Pride and Prejudice, written by Jane Austen, has been a favorite, most memorable novel throughout the years. Austen tells the story of the Bennet family using many different themes and underlying meanings. She presents pride, prejudice, love, and money as the important aspects of that time period. Kenneth L. Moler reveals his theories on the novel's symbolic values in Pride and Prejudice: a Study in Artistic Economy. Moler writes about the way Jane Austen uses symbolic devices in order to present her novel in a meaningful and detailed manner. He describes how she uses symbols such as reading, music, and walking to present her characters in accordance with the novel's themes.
Reading and other objects associated with it are presented numerous times in Pride and Prejudice (Moler 50). These associations seem to tell us something about the characters and how they fit into the themes (Moler 50). Elizabeth's visit at Netherfield explores the difference between Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy's libraries (Moler 50). Mr. Bingley's smaller, not-so extravagant library reveals his casual personality, while Darcy's generation-passed, extraordinary library reveals his pride for his family tradition (Moler 50). The reason why the characters read and what they read also plays a symbolic role (Moler 50). Elizabeth's reason for reading is described here: "Elizabeth reads extensively because she genuinely enjoys it: an interest in intellectual exercise is part of the general "natural" liveliness of her mind" (Moler 50). Darcy reads the same way Elizabeth does, presenting an initial compatibility (Moler 50). These are simply a few of the important aspects that books and reading provide in the novel.
Music is another symbolic object in the novel (Moler 52). Elizabeth and Miss Bingley present two different reasons for the reason they play (Moler 52). Like reading, Elizabeth plays because she enjoys music, with or without an audience, while Miss Bingley uses music as her feminine "social status symbol" and also as a means to attract men (Moler 52).