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How Elizabeth Bennet is used by Jane Austen in

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How Elizabeth Bennet is used by Jane Austen in "Pride and Prejudice" as a form of social protest In the society of Jane Austen's day it was imperative that a woman married a suitable husband in order for them to live comfortably and improve the social standing and wealth of her family. Women in high society did not work and so it was vital that they married well. This situation is best summed up in the book by Jane Austen as we are given an insight as to the motives of Elizabeth's sister Charlotte as she considers an offer of marriage, she writes "Without thinking highly either of men or of matrimony, marriage had always been her object; it was the only honourable provision for well-educated young women of small fortune, and however uncertain of giving happiness, must be their pleasantest preservative from want. It was often the case that the mothers of the potential brides would seek out the most appropriate gentlemen for their daughters, and it was often the case that couples would meet at parties and balls organised by respectable members of society. ...read more.


This refusal of marriage would have been very shocking as it was something that women of the day did not do regardless of whether they were in love or not. However it was not Elizabeth's intention to conform to the idea of marrying for wealth and security rather than love and so continues in search of love. Elizabeth's contempt for society does not just stop at her refusal to marry Mr Collins. Throughout the novel Elizabeth continues to disregard what others think about her as can be seen when she visits her sister Jane. It was considered extremely un-lady like and looked down upon to be seen waking great distances, as it was only the poorer members of society who walked anywhere; however this did not stop Elizabeth from walking the three miles to visit her sister. Elizabeth's mother who's only concern is how it will reflect on her and her family comments "how can you be so silly, as to think of such a thing, in all this dirt! You will not be fit to be seen when you get there." ...read more.


He is a gentleman; I am a gentleman's daughter: so far we are equal." We are given an insight as to the character of Lady Catherine de Bourgh and her high regard for herself from a description given to Elizabeth by the charming Mr Collins when advising her on what to wear for her visit. He says "I would advise you merely you put on whatever your clothes is superior to the rest-there is no occasion for anything more. Lady Catherine will not think the worse of you for being simply dressed. She likes to have the distinction of rank preserved." In contrast to this warning we are given an insight as to the opinion of Elizabeth and how she perceives Lady Catherine. "She had heard nothing of Lady Catherine that spoke her awful from any extraordinary talents or miraculous virtue, and the mere stateliness of money and rank she thought she could witness without trepidation. This is perhaps one of the most revealing sentences in the book as it not only reveals the feelings of Elizabeth toward the society in which she lives, but in writing this sentence we are given an insight as to the feelings of the author Jane Austen as she uses Elizabeth as a form of social protest toward the society in which she lives. ...read more.

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