The family is the predominant unit of social life in Pride and Prejudice and forms the emotional center of the novel. Not only does it provide (or fail to provide, as in the case of Lydia) the Bennet daughters with their education and manners, but the social ranking of the family determines how successful they may reasonably expect to be in later life. Austen skillfully reveals how individual character is molded within the family by presenting Jane and Elizabeth as mature, intelligent adults, and Lydia as a hapless fool. The friction between Elizabeth and her mother on the one hand and the sympathy she shares with Mr. Bennet on the other illustrate the emotional spectrum that colors the family's overall character. The influence of Elizabeth's aunt and uncle shows how the family works in an extended sense, with the Gardiners acting as substitute parents, providing much needed emotional support at key moments of stress.
Pride and Prejudice
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The ThemeTracker below shows where, and to what degree, the theme of Family appears in each chapter of Pride and Prejudice. Click or tap on any chapter to read its Summary & Analysis.
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Below you will find the important quotes in Pride and Prejudice related to the theme of Family.
Chapter 4 Quotes
Oh! you are a great deal too apt, you know, to like people in general. You never see a fault in anybody. All the world are good and agreeable in your eyes. I never heard you speak ill of a human being in your life.
Chapter 33 Quotes
If his own vanity, however, did not mislead him, he was the cause, his pride and caprice were the cause, of all that Jane had suffered, and still continued to suffer. He had ruined for a while every hope of happiness for the most affectionate, generous heart in the world; and no one could say how lasting an evil he might have inflicted.
Chapter 41 Quotes
Our importance, our respectability in the world must be affected by the wild volatility, the assurance and disdain of all restraint which mark Lydia's character. Excuse me—for I must speak plainly. If you, my dear father, will not take the trouble of checking her exuberant spirits, and of teaching her that her present pursuits are not to be the business of her life, she will soon be beyond the reach of amendment.
Chapter 47 Quotes
Unhappy as the event must be for Lydia, we may draw from it this useful lesson: that loss of virtue in a female is irretrievable; that one false step involves her in endless ruin; that her reputation is no less brittle than it is beautiful; and that she cannot be too much guarded in her behaviour towards the undeserving of the other sex.
Chapter 48 Quotes
The death of your daughter would have been a blessing in comparison of this ... They agree with me in apprehending that this false step in one daughter will be injurious to the fortunes of all the others; for who, as Lady Catherine herself condescendingly says, will connect themselves with such a family?
Chapter 49 Quotes
It is all very right; who should do it but her own uncle? If he had not had a family of his own, I and my children must have had all his money, you know; and it is the first time we have ever had anything from him, except a few presents. Well! I am so happy! In a short time I shall have a daughter married. Mrs. Wickham! How well it sounds!
Chapter 55 Quotes
in spite of his being a lover, Elizabeth really believed all his expectations of felicity to be rationally founded, because they had for basis the excellent understanding, and super-excellent disposition of Jane, and a general similarity of feeling and taste between her and himself.
Chapter 59 Quotes
I know that you could be neither happy nor respectable, unless you truly esteemed your husband; unless you looked up to him as a superior. Your lively talents would place you in the greatest danger in an unequal marriage ... My child, let me not have the grief of seeing you unable to respect your partner in life.