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Compare how each author presents attitudes towards marriage in "The Three Sisters" by Jane Austen, and "Teresa's Wedding" by William Trevor

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Introduction

Compare how each author presents attitudes towards marriage in "The Three Sisters" by Jane Austen, and "Teresa's Wedding" by William Trevor Although 'The Three Sisters' is believed to be written before 1792 and 'Teresa's Wedding' was published in 1993, being two hundred years apart does not have such a significant effect as would have been expected. As the themes, ideas, societies, and views are similar, they are extremely alike. However, they also have very apparent contrasts due to the periods in which they were set and written in. The most significant contrast between the two is their narrative style and this is important because it affects the way in which marriages of the time are perceived. 'The Three Sisters' is set and was written in the Regency Period and is presented in an epistolary style, which was very popular at this time. It is also very subjective, writing from the point of view of alternate narrators and characters. 'Teresa's Wedding' in contrast, is very objective, for example when Trevor says, "In know way did Teresa love him". This is very powerful because it is very impassive and he is stating her feelings rather than relating them. This makes the readers aware of her feelings at all times instead of them trying to understand her feelings, thus making it easier to show the motive behind getting married and how she was forced. 'Teresa's Wedding' is set in the 1960's, in Ireland. At this time they were very religious and life revolved around the moral principles and teaching of Catholicism. In 'The Three Sisters', Austen uses unusual syntax, which might seem archaic in comparison to the contemporary style of today, which Trevor uses. In Austen's "novel" she says, "Mr Watt's figure is unfortunately extremely vulgar and his Countenance is very heavy". Whereas when Trevor describes a character he says, "The bride, who had been Teresa Atty and was now Teresa Cornish, had a round pretty face and black, pretty hair, and was a month and a half pregnant". ...read more.

Middle

The loveless marriage of Teresa is similar to Mary in 'The Three Sisters', as she does not love Mr Watts but actually hates him, yet she is forced by her erratic temperament. As is apparent from her second letter, when her mother is actually introduced into the story instead of referred to. Mary's mother is very astute in her ways and says, "I am not going to force you" however she then goes on to say that if Mary doesn't accept him then "Sophy may", psychologically compelling her to marry Mr Watts, because, as she said before, she "could not bear either of them to be married before" her, meaning Sophy and Georgiana. Mary then says to her mother that she "shall certainly marry him". In this way Father Hogan is similar, he is cunning as well, as Teresa said that "she didn't love him or feel anything for him one way or the other" and "Father Hogan had replied that in the circumstances all that line of talk was irrelevant", and he could make her believe she had to marry Artie because of the power he had in the town. He demonstrates this power with Teresa and Artie and proves that religion has a bigger influence on their lives than love. Just as in 'The Three Sisters', money and status has a bigger influence than love. In Austen's "novel", Mary's mother appears to be extremely determined to have her daughter's married, because even if Mary is not to be married to Mr Watts, one of her daughters will, as she says, "I am determined not to let such an opportunity escape of settling one of my Daughters so advantageously". This is perhaps because she needs the money for when she is older, and cannot support her daughters as well as herself, so she must have them married before they are too old because otherwise they will not be taken for a wife. ...read more.

Conclusion

Mary, however, was extremely materialistic and this may be because she is the eldest and was more liable to be spoilt before Georgiana and Sophy were born. She is self-obsessed and ostentatious, so expects more than what Mr Watts is willing to offer, this is the main reason for her hatred against him. Georgiana is not materialistic and does not expect as much as Sophy. She wants a husband who is the complete opposite of Mr Watts. Mr Watts in her description is "So deficient in every respect. Hideous in his person and without one good Quality to make amends for it. His fortune is good. Yet not so very large! Three thousand a year. What is three thousand a year? It is but six times as much as my Mother's income. It will not tempt me" Mrs Stanhope wants society to remain as it is, because if it does not than she will not be supported in her old age, and so she tries to force her daughters to marry for money instead of love, as she feels this is their duty. This shows that times were changing during the Regency period, Austen's era, and she was an early feminist. In 'The Three Sisters', the motivation behind Mary's marriage was to surpass the Duttons and her sisters, and gratify her mother, and in 'Teresa's Wedding', Teresa and Artie also married to satisfy, but were pleasing the community. Although society was different in 'The Three Sisters' compared to 'Teresa's Wedding', the attitudes towards marriage are the same. In both, life was lived by what was expected of them, rather than what they dreamed of doing. In 'Teresa's Wedding', marriage could be seen as an escape from parental dominance, as it was with Agnes. Segregation was evident in both, as marriage is to raise status in Austen's "novel", and there was separation amongst the guests at the wedding. Overall, the stories were very similar in theme, however, they contrasted strongly in style and address, but both were as effective giving good historical evidence and an excellent account. Dominique Briggs- English- Ms Stokes 1 ...read more.

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