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Compare and contrast how Jane Austen's attitude and concerns are revealed in the opening chapters of Pride and Prejudice and Emma.

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Introduction

Compare and contrast how Jane Austen's attitude and concerns are revealed in the opening chapters of Pride and Prejudice and Emma. Both novels concentrate on the way that society is formed throughout and Jane Austen reflects her attitudes and concerns about it. She puts forward ideas about the way that society should behave. She ridicules the social class system in both novels and is quick to comment on how they behave. 'Emma' is a social comedy revolving around the domestic life of a few families of the upper middle class, primarily the landed gentry, in the small town of Highbury. Pride and Prejudice is told in a readable prose without a single unnecessary word, frequently breaking into dialogue, which is so lively and revealing of its characters. The main plot in Pride and Prejudice follows the far from smooth course of the romance between Elizabeth and Darcy and the conflict of his pride and her prejudice. Their feelings, born of first impressions, are not the only obstacles between them and throughout the novel there are lots of complications. In the opening lines of Pride and Prejudice 'it is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife' Jane Austen seems to suggest three things from it. ...read more.

Middle

Jane Austen In Emma, the opening lines are portrayed differently to Pride and Prejudice. They give the impression of a certain kind of person to begin with. 'Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever and rich...had lived nearly twenty one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her.' Jane Austen tends to be a shrewd observer of human nature and represents this by mocking the society she lived in.' One of the major themes portrayed in Emma, is arrogance and self- deception. Emma is one such person as she foolishly thinks that she is better than most people and is capable of managing the lives of others, such as Harriet Smith and Elton who is a Clergyman. An important theme that runs throughout 'Emma' as well as in Pride and Prejudice is the importance of marriage. It was very important to a woman in the English society of the eighteenth century to get married because she didn't have any real chance of a career. She was totally dependent upon her husband for support. If a husband was not found for a woman then she may have to take up work that might be humiliating or undignified such as being a governess, like Miss Taylor was. ...read more.

Conclusion

While she concentrates on mainly getting the Bennet girls married, Austen actually examines marriage itself, and the effect it has on five different couples. She comments, through her heroine, on the ironic fact that the Bennets must be happy over a marriage that can bring no happiness to anyone. An example of that was the impending marriage between Lydia and Wickham. In conclusion, Jane Austen conveys many of her attitudes and concerns in the opening chapters, which include marriage and money, and the reader gets an insight into how they lived and what their ideas of morals were. In Emma she cleverly expresses how the reader should think of Emma because she is a horrible character, but later on we see that she does have some compassion and she does realises that she was wrong in the end. In Pride and Prejudice the very main character is Darcy and at the beginning he is seen as arrogant and full of pride but later in the book, the reader discovers that he is in fact very generous and kind especially towards his tenants and anyone connected to him. He also saves the Bennet family from disgrace when Lydia runs off with Wickham, which Elizabeth is immensely grateful to him and her prejudice of him disappears. Emily Tamhne 1 ...read more.

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