• 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 ...

    His dismissal of Harriet was because of her status which recalls similar objections that Emma made in regards to Harriet and Robert Martin. What Emma finds acceptable behaviour for Harriet she finds unacceptable for Mr Elton because of his status.

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

    afraid of the inconvenience and disgrace they might be involved in, when the mystery of her parentage came to be revealed." Since Harriet is "illegitimate", Emma still believes that "she is a gentleman's daughter," and encourages Harriet to reject what turns out to be a more appropriate match with Robert Martin.

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

    Even at the though of 'retrenching' kellynch hall sir Walter demands someone of a high social class and good appearance, so that to others the sound of retrenching to an admiral will be impressive. Sir Walter is concerned that Admiral Croft's appearance must be "orange" and weather-beaten from all his time at sea.

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

    However, when I contemplate this idea I begin to wonder, why, if my theory is correct in some way, that she chooses Emma to act peculiar and show her clinging onto establish ideas when it suits her. Most women in Austin's period would not have been troubled or confused about

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

    The problem Sir Walter faces is not unique; it emerges in part because of the class system of early nineteenth- century England. Such a system, in which families are strictly categorized by their wealth, rank, and birth, necessitates living a lifestyle consistent with one's class.

  2. Explore Jane Austen's approach to the character Emma in the novel of the same ...

    He is one of the few people 'that could see faults in Emma' and certainly the only one who informed her of them. Being wise, possessing great experience and holding a 'gentleman' status enables him to confront Emma in a way most people could not, ' Emma knows I never flatter her'.

  1. What Warnings Does Jane Austen offer About the Moral Dangers of Persuasion?

    They are both so adamant that the other is not interested they begin to interpret anything the other person says and twist it around so it seems that they are being negative to the other. For example when Captain Wentworth and Louisa were having an argument in the woods (after taking a long walk with the Musgroves and Anne)

  2. Discuss Austen(TM)s use of Mr Elliot in Persuasion.

    This directly contrast her feeling in Chapter Fourteen where she states that "he is a man whom [she has] no wish to see" and that he had "left a very strong impression in his disfavour" with her when he declined to be "on cordial terms with the head of his family".

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