Jane Austen's time grew up thinking that they should find marriage partners who were going to help them sustain the same lifestyle they grew up in.
For women, that meant guys from good families with enough money. For men, that meant...women from good families with enough money. And that means the Bennet sisters are doubly out of luck. They have no money, and although their father is a gentleman, their mother is related to tradespeople.
It's not looking good for this family of five.
Sample Lesson - Reading
Reading 1.2: Party Down
Pick out a nice dress, because it's time for the assembly at Meryton.
And while you're at it, take a gander at our discussion of the Theme of Marriage.
Sample Lesson - Activity
Activity 1.2a: Pride and Prejudice
With the word "pride" in the title of the book, you probably aren't surprised to see it pop up pretty quickly—in Chapter 5, to be exact. Here's the passage (they're talking about Mr. Darcy, natch):
"His pride," said Miss Lucas, "does not offend me so much as pride often does, because there is an excuse for it. One cannot wonder that so very fine a young man, with family, fortune, everything in his favour, should think highly of himself. If I may so express it, he has a right to be proud."
"That is very true," replied Elizabeth, "and I could easily forgive his pride, if he had not mortified mine."
"Pride," observed Mary, who piqued herself upon the solidity of her reflections, "is a very common failing, I believe. By all that I have ever read, I am convinced that it is very common indeed; that human nature is particularly prone to it, and that there are very few of us who do not cherish a feeling of self-complacency on the score of some quality or other, real or imaginary. 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."
Do you agree with Mary's distinction? Is there ever a time when it's right to be proud? Take some notes on the matter, making sure to respond directly to Mary's definition and taking a stab at another definition, if you think you've got a better one.
Write up your reflections in a tidy 250 words, and post them on the class discussion board. Respond to at least two of your peers, keeping it civil. (This is Austen, after all.)
Sample Lesson - Activity
Quiz 1.2b: Chapters 2-6
- Course Length: 3 weeks
- Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, College
- Course Type: Short Course
Just what the heck is a Shmoop Online Course?
Common Core Standards
The following standards are covered in this course:CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.1