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How effectively do Austen and Walker present the struggles that women face within their society?

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Introduction

How effectively do Austen and Walker present the struggles that women face within their society? Where the main plot of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is the up and down love story of two people in the 19th century of England, The Color Purple by Alice Walker touches on the story of a black woman's struggle with men and life in general in 20th century USA. Whilst these two novels may be quite different, they both portray men and women in contrasting ways in society. Pride and Prejudice is mainly about how Elizabeth Bennet and Fitwilliam Darcy misunderstand and dislike each other in the beginning, but soon learn the errors of their ways and fall in love. Other subplots include Jane and Bingley's relationship, Mrs Bennet's mission to marry off her daughters, and Lydia and Wickham's scandalous elopement. There is a lot of talk about marriage, because in that era, the normal customs was to find a good partner, preferably with money, so that a comfortable stable life can be sustained. Mrs Bennet is eager to marry off her daughters especially because females were legally not allowed to inherit any family fortunes, and since they have no sons Mr Bennet's inheritance has to go to distant cousin Mr Collins. ...read more.

Middle

His fickleness shows how he will just simply go for anyone, and he is rather pompous. He also has the view that marriage is simply for practical and economical stability in life and nothing more, and his proposal to Elizabeth is long-winded about the reasons why she should marry him. Collins assumes that she will accept because she is poor and may not get another proposal. Elizabeth is more strong-minded than typical women in that time, and has Collins taken aback when she immediately declines his offer. In contrast to her friend Charlotte and other women, Elizabeth decides that she only wants to marry for true love, and she refuses Collins because she isn't in love with him (and she also finds him an objectionable character). Collins' surprise and his arrogant nature makes him believe at first that Elizabeth is just playing hard to get, but gives up when he finally gets the message. The general social idea in Pride and Prejudice is that men are there to rule and look after women, whilst women are there to be looked after. Money, social status and even good looks are often thought of as more important factors in marriage than love and personality. Lydia, for example, seems to overlook Wickham's devious and deceitful character and can only see him as a handsome soldier. ...read more.

Conclusion

Perhaps this is supposed to be an example that following your heart should guarantee happiness, as well as the chance for some extra benefits, like becoming rich. Whereas, Charlotte Lucas just marries for financial stability, but ends up quite unhappy because she finds Mr Collins to be an obnoxious fool, and has to put up with it. In The Color Purple, Celie's pa forces her into marriage with Mr ____, who treats her badly and just uses her to take care of his children. Celie later learns to stand up to Mr ____, and enjoys and appreciates life a bit more when she meets Shug Avery. Celie is quite a weak person in the beginning, but as she learns from her experiences and keeps in touch with her sister Nettie about their adventures, she becomes a stronger person. She also experiences love for the first time, not with a man, but with a woman, Shug. The first time she actually enjoys sexual intimacy is with Shug, as she was raped and molested by her pa, and her and Mr ____ did not feel love for each other. Both novels show how love can overrule oppression and domination, and that it is often better for people to get along than always follow the often stern and imperfect rules of society. ?? ?? ?? ?? Tokunbo Adebanjo 03/04/2010 1 ...read more.

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