This GCSE English Literature quiz looks at setting in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. Setting in a literary text means the location and the time in which the events take place. But its meaning extends beyond these basics. It can be very easy to forget that texts usually have several settings, since events can occur in different places and times. Buildings and spaces provide separate settings within the wider setting, and these specific settings often provide a contrast to one another. Background events, even if only mentioned by characters, are a crucial element in a text’s setting, as are political and social issues. The wider fictional world is termed context (it’s important, however, not to confuse this fictional context, which remains part of the setting, with the author’s real-life context). Atmosphere, another key element of setting, will often change multiple times in a text.
While many aspects of the setting are mentioned, including landscape features such as lakes, woods, parks and places perfect for garden walks, these are not described in any detail at all. What effect do such settings have as you read the text? Are you able to envisage Netherfield, Rosings, or the Bennets’ home? Does this matter? Why or why not?
Pride and Prejudice seems at first to inhabit a very narrow world, one in which women wait around to become wives. Certainly most of the female characters appear indoors. Elizabeth is an exception to this tendency, as is Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Even Mrs Gardiner, who does travel, is described as not being a great walker. Quite a bit of movement does occur in the novel, despite this justified impression. Characters travel to Brighton, to Meryton, to London, to Kent and to Derbyshire. Letters come and go and people are often meeting unexpectedly in places far from the Bennets’ home. Time passes surreptitiously. Remember that a text’s setting also includes geographical elements such as region, country, environment, landscapes and buildings. Paying close attention to the interaction of characters with their environment; can you describe how such interactions affect the text?
Answer the questions below on setting in Pride and Prejudice.