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How does Jane Austen portray marriage in her society?

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Introduction

How does Jane Austen portray marriage in her society? Jane Austen, one of the best-loved English novelists, wrote with a keen sense of irony about the position she unwillingly found herself in. She wrote about heroines of the social institutions she encountered. In each of Austen's six novels, a woman meets and marries an eligible man after a series of usually comic difficulties. Overcoming these obstacles helps one or both of the characters gain the self-knowledge required for a happy marriage. It is in my understanding that few authors have matched Austen's sure eye for human weakness, her affectionate descriptions of everyday life, or her witty and elegant prose. All of Jane Austen's novels are love stories. However, neither Jane nor her sister ever married. There are hints of two or three romances in Jane's life, but little is known about them, for Cassandra destroyed all letters of a personal nature after Jane's death. Jane Austen wrote two novels before she was 22. These she later revised and published as 'Sense and Sensibility' (1811) and 'Pride and Prejudice' (1813). She completed her third novel, 'Northanger Abbey', when she was 27 or 28, but it did not appear in print until after her death. ...read more.

Middle

Mr Darcy replies "she is tolerable but not handsome enough even to tempt me." In Mansfield Park (1814), the long-suffering and modest Fanny Price grows up mistreated by rich relatives. Her character may seem uninteresting compared with Austen's other female characters. However, many readers see Fanny as a successful portrait of personal integrity. I believe that Austen maybe unknowingly depicted this particular character of Fanny on herself. In the 'The Three sisters' letters are written instead of a simple story in chapters. They are written by two of the sisters, the third does not actually write at all but is written about by her siblings. Mary is the eldest, she writes the first letter and writes about her feelings towards a man who has proposed to her. Unfortunately this man is not particularly good-looking or young, just lots of money. "He has a large fortune and will make great settlement." Mary Stanhope does not really have a choice here to marry him or not. It has never been necessary for marriages to be for love. Women were seen as objects for their husbands and nothing else, they were purely valued for their physical appearance or family wealth. ...read more.

Conclusion

"If I accept him I know I shall be miserable all the rest of my life, for he is very ill tempered and peevish (cross)extremely jealous, and so stingy that there is no living in the house with him.' She is so immature and indecisive, one minute she wants to marry him then the next she does not. There is literally only two sentences between: "I believe I shall have him" And... "I won't have him I declare" Pre-nineteenth century society had a greater grasp on the day to day lives of many people, all Austen's heroines show that these can be broken. Elizabeth Bennet goes against the rules of society because she seeks more from life, she wanted happiness and marriage but based on love not materialistic means. Fanny Price after the few years she spent being oppressed by her host family, she triumph's and gets the man she truly loves in the end. Through the course of the last century the role of women has changed greatly, we would like to think that we are more independent, ambitious and have more freedom from society's dictatorship. Amy Helm 11R Amy Helm 11R English Coursework GCSE PRE-1900 prose 1 ...read more.

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