To begin
with, the book which we are going to analyze is called “Pride and Prejudice”.
But Jane Austen, the book’s author, did not choose from the beginning this
title for her novel. The original title of Austen’s novel was “First
Impressions”. Certainly, there were reasons why Jane Austen modified the title.
So, firstly, we are going to cite some information from the book. Furthermore,
we will number the reasons why the book’s name was initially “First
Impressions”, then the reasons why she changed the name and lastly, we will
allude to the current, most appropriate title for this novel and the reasons,
which justify this choice.

   Jane Austen
is one of the most popular novelists in the 21st century. By the age of 16, she
had already created many admirable works. Her works include “Elinor and
Marianne” which was later renamed into “Sense and Sensibility”, “Northanger
Abbey”, which was titled then “Susan”. Although, “First Impressions”, later
renamed “Pride and Prejudice” is considered to be Jane Austen’s most popular
work. It was revised in 1812 from the 1797 original script and first published
in 1813.Except about 1,500 copies of the novel, which were sold; with this book
Austen sent out loud messages to her community and criticized it among others
for the class struggle and the underestimation of women’s role.

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   As we have
already mentioned above, the first version of the book was “First Impressions”
and was completed by 1797. Certainly, Jane Austen chose this first title for
some reasons. Initially, according to the title, one good reason are the
impressions, which constitute one of the novel’s main themes. Both
protagonists, Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy and Mrs. Elizabeth Bennet, especially the
latter, form a mistaken and distasteful opinion about each other, at the
Meryton ball, where they meet for the first time. On the one hand, Fitzwilliam
Darcy humiliates Elizabeth Bennet by refusing the proposal of his friend, Mr.
Bingley, to dance with one of Jane Bennet’s sisters (p.9) by affirming that
“she is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me; and I am in no humor
at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other
men”(p.10).

   Nevertheless, Austen presents Mr. Fitzwilliam
Darcy as a man with conflicting feelings about Elizabeth; that is to say that
her appearance and behavior attract so much Darcy’s interest, so he seems
willing even to dance with her. Moreover, he believes that Mrs. Elizabeth
Bennet should not draw his attention due to her low social status and lack of
wealth. Back then, society presumed that a superior man with such a great pride
and also a great wealth should certainly marry a woman from his class.
Therefore, it is justified that Darcy has such an opinion about marriage.

   On the other
hand, Elizabeth Bennet also misunderstands Mr. Darcy’s behavior and misjudges
him as rude and arrogant, after listening to Darcy’s insulting comment to his
friend, Mr. Bingley. She starts behaving arrogantly and prejudices against him
due to her unawareness of his truly good character. Clearly, in the beginning
of the book Elizabeth is disgusted by Darcy’s arrogance and insulting honesty.
It would be an omission if we do not refer to the incorrect first impression
concerning Mr. George Wickham. The first meeting between Elizabeth Bennet and
George Wickham was in Meryton, where she immediately forms a good and bright
opinion of his character.  She assumes
that he is polite and very gentlemanlike (p.86), a positive character and a
handsome soldier. So, she convinces not only herself but also the readers with
her quick prejudicial judgement. Later, Elizabeth’s point of view about Darcy’s
character gets even worse, when Mr. Wickham tells her that Mr. Darcy deceived
him by not giving him his rightful inheritance. It is worth-mentioning the fact
that she believes someone’s words she barely knows, because as we have
mentioned before, her opinion about Mr. Darcy is already unfavorable. Last but
not least, she misunderstands again Mr. Darcy; she has no doubt that it is
Darcy’s fault that Jane Bennet and Mr. Charles Bingley separated from each
other.

   Nevertheless,
Jane Austen altered the title into “Pride and Prejudice”. One logical explanation
might be that this title transmits better the messages and covers the novel’s
plot and themes consistently. While the title “First Impressions” implies a
novel, in which the protagonists form wrong and unpleasant first impressions,
“Pride and Prejudice” portraits a story, in which characters have
self-awareness and consciously investigate themselves. This process will help
them have unprejudiced eyes. Another reason for this title could be that Austen
admired novelist, diarist and playwright, Fanny Burney, who wrote the novel
“Cecilia” in 1782. According to Gary Dexter (2008) the plot and the theme of
“Pride and Prejudice” and “Cecilia” match quite strikingly. Last but not least,
Austen intends to send a message to her society. She wants to point out that
sometimes pride and prejudice can lead people to inaccurate first impressions
and hasty conclusions. Thus, it is crucial for people to possess critical minds
as well as healthy and constructive doubts.

   As the story
progresses, Elizabeth Bennet as well as Fitzwilliam Darcy realize that both
were wrong. Elizabeth Bennet judges generally people, who she hardly knows,
because of her pride and prejudice, but in the end she finds out who is really
good; that is to say that facts change, and Mr. Darcy becomes the person with a
good character, while Mr. Wickham finally proves to be a liar and a
fortune-hunter. On the contrary, Mr. Darcy overcomes his pride, which comes
from his fortune, superiority and social connections –he could have everything
he desires-; he also overcomes his prejudice that Elizabeth and her family are
inferior due to their socioeconomic class and that is why a man from a higher
class should marry a woman from his class He partially throws away willingly
these, because he really loves and cares about Elizabeth and her future. In the
end, both completely changed their way of thinking and find eventually true
love by accepting each other all flaws. Thus, in my opinion the afore mentioned
reasons justify why Austen chose the title “Pride and Prejudice” over ‘First
Impressions’, which is more suitable than the other.