Since itspublication, Pride and Prejudice has become one of the most popular books inEnglish literature.
According to the idiom ”Don’t judge a book by its cover”it is understood that a title of a book plays an important role for the readerseven though any should not form an opinion on a book by its title. A title mustbe attractive and stickin the minds of prospective readers. Jane Austen first entitled the book ”FirstImpressions” but then altered it to ”Pride and Prejudice”. But why didAusten change it and was it a successful decision? In fact, it was.To startwith Pride and Prejudice is ”a novel of manners” (Huston, K.). This novel isabout marriage and focuses on the social characteristics and the significanceof social groups.
Austen’s book was published in 1813 right in the heart of theregency era. Dashwood notes that regency started immediately after the politicalalterations of the American and French Revolutions. In addition, women’s rightswere a developing concern during regency period. Women in England had one primary ‘operation’:to marry and marry well (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016).
Moreover, societydid not give many chances to women to follow a job as most of them had minor educationalopportunities. Before itis analyzed why ”Pride and Prejudice” is a more acceptable and effective title,first impressions in general should be addressed. According to AlexanderTodorov, firstimpressions cannot be trusted and are not accurate assessments. Firstimpressions sometimes can be detrimental leading to prejudice.
To continue withthe role of first impressions in Pride in Prejudice are the most crucial themes.As the story continues first impressions turn out to be remarkably opposite.For example, Mr. Wickham’s gentlemanlike appearance seems to also be agentleman in manners too. In fact, as his true behaviour once be recognized, heappears a womanizer bringing damage to Bennet’s family. Furthermore, the main characters Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy are both affected by firstimpressions leading to destroy almost their relationship which will occur later.Both characters start judging each other because of first impressions but atthe end as they get to know each other better, they develop another opinion.
What werethe first impressions of Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy and how did they modify? WhenElizabeth first met Mr. Darcy at the Meryton Ball she agreed that he was theproudest and rudest man present in the room. Darcy’s character is developed to demonstratehis pride against dancing with people of lower class as he also shows an obviousdislike for Elizabeth. Thus, Elizabeth’s first impressions on Mr.
Darcy were excusable.What is more, a fast-prejudicial judgement of someone can lead to wrongimpressions and adverse results. Their antipathy of each other was intensifiedwhen Wickham persuaded Elizabeth that Darcy cheated him of his heritage. Theauthor proves that they have miscalculated Wickham and Darcy depended onElizabeth’s first impressions and that impressions are not always accurate.
Therefore, Jane Austen successfully manipulatesthe readers into supposing Elizabeth’s initial impressions about these twocharacters only to have them reveal their real manners and personalities by theend of the story. Pride and Prejudice was first entitled FirstImpressions but after the success of Sense and Sensibility the publisher decidedto alter the title into Pride and Prejudice (Shmoop University). Obviously, title matters. Atittle should arouse reader’s interest and be suitable enough in order todescribe as much the content of the book and story. As it was mentioned above,Pride and Prejudice is about marriage and initial impressions. Then, why wouldit be more sufficient to be titled ”Pride and Prejudice” if it is referringto first impressions? Indeed, the author aims to express a deeper meaning.
With ‘FirstImpressions’, readers are directly focused on the characters’ position. A novelcalled First Impressions reminds of manners, behaviour and appearance and peopleinteracting with other people. On the other hand, Austen describes also thepride and prejudice mostly of the leading characters.