The idea that first impressions is the lasting impression makes it challenging for one to be properly analyzed by someone that they would like to impress. Individuals tend to base their perception of people off of what they have heard, which is typically false information. First impressions are mainly based on external features and body language, as well as generalizations and bias’s which affects the accuracy of those perceptions. According to Daily Mail, the article states “Your first impressions on meeting a new person are likely to be wrong, according to one leading scientist.
The assumptions we make when meeting new people are based largely on their facial expressions and appearance, but this rarely matches up to their personality” (Dunne).
First Impressions are the basis of how relationships start and are used to form opinions that will determine how people proceed behaviorally in a situation. The novel, “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen, was first called ‘First Impressions’ since Jane explores many different themes such as first impressions and their consequences.
This romantic novel demonstrates how first impressions can drastically get in the way of relationships and how the characters in the novel often make judgements on their first impressions of people. First impressions are typically inaccurate and effects the way we perceive people, which is not only shown in “Pride and Prejudice”, but it’s also shown in fairytales like “Beauty and the Beast” and everyday life.
Throughout “Pride and Prejudice”, first impressions play a big role in the sequence of events that take place, as they form the fundamentals of the characters’ interactions with one another.
For example, the two main protagonists, Elizabeth and Darcy, need to overcome one of the major barriers, which is first impressions. Elizabeth’s pride and prejudice gives her inaccurate first impressions of Darcy, and in the beginning of the novel Elizabeth judges Darcy as “the proudest, most disagreeable man in the world” (Austen 8). This demonstrates the beginning of Elizabeth’s prejudice against Darcy and further continues when Darcy insults Elizabeth by calling her ‘tolerable, but not handsome enough’. The origin of these first impressions began at the ball where Mr. Darcy met Elizabeth and without even interacting with one another, these two characters develop impressions on one another.
In the beginning of the novel, Elizabeth perceives Darcy as arrogant and cruel, which is further demonstrated to her when Mr. Wickham tells lies about Darcy to Elizabeth. Without knowing Darcy on a deep personal level, Elizabeth is quick to believe these rumors about Darcy because she has already built a prejudice for him. She believed the fictional story Mr. Wickham made up, saying that Darcy took away his inheritance that Darcy’s father was going to give to him. Although this wasn’t true, Elizabeth’s first impression of Darcy and the prejudice that she has built towards him made her believe that it was. Darcy see’s Elizabeth’s fault in prejudice and states that her problem is, “willfully to misunderstand everybody”. Near the end of the novel, Elizabeth realizes her lack of good judgement in trusting her first impressions and prejudices, which provokes her to say “how despicably have I acted…I, who have prided myself of my discernment…” (Austen). Furthermore, this type of misjudgment typically occurs when individuals base their decisions on first impressions.
In addition, Elizabeth’s first impression on Mr. Wickham also turned out to be inaccurate because at first, she believe that he was a good guy, but in reality, he was a deceitful and untrustworthy character. In order to get people to like him over Darcy, he used his charm and deception to make Darcy look like terrible person and to make him seem as a more honorable person compared to Darcy. When he was first introduced, he was perceived as “beauty, a fine countenance, a good figure and very pleasing address” (Austen 61), but this was an inaccurate first impression. Elizabeth uses these traits to describe him as a suitable companion because, unlike her first impression of Darcy, Mr. Wickham used charm to make his first impression seem outstanding. She started to take a major interest in Wickham, but as soon as she found out his true colors and who he really is, she completely changed her perception about him. Wickham’s manners and good looks fooled most everyone, which further demonstrates how first impressions are typically inaccurate.
First impressions also set the precedent for how we distinguish an individual in the future. For example, due to the first impression and prejudice of Darcy formed by Elizabeth, she turned down his proposal. Her first impression about him was that he was arrogant and insulting; therefore, due to his prideful attitude, Elizabeth refused to accept his proposal. As the novel develops, the prejudices and first impressions of each of the main characters change and soon realize that their judgements were wrong. For example, according the article called “Neither Sex, Money, nor Power: Why Elizabeth Finally Says ‘Yes!’ ” by Elaine Bander, she stated “Elizabeth’s sexual tension in Darcy’s presence appears only after she decides rationally that Darcy is admirable and therefore loveable… In the narrative that Austen has constructed, Elizabeth’s eventual change of heart results from neither sex, money, nor power, but rather from a long process of revision and self-examination” (Bander).
In addition, if Darcy would’ve got rid of his first impressions, Elizabeth would’ve been able to forgive his pride. In fact, when Darcy relinquished his first impressions, it caused his second proposal to be humbler which made Elizabeth forget her first impressions about Darcy. According to the article called ‘Pride and Prejudice and Framley Parsonage: A Structural Resemblance’ by Barbara Horwitz, she states “Despite these drawbacks, and that disastrous first impression, Fitzwilliam Darcy, the master of Pemberley with an income of £10,000 a year, falls in love with Elizabeth and proposes” (Horwitz). Darcy and Elizabeth didn’t let their inaccurate first impressions of each other get the best of them and resulted in them ending up together