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Do you consider Mr and Mrs Bennet to be good parents?

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Pride and Prejudice coursework 5. Do you consider Mr and Mrs Bennet to be good parents? I do not consider Mr or Mrs Bennet to be good parents. Jane Austen does not present them in a favourable light and I think anyone who reads this novel would get the impression that they are not good parents. A responsibility of fathers in society in Austen's day was to provide financially for his children so they have secure futures. However, Mr Bennet does not do this. He pays little thought to the girls' futures and seems to be a man who does not really consider anything seriously. We know this because Austen tells us, after Lydia had run away and Mr Bennet believes himself in the debt of Mr Gardiner, that Mr Bennet had often wished that he had saved an annual sum for the "better provision of his children, and of his wife" and that now he "wished it more than ever." This shows us he is unthoughtful and makes foolish decisions, which later on he regrets. Mr Bennet does not take anything seriously or talks to Mrs Bennet with respect or seriousness. ...read more.


We can see this reflected in Mary at the Netherfield ball, where she gets up to sing and play the piano. She is seeking attention and is proud of her accomplishments, although Austen tells us her voice is 'weak'. At the Netherfield ball, Mrs Bennet embarrasses Lizzy by talking loudly near Darcy about Jane and Bingley and the Lucases. When entreated by Lizzy to quieten down, she replies, 'I am sure we owe him (Darcy) no such particular civility as to be obliged to say nothing that he may not like to hear'. In Austen's day this behaviour would have been absolutely unacceptable and looked on with contempt as Mrs Bennet shows ill breeding. This encourages the girls to be gossips, tactless and rude. Mrs Bennet does nothing throughout the novel to teach and instruct her five girls of how to behave in society, that is, apart from how to find husbands. Mrs Bennet has violent mood swings. When she first heard of Lydia's elopement she was in 'hysterics' and complained of 'tremblings...spasms in my side and pains in my head' and said Mr Bennet would be killed and they would be turned out of their home. ...read more.


She backs her up when arguing about going to Brighton, and only when she is completely separated from Lydia does she improve. Austen tells us - "removed from the influence of Lydia's example, she became, by proper attention and management, less irritable, less ignorant, and less insipid". Only two out of the five girls are really a credit to Mr and Mrs Bennet - Jane and Lizzy. Jane is very caring and always sees the best in people. Even when she knows Wickham's true character she refers to him as "Poor Wickham!" Towards the middle of the novel, Lizzy is beginning to see her family in the same light as outsiders would and becomes aware of their many failings. She also develops more self-awareness, which her parents did not teach her. Lizzy does show one of her father's traits - her humour. Lizzy makes a joke out of the hurt Darcy caused by 'slighting her'. Austen writes, 'she had a lively, playful disposition, which delighted in anything ridiculous'. This is shown in her father at the Netherfield ball, where Mr Collins embarrasses the family and Austen writes, 'no one looked more amused than Mr Bennet himself'. To conclude, from Austen's use of language and the impression she gives, I believe Mr and Mrs Bennet are not good parents. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

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