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Discuss Jane Austen's Presentation of Women in "Pride and Prejudice".

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Introduction

Discuss Jane Austen's Presentation of Women in "Pride and Prejudice". The novel "Pride and Prejudice" is set in the Georgian period in a rural English town. There are many different characters in "Pride and Prejudice" but the most important characters in the novel are usually the women. Austen gives the reader a variety of female characters so as to show the diversity of women and how differently they can all think and act. The first woman you come across in the book is the mother of the heroine, Mrs Bennet. The opening chapter sums her up quite clearly that she has 'mean understanding, little information, and uncertain temper' as it says in Chapter One. You immediately assume that she is a shrill and very superficial woman who only cares about marrying off her daughters. Of course this view of her does not differ throughout the rest of the book but stays as much the same as the attitude of her youngest daughter, and most likely her favourite, Lydia. Lydia is like the replica of Mrs Bennet; she is also shrill and superficial and appears to care only about herself and men in regimentals. ...read more.

Middle

Out of the five Bennet sisters Jane is the eldest and thought of as the most beautiful. At the start of the novel she was Mrs Bennet's pride and joy, the daughter that had the highest chance of being married off into a respectable family. Many people think of Jane to be too dull and too nice. It is true that Jane does think the best of everyone but this is not necessarily a bad thing however it does leave her open and easy to manipulate. There is not much to say about Catherine, the second youngest, except that she tries to be as much like Lydia as she can. Catherine, also known of as Kitty, is hardly mentioned in the novel and is not thought of as an important character. Kitty is mainly described as a mild form of Lydia although just as fond of men in regimentals. The middle child in the Bennet family is Mary the complete opposite of Lydia. She is ignored most of the time in family discussions and is thought of as the least talented of them all. Mary does try to hide her fault by becoming a bookworm; she is usually found in the novel burying herself in mountains of book or playing quite lifelessly on the piano. ...read more.

Conclusion

Although there are not actually any specific enemies in the novel two female characters come very close. Miss Bingley, who is Elizabeth's rival for Mr Darcy's affection, and Lady Catherine DeBourgh, an extremely pretentious woman who believes Mr Darcy should marry her daughter. I believe Miss Bingley and Lady Catherine are extremely alike; they both are hypocritical and represent the ill manner of the high society. Lady Catherine's character is not given a lot of detail but it is obvious how much aristocratic pride she possesses and even though she appears to dislike Mrs Bennet I find that they are rather alike, they both are domineering and self-centred though many would probably prefer Mrs Bennet to Lady Catherine whose 'dignified impertinence' is thought of as exceedingly rude throughout the novel. Miss Bingley is a complete contrast to Elizabeth that, unfortunately for her, helped bring Elizabeth to Darcy's notice. Austen provides the reader with a range different characteristics and views of women in the novel. Even the characters that she does not go into detail with still seem real and believable by not overly exaggerating them. Austen gives in depth insight to the lifestyle of the people in the 17th Century and how many of them think which is one of the reasons why "Pride and Prejudice" is such a great novel. Khine Tint ...read more.

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