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From a reading of Jane Austens Short stories, What do we learn about Womens Lives in the Late Eighteenth Century?

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Introduction

From a reading of Jane Austen's Short stories, What do we learn about Women's Lives in the Late Eighteenth Century? In Jane Austen's short stories, Love and Friendship, we see an amusing, satirical insight into the lives of women in the Eighteenth Century England. We can learn a lot about women's lives at this time from reading those stories in which marriage was a central focus throughout. One of the first things that become very clear from reading her short stories is that marriage was very important for young women. It was most often done for social status and money, here Mrs Stanhope, 'The Three Sisters' is determined to have her daughter settled; "for I am determined not to let such an opportunity escape of setting one of my Daughters so advantageously" It was practically impossible for a single woman to live a free and independent life as it was difficult to inherit wealth and no professions were open to women at the time. Alternatives to marriage were such as to stay living at home your family; however you would be considered as an 'old maid' and be pitied and considered odd, as being a wife and a mother were perceived to be the pinnacle of the female condition. ...read more.

Middle

In many of the friendships in these stories seems false and insensitive. This can be shown in this quote by Margaret Lesley from Lesley Castle, "How often have I wished that I possessed as little personal Beauty as you do" shows her being very arrogant and insensitive. Furthermore, relationships between sisters were competitive; the main cause was due to marriage. A great deal of rivalry was involved as you can see "I would refuse him at once if I were certain that neither of my Sisters would accept him..."; here Mary Stanhope would rather marry Mr Watts when she apparently 'hates him more than any body else in the world.' than let either of her younger sisters to marry before her. So from Jane Austen's stories we can learn that sibling rivalry, between sisters, was common in women's lives back then (if they had any). Women were not educated as education for women was thought unnecessary at the time. However instead there were 'accomplishments' which included things like embroidery, singing, drawing and playing the piano. Although cooking was strictly for servants, Charlotte Lutterrell in Lesley Castle had been educated as such to "understand the art of cutting a slice of cold Beef so well" which gives the assumption she is of quite a low class. ...read more.

Conclusion

The husband was in control; therefore women had limited social activities. In conclusion, Jane Austen uses epistolary; the chatty nature of letters and direct speech to portray women's lives in the Eighteenth Century very interestingly and humorously - especially with the irony and satire used throughout the stories. The reason why it was done in such a chatty letter form and featured a lot of direct speech was because these stories were originally meant to be read aloud just for entertainment purposes. From a reading of her short stories we learn a lot about these particular areas of women's lives which were common to them; such as marriage, female friendships, money, family, education and social class and economic status. For example we learn that your social class and economic status affected as to whom they could marry like Louise but it was said she had "a good chance of pleasing some young Man who might afford to marry a Girl without a shilling.", who they socialise with and how other people threat them. Women in the Eighteenth Century acted and behaved the way they did due to one main reason being how marriage was viewed back then; however in our modern society today I think that women's opinion have changed and are much more realist. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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