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English coursework- Are the marriages of Mary and Teresa for love or convenience

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English coursework- Are the marriages of Mary and Teresa for love or convenience? In this essay, I will be comparing and contrasting two short stories- Teresa's wedding by William Trevor, who was born in 20th century and The Three sisters by Jane Austen, who was born in the 18th century. Teresa's wedding is set in a small town in Ireland and The Three sisters is set in England. The historical differences between them are reflected in the lives of women, the writer's style and the character's attitudes to marriage. In Jane Austen's story the main character is marry. Mary is the oldest of her two sisters and has to decide whether or not she will accept the proposal from her next-door neighbour- Mr. Watts. In William Trevor's story the main character is Teresa. She is one and a half months pregnant by Artie Cornish and has to follow the society codes, meaning she would have to marry Artie. The two stories are similar because in both stories society pressurises women. Women in the pre 20th century are expected to get married and stick to their traditional roles. In the pre 20th century women needed to marry in order to be secure. Women in those times did not have much freedom. The only way that they could get some freedom was to get married. We know this because Mary says: ' I shall be able to chaperone Sophy and Georgiana to all the winter balls' This shows that women did not have much freedom, as Mary's sisters (Sophy and Georgiana) are not allowed to go out on their own, they will need to be escorted by a married women unless they are married themselves. This is also the same for Mary until she gets married also. Here we can see that marriage in the pre 20th century is also a way of getting freedom. The lives of these women are mainly based on decisions made by other people. This is because of their society. ...read more.


Teresa's other sister-Loretta however, has a very different attitude towards marriage. Loretta had a negative experience about marriage. She dislikes sex and has plans in becoming a nun this suggests that Loretta's life is not very exciting as William Trevor describes her as: "small and brown" This suggests that Loretta's life is dull and boring as the colour of her clothes reflects her mood. She imagines her brother in laws "coming at her sisters like two farm animals". Her plans in becoming a nun suggest that the society see life for women nothing more than getting married and reproducing. Kitty Roche (one of Teresa's friend) did not believe that she would ever marry because she is asthmatic, have tuberculosis and has a skin disorder on her face and neck. She would therefore have low expectations, unlike Agnes. " No one would want to be saddled with a diseased wife" This shows that the society has set laws that women who are ill shan't be married. It is expected that women should be healthy. Women's lives were based on traditional roles. They all had to depend on men, meaning that Teresa is living a gendered society. In contrast Jane Austen uses dialogue to convey a sense of character. Her characters are not described in detail. Jane Austen tells the story through the character's letters and through the characters speech. For example: Mary's letter to fanny "... I had just sealed my last letter to you when my mother came up and told me she wanted to speak to me...Law mama how can I tell you what I don't know myself?..." " I am not going to force you child..." " You are the strangest girl in the world Mary" Here, Jane Austen is telling the story using the character's speech, she tells the reader what Mary is thinking by her speech when she is writing a letter to her friend. ...read more.


This is because Jane Austen was not interested in plot. She just wanted to show the lives of women and the society they live in. Her aim was to make the reader laugh at the society and the expectations of women in the 19th century. Overall, both stories were very good. I preferred William Trevor's story as it builds up to a climax and come to a 'moment of truth' scene. I think that the women decided to marry due to the society they lived in and for convenience. In The Three sisters Mary decided to marry Mr.Wattts because she feared that others would marry before her, she was too keen in trying to make others envy her. But if Mary were living in today's world she probably wouldn't care less whether her sisters married before her or not. This is because nowadays there is not as much social pressure as there was then. In the pre 20th century women were not as independent and Mary felt that she had to marry well in order to live well. Teresa married because she was pregnant with Artie's baby. She broke the social rule and she felt that she had let her parents down, she felt shameful. So it is very clear that Mary and Teresa only married for convenience and not for love. Nowadays it is very easy to just abort the baby and it would not be seen as a big issue. Nowadays people do not see marriage as a big thing. Marriage is only away to try and control your partner. Being married results in commitment and it is way to stay faithful to your partner. But despite the fact that it is wrong to cheat people still do it, and divorce is not seen as a sin or a crime so it is really not a big deal. People do generally marry for love though because if a woman were pregnant she would not have to marry the man, she could either have an abortion or bring up the child herself. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 1 Yuet-Yin Tang English coursework ...read more.

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