Pride and Prejudice Teaching Guide
- 12 pages
- Subject: Allusion, Character Analysis, Historical Context, Literary Devices, Plot, Themes, Lesson Plans and Educational Resources
- Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12
Additional Pride and Prejudice Resources
Whether it’s your first or hundredth time, this classic text has been a mainstay of English classrooms for generations. While it has its challenging spots, teaching this text to your class will be rewarding for you and your students. Through sophisticated storytelling, it will give them exposure to the mechanisms of 19th-century upper-middle-class English culture, which they’re likely to find in some ways bizarre and and in others strikingly familiar.
About This Document
Owl Eyes Teaching Guides have been designed to help first-time and veteran teachers open up classic works of literature for their students. Our guides provide rich background information, identify key themes and topics, and offer creative and practical approaches to teaching the text.
The main components of each guide include the following:
- A concise history of the text
- An explanation of significant allusions
- Teaching approaches and discussion questions
- Tricky issues to address while teaching
- Alternative teaching approaches
- A list of complementary texts
These Teaching Guides offer valuable context and promote meaningful discussions about novels, plays, poems, and stories that have captivated English Language Arts students for generations. Each guide is comprehensive and concise, thought-provoking and practical.
Approaches and Discussion Questions
The Balance Between Realism and Satire: Pride and Prejudice, with its multidimensional protagonists and its focus on the practical concerns of England’s landed gentry, was a groundbreaking work of realism. At the same time, it was a biting satire. Many of the secondary characters are caricatures of English society: Mr. Collins, the sycophantic clergyman; his patron, Lady de Bourgh, the domineering noblewoman; the Bingley sisters, snobbish, backbiting socialites; Wickham, the classic rogue. Pride and Prejudice demonstrates how realism and satire can successful play off one another. It’s a given that secondary characters are less developed and less nuanced. Through satire, Austen makes them memorable and engaging, while using them to level criticism against the society she lives in.
- For discussion: Was Austen more successful as a realist or a satirist?
- For discussion: Which of the secondary characters seem the most realistic?
Jane Austen, Feminist?: Pride and Prejudice focuses on the experiences of women, and its protagonist makes bold choices in rejecting the proposals of Collins and, on the first occasion, Darcy. Given the confining context of her society, Austen feels like a protofeminist writer. But she creates a world in which Elizabeth experiences no negative consequences for her atypical behavior. It would have been a very different, and almost certainly more realistic, story if Darcy hadn’t chosen to humble himself and propose a second time.
- For discussion: Is Austen doing a service to women by creating a heroine who is rewarded for asserting her independence and dignity? Or is she painting too rosy a picture for Elizabeth? Why?
- For discussion: How does Elizabeth’s boldness compare to that of her younger sister Lydia? What risks do they each take, and effects do their actions have?
- For discussion: How aware are Austen’s female characters of their societal confinements? How do they feel about the roles they inhabit?