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Eighteenth Century to Modern Day woman's status.

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Woman's status: Eighteenth Century to Modern Day Since Jane Austen wrote Pride and Prejudice, the way women are treated and the way they act has altered considerably. Women have become more independent and more outgoing. Love, relationships and marriage, is one of the largest areas to have changed through time. It is customary to live with someone before even thinking of getting married and sex before marriage is a very often occurrence, but when you leap back in time to when 'Pride and Prejudice' was written things were viewed very differently. A girl belonged to her father until she got married, and then she was the possession of her husband. To marry a woman, a man would have to request the permission of her father before she could consent. "Lizzy, I have given my consent," said Mr Bennet, after Mr Darcy had asked his permission to marry Elizabeth. The intentions of a woman were to get married to a rich man, be a good mother and a good hostess. It was then her duty to give birth to at least one boy to have an heir to the estate, but if she had all girls the mother tried to get them married off to rich men as I the case of Mrs Bennet who has her eyes open looking for someone to marry one the girls, "You must know that I am thinking of him marrying one of them." ...read more.


Lady Catherine de Bourgh, who is Mr Darcy's aunt, did not see this match very kindly. She calls upon Elizabeth at Longbourn and allows her sentiments to be known. Lady de Bourgh is very rich and expects to listened to because of her high status. "And you promise me, never to enter into sich an engagement?" She forbids Elizabeth from marrying Mr Darcy before he proposes because of the gap in society. Only Elizabeth takes no notice and does it anyway. Divorce used to be a sin that only men could commit if he was unhappy with his wife. She was never able to divorce him until much later on. On average, today one in three marriages end in divorce and either person in that marriage can end it as long as they have been married for a year. The prospect of employment is one of the factors that has also changed. In the eighteenth century, a man was looked sneered at if he worked and a woman working was unheard of. There were only a few occupations women could belong to and these were for the destitute women who had to work to survive. These jobs were: Governess, seamstress, maid, nanny, housekeeper or other household service, bar maid or prostitute. All of these were degrading and paid very little. Mrs Bennet's brother who is an attorney, the soldiers and Mr Collins are all treated with contempt because of their lower working class. ...read more.


So if they were taught too much then they may start thinking for themselves. If a child were taught anything it would have been from their mother or Governess. Girls were taught to understand writing, sew, to play the piano or another instrument and dance. These skills were essential if a woman was to become accomplished. This meant they could achieve what they were trained to do exceptionally well and could sing and play to an audience. As time went on, becoming accomplished became less and less important, until the present day, when it has become a exceptional occurrence for somebody to be able to play an instrument extremely well. It is now compulsory for each person to attend a school until the minimum age of sixteen. Sewing, reading, letter writing, walking and instruments were what women used to do as leisure activities. They would occasionally play a round of cards, go riding, or dance. For example in Volume One, Chapter Two, Mr Bennet asks Elizabeth, "When is your next ball to be, Lizzy?" A ball was extremely popular with women in the nineteenth century. It was a chance for them to meet young men and have some fun. Two centuries later, women are swimming, running, driving, watching television and doing the identical things for fun as men, activities that would disgrace people in the nineteenth century. As you can see, since the eighteenth century, many changes have occurred within daily life. Changes including love, marriage and divorce, inheritance, belongings and voting. Women are now equal to men, which is very different. Sara Moore 1 ...read more.

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