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How does Jane Austen Present the role of Women in Pride and Prejudice?

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Introduction

Pride and Prejudice is a light-hearted novel, which picks out particular faults in nineteenth century. It is a unique and inimitable novel at the time when it was first published in 1813. This novel is set firmly in the nineteenth century period. The novel revolves around the choices people make when deciding who to marry and the socially difficult procedure they go through while attempting to find the right man or woman and the difficulties some people have to overcome before they can marry. The novel was written when society stressed social control over personal pleasure. "Society" at this time was very judgemental; men had to have money, social status and be agreeable; women needed some money, social status, beauty, accomplishments and education. To succeed one had to learn and live by the required status. At the time this novel is set various Endeavours are needed to fulfil a wealthy families daughter. Theses accomplishments may not be very arduous and challenging to do but they were important for the wealthy girls, as the 'society' would not allow them to take up and achieve a profession. Examples of these activities were singing, reading, sewing, riding and knowing how to play music were important for wealthy girls. This novel is based on middle to upper class society where snobbery is common and widespread. This book was unique at the time because it had only just become acceptable and suitable for women to write and publish novels. ...read more.

Middle

People would respect this class but only to a low standard as they had just the right money to afford everyday treats such as food and drink. In whole they had enough money to live with a good social life. They were frequently invited to dinners and balls. This was called the courteous or refined class in other words it would mean the genteel group of people. The class that is the lowest one generally just consisted of servants and shopkeepers. No respect was given to this society of people, even though they were the ones who did all the hard work such as cleaning for the aristocrats and middle classes. Lady Catherine as "a young woman of inferior birth describes Elizabeth Bennet, our heroine," whom she thinks is "of no importance in this world." Austen, however, would seem to disapprove of this attitude. If a woman remained unmarried she became a burden to her family, and society assumed she was unmarriageable therefore there must be something wrong with her. Therefore finding a man was one of women's main priorities. It was thought that getting married was the only answer for security and money. The reason for marriage was not always for the reasons of love. As stated before it was only done for money. The Money was to support the women and also their families. This was an acknowledgement of middle class greed. In the novel Pride and Prejudice quite a few marriages and proposals occur. Two proposals that we learn about are from Mr. Collins and Mr. Darcy. Mr. ...read more.

Conclusion

Women were also not allowed to go out on their own unaccompanied. Middle class women such as the Bennet sisters were into sewing, cooking, dancing, buying dresses and gossiping. Elizabeth is the main character of the novel, and the story traces her changing impressions of other characters throughout the narrative. While at first she finds Wickham charming and Darcy proud, in the end she realizes that she has been blind, and that Darcy is the true gentleman while Wickham is not. Elizabeth reveals a maturity and wisdom beyond that of her parents. She censures her father for not acting responsibly for his children. Her character Is very unique and different for the time. She thinks very ahead and is not backward like the rest of the society. She believes that love is stronger than wealth and status. Marriage is a contract; Austen believes that a good marriage is a contract of love; a developed understanding of one another's characters; good disposition; similarity in feeling and taste; affection and attraction; and finally, financial security - enough money to live comfortably. She also believes that bad or unsuccessful marriages are based on irresponsible attitudes, ignorance and lack of reason and judgement; the couple must have self-understanding as well as that of their partner. They must also possess self-respect and have respect for their partner. Austen condemns the marriages that are based on rank and wealth or just physical attraction. Throughout the novel we see characters taking part in many different courtship and marriage situations. We are shown Austen's varying view of these marriages and her attitude is revealed in her style. ...read more.

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