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How does Jane Austin convey nineteenth century attitudes towards love and marriage in Pride and Prejudice?

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Introduction

How does Jane Austin convey nineteenth century attitudes towards love and marriage in Pride and Prejudice? Attitudes to love and marriage in the nineteenth century was very different from the comparatively liberal approach of today, and strict codes of etiquette were applied to Courtship for all but the lower classes of society. At the time of Pride and Prejudice, women's role was firmly in the home and the young ladies portrayed in this middle and upper class, occupied themselves with singing, playing the piano, sewing and other such accomplishments that would enhance their prospects of suitable marriage. Courtship was almost a formal procedure, and often engineered by parents, wishing a suitable match. Jane Austin demonstrates this when Bingley, a rich bachelor, is quickly drawn into the Bennett family on his arrival at Netherfield Park. The book also shows the intricacies of meeting and socialising the Bennett sisters with prospective suitors and the restraints of withholding any affection's until after an engagement. If a couple were to exchange gift, escort one another in carriages or touch intimately they were assumed, engaged. However, in Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austin also wishes to illustrate the desire of young woman to choice lifelong partners for love and compatibility, rather than arranged marriages which are set up for considerations of wealth and social standing. A lot of woman in these days were classed in gentry and were almost entirely dependant on men. However if a woman did not marry she relied financially on her male relatives. ...read more.

Middle

However he is annoyed and cuts her off " you are mistaken. I write rather slowly " (Ch.10 p.38). This shows he is not in love with Caroline Bingley and finds her irritating. Elizabeth's aunt Mrs Gardiner comes to vist them. She warns her about becoming attracted to Wickham, as he is good company but thinks she should do better financially. "He is the most interesting young man"(Ch.3 p.120) After struggling to hide his feelings for Elizabeth he proposes to her and expresses his feeling towards her "I admire and love you" but Elizabeth has no feelings towards him and is angry with him for breaking up Jane and Mr Bingley. She also blames him for what he did to Mr Wickham. There were strict codes of behaviour at this time. It would have seemed discourteous for a woman to vist a new neighbour without previous formal introduction by the head of the household. Mr Bennet had to vist Mr Bingley and introduce himself before any social contact between the two families can take place "Mr Bennet was among the earliest of those who waited on Mr Bingley (Ch.2 p.3) As a rule the older children are meant to get married first. This is why Mrs Bennet says, "Though you are the youngest, I dare say Mr Bingley will dance with you"(Ch.2 p.5). Lydia replies stoutly "I am not afraid...I am the youngest, I'm the tallest"(Ch.2 p.5). Lydia thinks her height will make up for her lack of maturity showing her lack of sense. ...read more.

Conclusion

Mrs Bennet forgets she dislikes Mr Darcy and is excited about the wealthy match. Lady Catherine is very angry "so exceedingly angry by the contents of her nephews letter"(Ch.18 p.318). Mr Darcy stood up to Lady Catherine because of his love for Elizabeth. Pride and Prejudice ends happily and all loose ends are tied up. Jane and Bingley move to Derbyshire to get away from Mrs Bennet "bought an estate in a neighbouring country to Derbyshire"(Ch.19 p.319). Mr Bennet visited Lizzy as he missed her "Mr Bennet missed his second daughter exceedingly"(Ch.19 p.319). Kitty became more sensible because Lydia was not living with her "she became, by proper attention and management"(Ch.19 p.319). Mary became more sociable "Mary was obliged to mix with the world" (Ch.19 p.319). Jane Austen has used humour to show us how silly some of the people were in Pride and Prejudice like Mrs Bennets obsession with marriage of her daughters, Mr Collins Pompous character and how Lady Catherine De Bough is so snobbish and nosy. Then she uses Views Of society and rituals of courtship to show the way people lived and to compare it to our lifestyles today. Finally she used Omniscient narrator to show us what the characters are really like and to express her views through them. Love and marriage was very tangled in those days because of strict rules. In the book however they overcame the obstacles of marriage, which changed all of them making them happy or unhappy, but Lizzy and Darcy were happy, as they loved each other very much. ...read more.

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