• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

'Persuasion' like 'Emma' is a novel concerned with the importance of marriage; however, it also contains important social comment. What do we learn about both the importance of marriage and society at that time from the text?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

'Persuasion' like 'Emma' is a novel concerned with the importance of marriage; however, it also contains important social comment. What do we learn about both the importance of marriage and society at that time from the text? Marriage The importance of marriage in Jane Austen's time can be seen in the character of Elizabeth, Sir Walter Elliot's oldest daughter, who, at 29, is still single: "She had the remembrance of all this; she had the consciousness of being nine-and-twenty, to give her some regrets and some apprehensions. She was fully satisfied of being still quite as handsome as ever' but she felt her approach to the years of danger, and would have rejoiced to be certain of being properly solicited by baronet-blood within the next twelvemonth or two."1 In the early 1800s, most women were married in their late teens or early twenties. This was so they had a maximum number of childbearing years before them in marriage. This was very important because it increased the chances of producing a boy to act as an heir. Without a son, a father's wealth would be inherited by the nearest male relative which in some cases was a disagreeable option. ...read more.

Middle

The couple could also have provided for the rest of the family, e.g. Anne, but since Mr Elliot refused Elizabeth, her future is still uncertain. In Chapter 4, the significance of marriage is highlighted when Anne is persuaded, against her will, to refuse an offer of marriage from Captain Fredrick Wentworth. Although Fredrick was "a remarkably fine young man with a great deal of intelligence, spirit and brilliance", he was deemed an unsuitable match for Anne because at that point he did not have any notable wealth or position; "Anne Elliot, with all her claims of birth, beauty, and mind, to throw herself away at nineteen, involve herself at nineteen in an engagement with a young man, who had nothing but himself to recommend him, and no hopes of attaining affluence, but in the chances of a most uncertain profession, and no connexions to secure even his farther rise in that profession would be, indeed, a throwing away, which she grieved to think of!"4 This shows how different the criteria for marriage was in the 1800s - where it was openly admitted that material wealth and social position rather than love were of top priority. ...read more.

Conclusion

Elliot - Sir Walter's heir - is being regarded as unwise because her did not think of his first wife's low social position as a problem. (One can see here how different society was at this time since today Anne's opinions would be very politically incorrect.) Mr. Elliot's first wife was rich but despite this, her lack of social standing causes her to be immediately judged unworthy of Sir Walter's heir by his family. At the other end of the scale are Viscount Dalrymple and his family, cousins of the Elliots, who live at 'Camden Place' in Bath. "There was no superiority of manner, accomplishment, or understanding. Lady Dalrymple had acquired the name of "a charming woman," because she had a smile and a civil answer for everybody. Miss Cartaret, with still less to say, was so plain and so awkward, that she would never have been tolerated in Camden-place but for her birth."6 Despite their weak characters, the Dalrymples are seen as key in the Elliots' social lives in Bath - since Mr. Dalrymple is a Viscount, he moves in the 'best circles'. 1 middle of Chapter 1 2 middle of Chapter 11 3 middle of Chapter 1 4 beginning of Chapter 4 5 middle of chapter 21 6 near the end of chapter 16 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Jane Austen section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Jane Austen essays

  1. How does Jane Austen present the themes of love and marriage in the novel ...

    Chapter sixteen is about the day after Mr Elton professed love for Emma. Emma is upset about Mr Elton's behaviour towards her for a number of reasons. Emma is insulted that a person as low as Mr Elton would consider her as a wife for him.

  2. Each of the 4 settings in the novel persuasion by Jane Austen holds a ...

    Uppercross values Anne more highly and kellynch, the family's good description is challenged with the description of kellynch's good furnishings. The description of Uppercross 'high walls' almost enclosing the family together in a unit were as kellynch's gardens and empty hall ways signify emptiness.

  1. Jane Austen said of Emma 'she is a character who no-one but myself will ...

    At the beginning of Chapter (20) the readers are introduced too Jane Fairfax "Jane Fairfax was an orphan" this setting makes you as a reader sympathetic towards Jane Fairfax. Continuing to read the chapter, readers learn of Jane's background and become aware of a more positive description of her character as opposed to Emma's character.

  2. Argue that the theory of common sense structures provides an important and hitherto unappreciated ...

    M. Keesing points out (1987, p. 375): `much of phenomenology (Husserl, Schutz, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty) is precisely about models of everyday cognition'. Further, it is well known that there was an important interplay, both personal and theoretical, between the phenomenological and Gestaltist movements, whose respective members shared also a wide spectrum of common sources.

  1. The society of Jane Austen's time and period, being early nineteenth century rural England, ...

    as their social statuses are more equal as Mrs Weston is a governess. Emma's attempt to match Harriet with Mr. Elton is also shunned by other characters as inappropriate, "Men of family would not be very fond of connecting themselves with a girl of such obscurity-most prudent men would be

  2. Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre - "love is like playing the piano. First you must ...

    She is forced to keep it all to herself as she didn't have a choice. The torturous experiences for Jane in the Reed family becomes a type of containment in which she must obey them, as a slave would obey his master.

  1. Discuss the significance of the chapter titles of the novel in regard to theme ...

    representing the strength of the marriage, stated in the book, "That red candle was supposed to seal me to my husband and his family, no excuses afterward"(55). If the candle goes out the marriage is not strong, where as if it doesn't the marriage can never be broken, "'This candle burned continuously at both ends without going out.

  2. Explain how each of the 4 settings has a profound effect on the characters ...

    The idea may reflect on the characters and how they use materialistic objects to substitute for what they are deprived of emotionally. The only discussions that take place at kellynch are of money, which emphasises kellynch's empty cold and depressing atmosphere.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work