Is pride a virtue or a vice in the novel? PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
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Purpose: Literary criticism is an extension of the social activity of interpreting. One reader writes down his or her views on what a particular work of
literature means so that others can respond to that interpretation. The critic’s specific purpose may be to make value judgments on a work, to explain
his or her interpretation of the work, or to provide other readers with relevant historical or biographical information. The critic’s general purpose, in
most cases, is to enrich the reader’s understanding of the literary work. Critics typically engage in dialogue or debate with other critics, using the
views of other critics to develop their own points. Unfortunately, when critics assume that their readers are already familiar with previous criticism,
the argument may be difficult to follow. Since this novel does not contain much action, its primary strength comes from the characters. Austen
breathes life into them through their qualities, faults, choices, inconsistencies, and mistakes, which influences our own feelings and opinions about
them. We are there to observe, be annoyed, laugh, sigh, and maybe even cry, but what is perhaps most powerful is we are there to learn from them.
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Task: write a critical analysis on:
1. Is pride a virtue or a vice in the novel?
Pride is directly discussed in a couple of occasions, but it is demonstrated in the actions of Mr. Darcy, Lady Catherine, and even Elizabeth. What is
unclear, however, is whether this personality trait is to be condemned or praised. For example, the philosophical Mary Bennet claims that pride “is a
failing indeed” but is also common to human nature. In analyzing Darcy’s mannerisms, the residents of Hertfordshire label him as proud (with a
negative connotation, of course). However, a little later Darcy himself expresses that “where there is a real superiority of mind, pride will be always
under good regulation”. Which do you agree with? Is pride an inexcusable “failing” or can it be acceptable and even necessary at times?
Guidelines: Please make sure you read the following carefully to receive a passing grade.
* Essay should be 4-6 pages in MLA format. For more information on MLA, visit: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/24/.
* Essay should be well-formatted and correctly cited. This includes a Works Cited page, in-text citations, and correct formatting of all visuals you
* You are required to use 5 sources: the first source should be our book, Pride and Prejudice. Though I am not strict about this, you should have at
least 2-3 quotations from the novel. The second source should be a critical essay from our book. We are using the Norton Critical Edition of Pride
and Prejudice (4th edition). This edition has a criticism section on pages 308-399. Choose one article from this section to use in your essay. I will also
accept the essays from the 3rd edition of Norton. The third source should be one scholarly article from Jasna.org. This is a website dedicated
specifically to Jane Austen and her work. It has tons of excellent scholarly articles covering numerous topics from Austen’s novels. The fourth source
should be one you choose yourself, whether it is a media article (from a magazine, newspaper, website, or credible blog), a scholarly article (a
scholarly source from a journal), or a book chapter (from a non-fiction book). You have the freedom to choose this one but whatever source you
choose, please make sure it is credible. Finally, the fifth source should be a strong visual that you format correctly and analyze insightfully. Please
consult our Visual Rhetoric slideshow to review the rules on using visuals.
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