Pride and Prejudice: Chapters 1-15

Contributor: Melissa Kowalski. Lesson ID: 11193

Jane Austen's most famous novel! In this lesson, meet the Bennet family and friends, and learn about life at Longbourn for the five young, unmarried Bennet daughters. Surprisingly relevant for today!


Literary Studies

learning style
personality style
Grade Level
High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!


Jane Austen's most famous novel, Pride and Prejudice, has actually become more famous since its publication two centuries ago. Find out why for yourself as you start the novel in this lesson!

Welcome to the world of Jane Austen!

Pride and Prejudice is Austen's most famous novel, and it has been adapted for television and film numerous times. Austen's work continues to find an audience in contemporary society because her themes are timeless and her characters are memorable.

Jane Austen was a single woman from a moderately wealthy family. Although she never married, and died at 41, she was an astute observer of society and culture and used her observations as the foundations of her writing. Her novels deal primarily with the plight of young unmarried women and their quest for a suitable marriage, which was one of the few respectable options women of the middle and upper classes had as adults.

Jane Austen

In Pride and Prejudice, you will meet the main character, Elizabeth Bennet, the second of five daughters, at the age of 20.

  • She is unmarried and living with her family near the small country village of Meryton.
  • She meets several young eligible bachelors and assesses her chances of matrimonial bliss with them.
  • However, both men and women of the middle and upper classes were concerned not just with matters of love in marriage, but also money.
  • Women were dependent on their male relatives or husbands at the beginning of the nineteenth century.
  • Also, unless a woman was from the lower class, she could not hold a job, so she had no means of earning her own money.
  • Likewise, men were concerned with marrying women who might bring a dowry of money, land, or both to a marriage.
  • Therefore, issues of money are never far from the minds of many of Austen's characters as they navigate society in search of a mate.

To learn more about Austen's time period and the historical background of Pride and Prejudice, watch the two YouTube videos below:

Historical Context of Pride and Prejudice by Margaret Giordano


Jane Austen - A Biography of Pride and Prejudice | THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION by It's History


As you can see from the videos, Austen's novels were masterpieces.

Austen used an extensive vocabulary to create precise images and emotions in her writing. In order to read her work fluently, it is necessary to develop an understanding of her vocabulary. Therefore, throughout these lessons, you will be keeping a vocabulary notebook. For each of the five lessons, you will:

  1. Define the following list of vocabulary words in your notebook from the section of the textbook to be read for each lesson. You can use a print dictionary or use to look up the words.
  2. After the definition for each word, write a sentence using the word correctly. Have your parent or teacher check the sentences when you've finished to make sure the words are used correctly in context.

Keep these lists in a notebook, because there will be a general vocabulary quiz covering all five lessons at the end of your study of the novel.

The vocabulary words for Chapters 1-15 are:

Chaise Vex Scrupulous Caprice Circumspect Ingenious
Mien Apt Fastidious Gallantry Censure Ductility
Piqued Archly Supercilious Felicity Pedantic Insipidity
Stile Solcitude Indolent Paltry Eminent Efficacy
Laudable Panegyric Celerity Appertain Approbation Alacrity
Laconic Propitious Filial Iniquitous Obsequious Asperity
Ascertain Pliant Effusion Odious Implacable Phaeton


Once you've defined all the terms and written the sentences to accompany them, you are ready to begin reading the novel. To help keep the novel organized, you will be keeping a graphic organizer for the main characters. Print the Pride and Prejudice Character Organizer, found in the Downloadable Resources section in the right-hand sidebar. Fill out the chart as you read the book. Keep the chart for all five lessons, because you will add to it with each of the lessons.

You can read any print edition of Pride and Prejudice or choose an online text. Here is a link to a choice of texts of Pride and Prejudice, from Project Gutenberg. Now, it's time to enjoy chapters 1-15!

When you've finished reading, move on to the Got It? section.

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