Pride and Prejudice was originally and appropriately titled “First Impressions.” This romantic and philosophical novel demonstrates to its readers how first impressions can drastically get in the way of romantic relationships. First impressions are generally inaccurate, as in the case of Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy, and also the case of Jane Bennet and Charles Bingley. The first impressions can, however, be accurate, such as in the case of Elizabeth Bennet and William Collins. In this so-called “relationship,” Elizabeth understood all along that Mr. Collins was a particularly disgusting man who liked to fawn over everyone he met. Mr. Collins, however, thought at first that Elizabeth was exactly like all of the other girls of her time period: submissive and unintelligent. Readers of Jane Austen’s novel can easily gain knowledge of the fact that Mr. Collins was completely wrong about her.
The majority of the novel Pride and Prejudice centered around the conflict between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy. The two first met at a ball in Meryton, and both decided that they hated each other before even getting to know one another. This is one example of how first impressions can ruin potential relationships. for instance, before Mr. Darcy even knew what Elizabeth was like, he concluded from seeing her that she was not particularly pretty, and that she was “slighted by other men.” (Austen, 10) On the other side of the situation, when Elizabeth overheard this insulting comment, she also jumped to conclusions. She deduced that Mr. Darcy was a selfish, rich snob. These first impressions caused them to spend most of the novel hating each other. Even when Mr. Darcy finally got over his first impressions about Elizabeth herself and proposed to her,
he still let his first impressions about her family cause him to sound conceited. This is the reason why he was rejected the first time by Elizabeth. If he would have let go of all his first impressions, Elizabeth might have been able to “forgive his pride” (Austen, 19) Not until he had done so did Elizabeth accept his proposal. His humble second proposal made it easier for Elizabeth to forget her first impressions about Mr. Darcy. Even though they did mend the situation by realizing their true love for each other, they would have never even gotten into this situation if they did not let their first impressions get the better of them.
Yet another example of the devastating results of first impressions lies in the situation between Jane and Mr. Bingley. This time, however, the conflict was not necessarily brought about by Jane and Mr. Bingley themselves. This type of conflict was brought...