Elizabeth Bennet clashes with the proud Mr. Darcy, but soon questions her rush to judgement — in this classic commentary on love, propriety, marriage, and money in England during the Regency Period.
Below are some reading passages that we have hand picked to supplement this book. Be sure to read the passage summaries and our suggestions for instructional use.
A writer describes what she has learned by living her twenty-first-century life as if she lived in the late 1800s.
Have students read this text before they begin reading the novel, in order to provide background information on the book’s setting, and the kind of technology that would be used in the characters’ daily lives (i.e. the Regency Era). Pair “Everyday Life as a Learning Experience” with Pride and Prejudice and ask students to consider the former as they begin to read the latter — how might the technology (or lack thereof) of the early 19th century have contributed to the culture present in the novel?
Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde (1854B1900) was an Irish author and playwright who is most famous for his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray. “The Model Millionaire” is a about an average man whose generosity produces an unexpected outcome.
Introduce this short story shortly after beginning the novel as a comparison of literary devices, as well as a tool to draw from for thematic connections. Pair “The Model Millionaire” with Pride and Prejudice and ask students to consider the shared themes of wealth and status, and to compare the humor and tone of both texts — how do Wilde’s witticisms compare to Austen’s, particularly the famous opening line of Pride and Prejudice?
In “Advice to the ‘Newly Married Lady’” (1808), a doctor from the 19th century advises new wives to defer to their husbands.
Have students read this text after finishing Chapter 23 as historical and cultural context regarding marriage customs during the novel’s setting. Pair “Advice to the Newly Married Lady” with Pride and Prejudice and ask students to discuss what was expected of women in marriage — how does this compare to the importance placed on marriage in the novel? Consider Charlotte Lucas’ willingness to marry Mr. Collins, despite the lack of love between them.
Loving another person and accepting love from another person can sometimes be a very painful experience. In his article, “Why Do We Hate Love,” Robert Firestone, Ph.D. explains the psychology behind this phenomenon.
Introduce this text after students have read Chapter 35, to help provide psychological insight into the relationship between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy. Pair “Why Do We Hate Love?” with Pride and Prejudice and ask students to consider Elizabeth’s rejection of Mr. Darcy, as well as the general tension or hostility exhibited between them in previous chapters.
Kate Chopin (1850-1904) was an American author and a forerunner of many twentieth-century feminist writers. “A Matter of Prejudice,” takes place in an upper class neighborhood of the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana. Its protagonist, Madame Carambeau, learns to overcome her prejudices after taking care of a small child.
Introduce this short story after students have read Chapter 45 in order to help them draw thematic connections across texts. Pair “A Matter of Prejudice” with Pride and Prejudice and ask students to consider the theme of prejudice. How does Elizabeth’s evolution help her overcome her misconceptions about Mr. Darcy — What does he do to change her mind? Alternatively, you may choose to introduce this pairing after students have completed the novel.
“The New Colossus” is a poem by Emma Lazarus that was published in 1883. It describes the millions of immigrants who came to America through the port of New York City at Ellis Island.
Introduce this text after students have read Chapter 50, when Lydia runs away with Wickham, in order to encourage students to draw a thematic comparison on pride and reputation through a cross-text analysis. Pair “A Slander” with Pride and Prejudice and ask students to consider how reputation plays a large part in both of the texts. How do the characters react to the threat of scandal? In what ways does Austen take the importance of propriety seriously and/or poke fun at it?
In this poem, contemporary American writer and Pulitzer Prize winner Rita Dove reinvents a common symbol--the heart--and in doing so, shows us what it means to be human.
Introduce this text after students have read Chapter 60, in order to use the topic of love to draw thematic connections across genre. Pair “Heart to Heart” with Pride and Prejudice and ask students to consider how the poem relates to the behavior and feelings of Mr. Darcy, particularly in Chapters 3, 34-35, and 58-60 — how does he demonstrate and conceal his love for Elizabeth?
In “Sense and Sensibility, Chapters 1 and 2,” Jane Austen tells the story of three sisters following the death of their father.
Have students read this text after finishing the novel as a comparative analysis of Austen’s writing style. Pair “Sense and Sensibility Chapters 1 and 2” with Pride and Prejudice and ask students to compare these two early works of Jane Austen, including style, tone, and content — what themes or motifs do both texts share? For example, how do class and inheritance play a large role in Austen’s commentary on life in Regency England?