(Click the themes infographic to download.)
If you think your family is embarrassing, try having a satirical father, an idiot mother, two hopeless flirts for youngest sisters, and a nerd for a middle sister (and not the cool kind of nerd). Yeah. Lizzy's motto is basically "mo' sisters, mo' problems."
(Click the infographic to download.)
And in the world of Pride and Prejudice, your family's behavior reflects on you. If your sister runs off with the high school dropout who owes money to some really unsavory characters, it reflects badly on you. But if she dates the all-star quarterback, you're in for some reflected glory—and you might even end up dating on the b-string.
Questions About Family
- Is Mrs. Bennet a good mother? Yes? No? Sort of? Why? What are her responsibilities toward her children?
- Is Mr. Bennet a good father? What does "good father" mean in this context? What are his responsibilities toward his children?
- Compare the Bennets to other parenting models in the novel. How do they stack up against the Lucases? Against Lady de Bourgh? Against what we know of Darcy's parents?
- How much do the actions of parents ripple through the lives of their children? How much do the characters expect them to? Do young characters think about the effects their parents are having on them? Why or why not?
Chew on This
Austen doesn't care how much Mr. and Mrs. Bennet love their kids; they're still bad parents.
In the novel, young people are influenced by their friends much more than by their parents.