Q: What does it mean when it says, "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife" (Austin 1)?
A: Mr. Bingley has everything else; why can't he have a wife too? It was something that men prided themselves in: having a good fortune and a sociable, well-off wife who can gossip.
The book goes onto say that this statement is a "universal truth" in the minds of the families surrounding Netherfield. Bingley is is a rich, single man who is announced a possession of "some one or other of their daughters (Austin 1)."
Q: Why does Mr. Bennet favor Elizabeth?
A: Mr. Bennet seems to like what is underneath and not the surface types of attributes. He thinks his other daughters are "silly and ignorant" while Elizabeth has "more of a quickness than her sisters (Austin 3)." He seems to appreciate girls with wit.
Austin, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. New York: Bantam Dell, 2003.