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Explore the ways Jane Austen satirizes the social values of her characters in volume one of Pride and Prejudice

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Introduction

Explore the ways in which Jane Austen satirizes the social values of her characters in volume one of "Pride and Prejudice". Jane Austen ridicules the social values of her characters using different methods. These methods include using the characters' actions to mock their social values. Mrs Bennet, Miss Bingley and Mr Collins all ridicule their social values by their words and deeds. Their words and deeds are the outcome of either folly or evil. In this essay I will explore these techniques which the author uses in volume one to successfully satirize social values. Mrs Bennet is an irresponsible mother of five daughters. She is extremely fickle and is always complaining about her 'poor nerves' if she does not get her own way. Mrs Bennet's main objective in life is to marry all of her daughters and to achieve this goal she does anything necessary. The main subject in the novel is stated in the first sentence: 'It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.' In this statement Jane Austen revealed the main theme, courtship and marriage, and she has also established the novels humorous, ironic tone. The author really means that 'a single woman in possession of nothing, must be in want of a man in possession of a good fortune.' Mrs Bennet's folly is satirized by this open sentence as her life is purely dedicated to marrying off her daughters. ...read more.

Middle

However, all of her hints are unsuccessful and do not win Mr Darcy. Here, Jane Austen is satirizing Miss Bingley; as at every attempt to attract Mr Darcy she fails but she never gives up and continues to place failing hints. One hint she made which backfired was when Miss Bingley said that Lizzie was mad 'to walk three miles, or four miles, or five miles' to Netherfield. However, Mr Darcy's answer was in Lizzie's support and he said the walk 'shews an affection for her sister that is very pleasing'. This is ironic as every time Miss Bingley tries to hint it always results in the wrong way for her; she never gets Mr Darcy's attraction. Another example of Miss Bingley's intentions going wrong is when she asks Lizzie if she would like to 'take a turn around the room'. Miss Bingley's purpose of walking around the room was to highlight her figure and appearance to Mr Darcy. Though again Miss Bingley's plan backfired as Mr Darcy took notice of Lizzie's figure and appearance instead of her figure and appearance. Previously Mr Darcy had noticed Lizzie's 'fine eyes' though now he thought they even finer. He also commented that, after Lizzie's trek to Netherfield, her eyes were 'brightened.' This plainly illustrates irony; all of Miss Bingley's attempts fail and have the opposite result in which she formerly intended. Miss Bingley values marriage and courtship however she tries to hard to win Mr Darcy. ...read more.

Conclusion

This statement is not flattering and shows no sign of love. Despite the lack of love, Mr Collins continues saying he is 'violently' in love with Lizzie. This gives the impression of aggressiveness; that Mr Collins is forcing her to marry him. Overall, this comical scene mocks the value of love as Mr Collins obviously has no affections for Lizzie. The only person Mr Collins adores is Lady Catherine de Bourgh. He even 'arranges elegant compliments' so he is prepared to flatter her and other women. In conclusion, I believe, that through these techniques, which I have explored, Jane Austen is able to satirize or mock the social values of the characters. She also uses irony to ridicule her characters' social values. Mrs Bennet's desperate, determined attempts are satirized by her foolish actions towards marriage. She also displays no manners and consequently has a bad reputation amongst many. Jane Austen ridicules Mrs Bennet's social values through her actions. Similarly, Miss Bingley's social values are also satirized by Jane Austen in the same way as Mrs Bennet's; Miss Bingley ridicules her social values through her actions. However, Miss Bingley, who is evil, mocks her social values in a more spiteful and unkind manner. Mr Collins's social values are mocked by his foolishness and 'self-importance'; he is unconsciousness to the fact that he is not valued by Lady Catherine de Bourgh, instead she exploits him to her benefit. Satirizing character's social values by the character's words and deeds is frequently used by Jane Austen as it successfully achieves its purpose; mocking the characters' social values. Ashley Greenacre 10a Centre Number: 52433 Candidate number: ...read more.

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