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Use this anecdotal introduction strategy: Indicate the importance of relationships in the shaping of character and how the same applies to the characters of a novel. Indicate the importance of taking less prominent but still influential characters.
Use: Elizabeth Bennet is indeed prejudiced, but her strongest predilection is not directed at its most commonly interpreted target, Darcy. Instead, it is directed toward Wickham. In neglecting to analyze Elizabeth’s relationship with Wickham, critics fail to see significant evidence in the appropriateness of the novel’s title.
Use as topic sentence: Elizabeth’s prejudice is directed most strongly toward Wickham because she is determined to like him as a result of a mutual hatred of Mr. Darcy.
Use this quote: “It is only in regard to Darcy’s alleged injustice to Wickham that an element of prejudice enters in, but even this is superficial and temporary, (Fox 187).
Restate the quote: The critic mentioned Wickham as he pertains to Darcy and Elizabeth’s relationship, claiming that Elizabeth shows faint signs of prejudice toward Darcy as a result of Elizabeth’s limited knowledge of that injustice.
Explain the quote as such: The critic limits his analysis to the relationship between Darcy and Elizabeth, neglecting the interactions Elizabeth has with other characters. Therefore, he misses the point that Elizabeth’s prejudices are much stronger and lasting, though directed more positively at another character.
Use this quote: “As to his real character, had information in her power, she had never felt a wish of inquiring. His countenance, voice, and manner had established him at once in the possession of every virtue” (Austen 200).
Restate the quote: Elizabeth realized that she had felt no need to question Wickham’s virtues because she believes in the integrity of her preconceived notions from their first meeting.
Explain that the quote means: Elizabeth was therefore prejudiced in her interpretation of Wickham. She was determined to like him, perhaps even more so than she was determined to hate Darcy. She also felt so inclined because Wickham had reiterated her own sentiments through his recounting of the “injustice.”
Use the closing statement: Elizabeth’s beliefs about Wickham indicate a strong, lasting prejudice toward the man that stemmed out of her wish to like the man.
Transition to this topic sentence: The prejudice that Elizabeth expresses stems from her high estimation of her own abilities, as is evidenced not only by her interactions with Darcy but with Wickham as well.
Use this quote: “Both qualities, pride and prejudice, result in severe limitation of human vision and are essentially selfish in that they start from an egoistic attitude; one either severs oneself from others or limits one’s concern for them to narrow to self-interest” (Zimmerman 66).
Restate the quote: Zimmerman claims that Elizabeth cares too little about the men to give them anything more than a cursory interpretation of their characters, thus leaving her to prejudiced ideas based on reports from others.
Explain that the quote means: Elizabeth blinds herself by her lack of interest in investigating the characters of Darcy and Wickham.
Use this quote: “How despicably I have acted!” she cried; “I, who have prided myself on my discernment! I, who have valued myself on my abilities! who have often disdained the generous candour of my sister, and gratified my vanity in useless or blameable mistrust! How humiliating is this discovery! Yet, how just a humiliation! Had I been in love, I could not have been more wretchedly blind!”
Restate the quote: Elizabeth finally recognizes that she had been acting on various prejudices based on her faulty original ideas of each man.
Explain the quote as such: Elizabeth’s own pride in her ability to judge people lead her to blind herself from other possible interpretations of character. This pride was fed by her correct assumptions about Miss Bingley. She also sought nothing more from Wickham than to find him agreeable to her thoughts.
Use the closing statement: Elizabeth is prejudiced toward Wickham because she is egocentric, seeking validation of her own ideas, rather than a true interpretation of character.
“Drive the thesis statement home” Overall, Wickham’s involvement must be included in any interpretation of Elizabeth’s prejudice as he is the recipient of most of that attention.
Make argument relevant to modern reader by stating: One must be careful not to judge another too quickly as even a favorable judgment incorrectly placed can be a dangerous blinding habit.
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