• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

In what ways and to what ends does the romance genre draw on the conventions and expectations of the fairy tale? Discuss with reference to Pride and Prejudice.

Extracts from this document...


In what ways and to what ends does the romance genre draw on the conventions and expectations of the fairy tale? Discuss with reference to Pride and Prejudice. Up until more recent times women have occupied a suppressed place in the hierarchical structure of society. As a reaction to the values of and their position in a capitalist society which is intrinsically individualistic, Romantic writing has grown to become mainly dominated by female writers. These writers have purged to find an escape from their position in a world obsessed by material wealth and social status. The protagonist in Romantic writing and fairy tales is usually involved in a quest. The goal he or she aims for is usually opposed by other forces. The overcoming of his own pride is an obstacle for Mr. Darcy to overcome in Pride and prejudice. The opposing forces can often be enemies of the romantic ideals. One example of this in Pride and prejudice is the unsuccessful endeavours of Miss. Bingley to attract Mr. Darcy because it opposes the romantic ideal of a kind of love which is impervious to wealth and status. The opening words of the novel express the attitude that 'It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.'1 It is presumed that, in the name of his, and his families, own material interest he must find a wife. ...read more.


Edward Lewis could be compared to 'Prince Charming' in Cinderella. These characters have a set role in the plot and have a definite quality that enables them to be easily characterised, for example, if the character is evil, he or she is purely evil and is a 'villain'. This kind of set role enables a definite opposition of forces, such as good against evil. The diversion from our perception of reality provided by the romantic genre and fairy tales can bring about excess of pleasure in the participator because of its ability to draw on the reader's imagination and bring them closer to a more perfect reality. The sense of illusion created by Romance offers solutions to problems which cannot be solved in reality, the idea of having something that shows us how things could be rather than how things are can be a cathartic and helpful experience. It may be good to have a goal to aim for even if it is impossible to reach because it can bring us closer to those ideals. Characters in Romantic writing and Fairy tales usually, through the course of the narrative, usually undergo some sort of transformation. The villains and hindrances are the catalysts for these transformations. In chapter three in pride and prejudice Mr. Darcy is heard by Elizabeth to say about her: "She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me; and I am in no humour ...read more.


She also mentions 'His sense of her inferiority - of its being a degradation - of the family obstacles which judgement had always opposed to inclination'10 The "family obstacles" he talks of are due to her social inferiority. It is the fact that her family does not have the grand reputation to match his and if they were to be wedded it would reflect badly on his family. Later, in chapter fifty-six, Lady Catherine de Bourgh calls Elizabeth "a woman of inferior birth, of no importance in the world, and wholly unallied to the family."11 She goes on to say that her "alliance will be a disgrace"12 and that Mr. Darcy should be wedded to her own progeny because "Their fortune on both sides is splendid."13 The conversation between Elizabeth and the irascible Lady Catherine is one of the greatest oppositions of the ideal of Romantic love in Pride and Prejudice. It is the fact that Lady Catherine is trying to prevent a marriage of unconventional love which is so opposed to mercenary interest. She is trying to put a stop to their special emotional bond which defies the voice of authority, reason and ultimately the values of a capitalist society. Their defiance has no political or necessarily intelligent reason but is due to something conceived as 'true love'. This concept is the driving force of the romantic 'quest' in the novel and is what potentially offers us the 'escape' or catharsis that both Romantic writing and the fairy tale can be an effective medium for. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Jane Austen section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Jane Austen essays

  1. Free essay

    Pride and Prejudice

    Mr Darcy is very aware that Caroline Bingley is taking more interest in him now but is not doing anything about it. When she tried to talk to him, 'he merely answered her question, and read on.' This shows that he does not like her as much as she like him and is trying to keep a distance from her.

  2. Pride and Prejudice

    As a result, Mr Bennet has no respect for his wife and "her ignorance and folly had contributed to his amusement". This all indicates to the reader that the Bennets' were poorly matched and supports Austen's view that respect is a key element in a good and successful marriage, we

  1. Pride and Prejudice

    Collins standard. In addition to the "quickness" of her mind, Elizabeth also shares good humour with her father. She likes taking ironic enjoyment at others' silliness and hypocrisies and is quick to mock them exclusive of her mother and her younger sisters though she is sometimes humiliated by their ludicrous behaviour.

  2. An analytical commentary on Pride and Prejudice (emphasis: Chapter VI, pp. 21-23)

    In this way, Elizabeth reveals herself (and Jane, for that matter) to be something of a romantic - compared to the cynical utilitarian approach taken by Charlotte (which is the manifestation of society's conception of marriage as a union of pragmatism).

  1. ‘In what ways is “Pride and Prejudice” a Cinderella story?’

    would never exert himself to restrain the wild giddiness of his youngest daughters." (Chapter 37.) This trait in her father's disposition allows Lydia to elope with Mr Wickham from Brighton. Elizabeth's mother and sisters also inhibit her, not by being malicious or unkind, as with Cinderella, but by their rudeness

  2. Pride and Prejudice Chapter Summaries

    Lady Catherine is quite rude and judgemental towards Lizzy's family but Lizzy takes no offence to this. Chapter 30 Darcy and his cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam, come to visit their aunt, Lady Catherine, but they also visit Charlotte and Elizabeth, who are quite surprised to see them.

  1. Pride and Prejudice

    It could be argued that Mrs Bennet is saying this because she agrees strongly that her daughters should get married for security and wealth. Mrs Bennet sees marriage as being arranged or a necessity in life she calls marriage an "establishment".

  2. Pride and Prejudice

    Jane Austen uses sarcasm to highlight that the marriage is not a happy content one, and that even though she doesn't realise it, Mrs Bennet is not happy and is not loved by her husband. Mr Bennet is clever, humorous and observant, "So odd a mixture of quick parts, sarcastic

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work