Cults In Pride And Prejudice Analysis

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The word cult may conjure up images of crazy naked people dancing in the woods; or chanting children burning a body in a cornfield. Alright, those examples may be a little too theatrical to be realistic, but the essence of a cult is there. When you strip away the spooky stereotypes, strange rituals, and obscure beliefs, a cult simply seems to be a small group that venerates a particular object or person. In her essay on Pride and Prejudice, Dolores Puterbaugh considers the “Cult of Austen” and what three cultish teachings are derived from the story. She argues that the characters in Pride and Prejudice are defeatist, ignorant, and, perpetually chained to each other. This stance is troubling, however, because it overlooks the meaningful aspects of Jane Austen’s work, namely the transformation of Darcy and Elizabeth’s relationship. The first point is that “there is no degree of virtue --or talent or beauty--that a good dose of arrogance cannot overwhelm and turn into something bitter and repulsive” (Puterbaugh 1). This is certainly true when it comes to the likes of Mr. Collins, with his supremely conceited attitude. Take, for example, what he spoke to the beautiful Elizabeth on the proposition of engagement. “My reasons for…show more content…
The word cult has a negative connotation so how can it be that a fairly positive novel has a cult following? Perhaps because a cult is not what the book needs or what Jane Austen intended to create when she wrote it. Maybe all she wanted was ears to hear and accept her advice. Specifically, that love and virtue can overcome vices like pride and prejudice, or that goodness done in secret is more profitable, or finally, that others will help you along the way. Jane Austen did not write a throw-away novel, but one that is meant to teach and inform. Puterbaugh puts it best when she says “Great literature always conveys great
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