Elizabeth Bennet, a witty, sensible, playful and good-natured daughter of a landed-gentry family, is determined to go against the pressure to marry for material purposes and instead marry for love. Mr. Darcy, her fated lover, is a very wealthy gentleman with a snobbish attitude toward the lower classes, including the Bennet family. Elizabeth starts out despising Darcy for his superiority complex, while he falls for her from the beginning. After his first proposal, the two learn from each other’s criticisms and eventually overcome their pride and prejudice to love each other more deeply than they would have otherwise. They enjoy a happy marriage, a rare experience in a time when marriage was often agreed to for convenience rather than happiness.
1. Setting: Georgian England
Jane Austen lived in Georgian England, during what's known as the Regency Period, when King George III was deemed too mentally ill to rule himself. Instead, a regent ruled in his place, though George III was still technically king.
Regency England is known for its strict social hierarchy. One had to know his/her social rank and act accordingly. To get into the mindset of Austen and her characters, read this blog post about Regency manners. Then, take this quiz to see if you could survive the social expectations of Austen's day.
Another thing to keep in mind about Regency England is the ubiquity of poverty, and the government's lackadaisical actions to remedy it. The motivation to marry wealthy was not just based on vain materialism; it was based on necessity. The pressure Mrs. Bennet put on her daughters was legitimate, though perhaps excessive.
Before moving on to the next section, explore the Jane Austen centre online magazine entries regarding Regency fashion. It will help you in the next section's activity.
2. Meet the Characters
(A) Books without pictures can still be interesting. Good readers create visual images in their heads of the characters, settings, and even vocal expression of dialogue. Choose three characters from the list below and create Bitstrip avatars that look like the characters you choose. Be sure to use the characters' descriptions in the book as a guide.
1. Elizabeth Bennet
2. Mr. Darcy
3. Jane Bennet
4. Mr. Bingley
5. Lydia Bennet
6. George Wickham
7. Mrs. Bennet
8. Mr. Bennet
9. Mr. Collins
10. Charlotte Lucas
11. Lady Catherine de Bourgh
12. Mrs. Gardiner
13. Caroline Bingley
14. Georgiana Darcy
15. Kitty Bennet
16. Mary Bennet
(B) (i) For the character you chose, write a RAFT using the guidelines below:
Roles = your chosen character
Audience = another character (or your own if you choose a journal entry format)
Format = letter, journal entry, sermon
Topic = any topic of your choice that relates to the book and is not already included
in the book. (Ex: you cannot write R=Darcy, A=Elizabeth, F=letter,
T=accusations laid against him after his first proposal)
See me for approval of your RAFT choices before you begin composing it. It must
be at least three paragraphs of at least 5-7 sentences each.
Post your work in the comment stream at the bottom of this page.
(ii) You must also respond to at least 2 of your peers' works, providing praise and
constructive criticism (if necessary). Things to consider: How true is the RAFT to
the character/book? Is it something you think the character would actually say
based on what you know of the character? How well does it reflect Austen's
3. Unlocking the Language
Austen's writings can be difficult to decipher at times. Remember, Pride and Prejudice was written about 200 years ago! Language's nature is to evolve and change over time, so naturally there will be some confusion and misunderstanding.
(A) To help unlock the written wit and sarcasm, choose one of the dialogues listed below:
1. Mr. and Mrs. Bennet discussing Bingley's arrival - pp. 5-7**
2. Miss Bingley, Elizabeth and Darcy, the "turn about the room" - pp. 49-51
3. Mr. Collins and Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, discussing Lady Catherine's daughter - pp.
4. Elizabeth and Darcy's dance discussion - pp. 79-81
5. Mr. Collins proposing to Elizabeth, pp. 91-95
6. Darcy and Elizabeth as she plays the piano at Rosings, pp. 148-150
7. Darcy's first proposal to Elizabeth - pp. 160-164
8. Mr. Bennet, Elizabeth and Kitty - pp. 248-249
(i) Determine which words are key to understanding the sarcasm and wit of the
dialogue. Write a list of them (at least 5), and look up/write out the definitions for
(ii) "Translate" the dialogue you selected into modern English, but using all of the
words you defined in part (i). Write/type it out.
(B) Pair yourself with another student who chose the same dialogue. Compare your written "translations".
(i) Collaborate to compose another "translated" dialogue script, using elements from
the two you each created individually.
(ii) Together, create a Blabber of the dialogue you composed collaboratively. You
may find images online to use. Record your own voices for the characters, using
proper expression to reflect the sarcasm/wit of the dialogue.
(iii) Next, create an additional Blabber of the dialogue as worded in the book. Be
expressive in your reading of it, making sure the wit/sarcasm remains intact.
(iv) Post the links of both of your Blabbers on Twiducate. View and comment on at
least 2 of your classmates' Blabbers.
(C) Now, compare your own rendition of the dialogue you chose with two other versions: The 1995 BBC television series, and the 2005 film. Follow the links and skip to the noted minute:second in the video:
1. Mr. and Mrs. Bennet re: Bingley's arrival:
1995: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xRK-n_bBpls (start 3:36)
2. The "Turn About the Room" scene:
1995: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xRK-n_bBpls (start 50:40)
3. Mr. Collins and the Bennets re: Anne de Bourgh:
2005: (no clip available)
1995: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dg6YLGuTqao (start 5:01)
4. Elizabeth and Darcy's dance discussion:
1995: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dg6YLGuTqao (start 32:19)
5. Mr. Collins' proposal:
1995: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dg6YLGuTqao (start 45:38)
6. Darcy and Elizabeth at Rosings:
1995: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9pjA9mBpwI (start 38:00)
7. Darcy's first proposal:
8. Mr. Bennet, Elizabeth and Kitty:
2005: (no clip available)
1995: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJB9tOlTkQ8 (start 41:14)
(i) After viewing each version of the dialogue, note the following:
1. Compare the lines to: the book, the other film version, your own dialogue. How
are the lines delivered? What is the actor's speed, vocal tone and expression,
facial expression/body language?
2. Compare the setting: where is the scene taking place? How is it decorated? Who
else is there?
3. Compare the cinematography: What is the lighting like? How are characters
positioned in the frame? What is the camera angle?
4. Compare the characterization: How is each character portrayed? How do the
actors' portrayal compare to the book's portrayal of the characters? How do
they all compare to the Bitstrip characters you created?
5. Compare the overall impression each scene leaves you with: how do you feel
after watching the clip? What is your feeling toward each character? Why?
Record your answers to these questions and hand them in to me.
**Austen, Jane, and Margaret Drabble. Pride and Prejudice. New York: Signet Classic, 1996. Print.
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