VCE Essay prompts: Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen

Looking for practice essay prompts for Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen? Here are some practice prompts to help you prepare for the text response essay!

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Love/Gender/Social class

  • Pride and Prejudice is primarily a criticism of the pressure of marriage on young women. Do you agree? 
  • Even though Elizabeth resents her society’s expectations, Austen’s Pride and Prejudice ultimately upholds a conservative view of marriage and class. Do you agree? 
  • How does Austen critique society’s elitism in Pride and Prejudice?
  • The characters’ fixation on the significance of marriage is ultimately detrimental. Do you agree?
  • ‘It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.’ To what extent does Austen critique patriarchal norms in her novel?
  • Pride and Prejudice suggests that marriage is about security rather than love. Discuss.
  • The tidy resolution of Pride and Prejudice undermines Austen’s criticism of her society’s obsession with class and privilege. Do you agree? 
  • Social class is shown to be an extremely limiting factor in the lives of the characters in Pride and Prejudice. Do you agree?
  • Austen’s portrayal of Meryton is unfairly materialistic and fickle. Do you agree? 
  • Austen explores the complexities of women in greater depth than the complexities of men. Discuss. 
  • The pressure of maintaining and nurturing social class and reputation pervades every relationship in the novel. Discuss. 
  • ‘It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.’ Austen’s Pride and Prejudice confirms this truth without irony. Do you agree? 
  • Meryton’s society is materialistic and fickle. Discuss.

Pride/Prejudice/Integrity 

  • None of Austen’s characters in Pride and Prejudice escape the lure of pride. Discuss. 
  • Even though Austen’s characters are imperfect, they are able to transcend and redeem themselves from their weaknesses. Discuss. 
  • Austen’s Pride and Prejudice explores how the character faults of pride and prejudice are detrimental to not only the individual but to whole communities. Discuss. 
  • Pride and Prejudice demonstrates how these character faults undermine any authentic relationship. Do you agree? 
  • In Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, no character is truly humble. Do you agree? 
  • Pride in Pride and Prejudice blinds the characters in the novel to their true feelings and the true feelings of one another. Discuss.

Character

  • Austen’s portrayal of Elizabeth and Jane Bennet are radical in her focus on their personal happiness. Do you agree? 
  • Austen is simultaneously sympathetic to the plight of her women and critical of their weaknesses. Discuss. 
  • Discuss the significance of the relationships between the women in Pride and Prejudice.
  • ‘My affections and wishes are unchanged, but one word from you will silence me on this subject forever.’ To what extent does Darcy respect Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice?
  • Overall, Austen is more critical of her women than her men in Pride and Prejudice. Do you agree? 
  • Elizabeth is a highly sympathetic character in Pride and Prejudice. To what extent do you agree?

Individual vs Society

  • Austen’s Pride and Prejudice suggests that families are to be held accountable for their individual member’s decisions. Do you agree?
  • Austen seems to suggest in Pride and Prejudice that the individual cannot escape the will of the community. Do you agree?  
  • Pride and Prejudice ultimately strikes a successful compromise between the happiness of the individual and the needs of the family. Discuss. 
  • Family is the most important thing to the characters in Pride and Prejudice. Do you agree?

Narrative structure 

  • To what extent does Austen use satire to comment on the role of class in her society?

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