Pride and Prejudice

How Poor Parenting Influenced the Bennet Sisters

Featuring a wide assortment of colorful personalities, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice contains both emotionally deep, interesting characters as well as hilarious caricatures of the bumpkins who make up the rural social scene of 18th-century England. Both types of characters are present in the Bennet family, where the two eldest daughters, Jane and Elizabeth, are by far more intelligent and well-mannered than either their mother or their three younger sisters. In the middle of this dichotomy is their father, Mr. Bennet. He is, at first glance, a likeable fellow, whose clever jokes at the expense of his obnoxious wife and humorously dry attitude toward his family’s sometimes ludicrous behavior initially lead the reader to admire him for his intelligence and wit. But ultimately he is a disappointing, unappealing figure because these traits reveal his failings both as a father and husband: his constant mockery of his spouse begins to seem cruel and creates an unhealthy marital environment for his children to grow up in, while his preference to insult his younger daughters’ behavior instead of correcting it rings of tremendous negligence. It is this complete disinterest in the affairs of his family that gives his youngest...

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