Pride and Prejudice: Essay Prompt Breakdown

July 24, 2020
SAC Tutoring

Discuss the importance of social class in the novel, especially as it impacts the relationship between Elizabeth and Darcy.

Pride and Prejudice — the Jane Austen classic that stole the hearts of many.

To be honest, it is actually the backbone for many fanfics and rom coms to this day.

If you haven’t checked out our Pride and Prejudice crash course series, go ahead and give it a read! You can find it in the blog section of our website.

It’ll give you a really simple breakdown of what the novel is about, and who the characters are.

You’ll find that it’ll explain the plot, themes, and characters to you in a way that’s relatable and not too complicated.

We’re not gonna have a go at breaking down this essay prompt, so check it out down below!

Define Key Words

Our job is to pick out the most important words in the essay question and figure out what they mean.

This way, we’ll really know what we’re talking about, and we’ll able to explain it to the assessor.

Eg. Discuss the importance of social class in the novel, especially as it impacts the relationship between Elizabeth and Darcy.

There are a total of seven important words/phrases that we need to deal with and include in our responses. Let’s define them.

Discuss means to explain something on both sides - whether something is: right or wrong, the pros and cons, or the yes or no.

Importance is defined as the state of being of great value or significance.

Social Class is the division of society based on social standing and economic background.

Impacts refers to the effect or influence of something.

Relationship the way in which two or more people (or things) are connected.

Elizabeth Bennet is the protagonist of the novel. She is the second of five daughters at twenty-years-of-age, to Mr and Mrs Bennet, and is the most intelligent of the five. She is witty and sharp tongued, and she often lets this get in the way of her judgement. Initially prejudiced against Mr Darcy, she soon realises after spending time with him, that there is more than meets the eye.

Darcy refers to Mr Fitzwilliam Darcy, a wealthy gentleman of twenty-eight-years-old and the master of Pemberley (the estate where he lives). Darcy is presented as intelligent and honest, which gets the better of him at times, especially when he unintentionally insults Elizabeth. He represents the pride in the novel’s title, as he tends to look down on the lower class. Throughout the novel, he spends more time with Elizabeth and grows to admire her, despite her being of a lower class than him.

Now that we know what each key word means, we can go ahead and break down the question into sections.

Segments of the Question

  • Essay questions usually have more than one chunk
  • We need to be able to answer the entire question without leaving anything out.
  • By using ‘chunking’,  you won’t avoid answering the question and going off topic.

Let’s have a look at the question:

Eg. Discuss the importance of social class in the novel, | especially as it impacts the relationship between Elizabeth and Darcy.

  • Firstly, we need to section off the question.
  • There are two parts.
  • The first chunk asks you to talk about whether social class is important or not.
  • You may do this by talking whether it is important, or whether it’s not important at all.
  • The second chunk asks you to talk about how it impacts Elizabeth and Darcy’s relationship.

The entire prompt asks you this, simply put:

Is social class important? If so, how does it affect Elizabeth and Darcy’s relationship?

All you need to do now is decide if social class is important, and how it affects Elizabeth and Darcy’s relationship.

Now that we’ve broken down the essay prompt, you can go ahead and brainstorm how you’re going to support your contention (point of view).

You should aim for at least three arguments to defend your case, but strive for four.

If you guys find that you’re struggling to find solid, fleshed out arguments, check out our crash course series, or drop in for a class so you can gain personalized and expert assistance from our tutors.

Study smarter, not harder, with SAC.