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Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice

The humourous first line of the novel is one of the best-known of world literature. “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”

This novel tells the story of Elizabeth Bennet (Lizzie), a young woman under pressure from her family to find an appropriate husband.

The Bennet family has five daughters but no sons and, by the laws of the time, the family home will pass to their male cousin, Mr. Collins, when Mr. Bennet dies. The only way for the Bennet girls to achieve future financial security is to “marry well.”

One of the main themes in the novel is prejudice and how, sometimes, first impressions can be wrong. Several of the characters make poor judgments that almost lead to disaster.

Pride and Prejudice is probably the best-loved of Jane Austen’s six novels and there have been various successful, and some not so successful, film adaptations made of it. The most recent of the successes was released in 2005 and starred Keira Knightley as Lizzie.