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Houses

Throughout Pride and Prejudice, Austen pays particular attention to the manner and style of many of the characters' homes or estates. A small-scale home like the Bennets' is presented as a suitable, if modest, dwelling place in which to raise five daughters. Though it's somewhat plain, it's still respectable. In contrast, larger manors like Bingley's at Netherfield Park, Lady Catherine's estate of Rosings, or Darcy's palatial home of Pemberley are showcases for their owner's enormous wealth and are conspicuous symbols of social prestige. Elizabeth's reaction on first seeing Pemberley and her imagining how it would be to live there illustrates that even her calm, cool sense of detachment is awed by the beauty and size of the estate. In a way, houses and estates function as the outward signs of their owner's inward character. They carry an almost spiritual significance. Rosings may be grand, but it does not possess the tasteful elegance of Pemberley. Elizabeth's elevation from Longbourn to Pemberley marks not only a rise in her social position, but an advance in her moral growth as well.


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