Pride and Prejudice: Metaphor Analysis

Landscape and dance are two important metaphors in Pride and Prejudice.  Bodenheimer (1981) asserts that in many Jane Austen novels, “good estates” like Pemberley are the key to the social virtues of their owners, that the characters estates help to define the social worth of the characters themselves.  She argues that the spatial terms used in describing landscape can also be seen as perceptual or emotional ones.  For example, when Elizabeth sees Pemberley, there is a sense of ascent, mutiplicity and expansion of the landscape, which could also symbolize Elizabeths changing view of Darcy and his character and the expansion of the possibilities of her relationship with him.
According to Adams (1982), dance is another metaphor in many of Austens novels, and that it is akin to marriage. In many novels there is a heroine who through dance must judge each of her partners for appearance, style, character and compatibility, not just in dancing, but in marriage. The importance of the dance cannot be impressed enough, and the women must be careful whom they accept and whom they refuse.  In Pride and Prejudice, there are quite a few parallels between dance and marriage for Elizabeth.  The first time Darcy asks Elizabeth to dance she refuses, just as she refuses his first proposal.  The second dance and proposal are accepted.  We can also see the parallels with Mr. Collins.  The dance with Collins is “mortifying,” and the proposal is as well, as he continues not to believe she is declining his offer no matter how serious she is.
Adams, Timothy Dow.  1982.  “To Know the Dancer from the Dance: Dance as Metaphor of Marriage in Four Novels of Jane Austen.” Studies in the Novel, 14(1): 55-65.
Bodenheimer, Rosemarie. 1983.  “Looking at the Landscape in Jane Austen.” SEL: Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900, 21(4): 605-623.