Pride and Prejudice
by Jane Austen
Analysis: Plot Analysis
Most good stories start with a fundamental list of ingredients: the initial situation, conflict, complication, climax, suspense, denouement, and conclusion. Great writers sometimes shake up the recipe and add some spice.
The Bennets have five single daughters, one very pushy mother, no money, no marriage prospects. Then a young, rich, single man moves into the neighborhood.
This is clearly an initial situation because there's way too much instability in this system. Anyone else predict that the pushy mother is going to be pushing her daughters on the single man?
The Girl From the Wrong Side of Tracks
Bingley starts falling for Jane, but his sisters and friend don't approve. An obstacle in the path of true love and familial happiness! To make matters worse, Darcy has developed a crush on Jane's sister Elizabeth, and all the objections he has to Bingley marrying Jane (her lower class, crazy family) also apply to the prospect of him marrying Elizabeth. It's cool, though: Lizzy hates Darcy so much that we're pretty sure they're never going to get together. Not.
So Long, Farewell
Bingley's sisters and Darcy convince Bingley not to marry Jane, and Lizzy meets a cute, sexy guy named Wickham who drips (figurative) poison about Darcy in her ear. This is definitely complicated.
Put a Ring On It
So many feels in this climax. Darcy finally proposes to Elizabeth, and Elizabeth essentially tells him that she wouldn't marry him if he was the last man on earth.
But! That's not the end of the climax! Darcy gives Elizabeth a letter that exonerates him from all the charges she leveled against him. Both of our heroes start to question themselves: can Elizabeth really be such a good judge of character if she was fooled by Darcy and Wickham's exterior masks? This is the climax of the novel because the greatest attitude shifts come here. It's smoother (not quite smooth) sailing from here on out for our two main characters.
What Happens in Vegas
Lydia runs off with Wickham, which potentially destroys any chance at happiness for Elizabeth and Jane. No respectable man will marry a woman whose sister lived in sin with some guy she never even ended up marrying. Don't know about you, but we're biting our nails.
First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage
Mr. Darcy uses money to force Wickham to marry Lydia. The Bennet family's reputation is saved, which means Bingley and Darcy can propose to their ladies. Whew! Here's the ending we've been waiting for.
Our two favorite married couples are happy and rich, but Lydia and Wickham's marriage unravels and they become broke. The two unmarried Bennet sisters are doing well, and Jane moves to an estate practically next door to Pemberley. Perfect.