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Pride and Prejudice. Mr Collins proposes to both Elizabeth and Charlotte, but their reactions are very different. What does the behaviour of all three characters, during chapters 19, 20 & 22 tell us about the different attitudes to marriage in the early n

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Introduction

Natasha Kay 10W2 Pride and Prejudice Mr Collins proposes to both Elizabeth and Charlotte, but their reactions are very different. What does the behaviour of all three characters, during chapters 19, 20 & 22 tell us about the different attitudes to marriage in the early nineteenth century? In the 19th century, men were rated higher than women in society therefore when it came to marriage, once women were married all of their belongings, earnings and wealth were passed onto their husbands and in return their husbands would take care of them. Men and women back then would very rarely marry for love and happiness but otherwise mainly for money, security and to be higher up in society in some cases. Jane Austin wrote the story 'Pride and Prejudice' which deals with some of the most important aspects of adult life in the 19th century and explores the different views of marriage thoroughly throughout the book. Elizabeth Bennet is the second eldest of the five Bennet sisters and plays a vital part in the novel where she believes that marriage should be about love, equality and respect. Her view is that marriage is to be an equal partnership and a meeting of minds. She is a girl of high principles and her marriage would have been one of equality as she quotes "And if I were determined to get a rich husband, or any husband, I dare say I should adopt it" (volume 1 chapter 6 page 15) ...read more.

Middle

because he understands why Elizabeth does not want to marry Mr. Collins, cares more about his daughters happiness than their wealth and does not want to see her end up regretting her married life like he is. When Mr. Collins is rejected he refuses to abandon his decision to marry. Instead of Elizabeth, he decides to set his sights on Charlotte Lucas and asks her to marry him instead. As soon as Elizabeth found out that her best friend Charlotte was engaged to Mr. Collins, she expressed her surprise by exclaiming "Engaged to Mr Collins! My dear Charlotte, - impossible!" (volume 1 chapter 22 page 104) because she could not come to terms that Charlotte would be marrying this arrogant man. 'But Elizabeth had now recollected herself, and making a strong effort for it, was able to assure her with tolerable firmness that the prospect of their relationship was highly grateful to her, and that she wished her all imaginable happiness' which shows us she was pleased for the couple and shows her support for Charlotte by wishing her well. By doing this Elizabeth demonstrates that she will support others if they believe they will be happy despite not wanting to marry for any other reason than love and happiness herself. The character Mr Collins is a Church of England rector, who inherits Mr Bennet's estate and his patron is Lady Catherine de Bourgh (Darcy's aunt). ...read more.

Conclusion

means he is then dismissive when Elizabeth turns down his proposal assuming that she really means yes, when she is saying no and thinks that all young women react in this way initially when asked for their hand in marriage. Again, this shows us that he is pretty arrogant, doesn't take Elizabeth seriously - or any other women for that matter and thinks that he will marry Elizabeth in the end despite what she is saying. Amazingly, Mr. Collins is very fast to change mind from Elizabeth to Charlotte which tells us he has no intention of stopping until he is married and he would happily marry a woman who does not love or even like him. He barley knows Charlotte, yet he is willing to spend the rest of his life with her and he will not be grateful that she is his wife but grateful they are married because then he is seen higher in society. Although he may have said he had feelings for Elizabeth, they way he was able to move onto Charlotte so quickly also enhances our thoughts of him being selfish. By doing all of this, he is quickly showing that he only has a heart for himself therefore he will never love any woman or find true love and no woman will ever be able to love him back. ...read more.

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Response to the question

This is a good essay which successfully analyses how different attitudes to marriage in the Regency period are illustrated through the words and actions of Elizabeth, Mr. Collins and Charlotte. There is much direct reference to the text and an ...

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Response to the question

This is a good essay which successfully analyses how different attitudes to marriage in the Regency period are illustrated through the words and actions of Elizabeth, Mr. Collins and Charlotte. There is much direct reference to the text and an appreciation of the historical context of the text throughout the essay, and the candidate shows an awareness of how social mores in regard to marriage have changed throughout time. However, although the prompt mentions Charlotte, the candidate does not really discuss her or her actions in any great detail. In order to get top marks, it is important to address all areas that the question has highlighted.

Level of analysis

The level of analysis here is good, showing a good understanding of the characters of Elizabeth and Mr Collins. The candidate uses ample quotation from the text to back up his or her points and is able to draw logical conclusions. There is an appreciation of the difference in motives in regard to marriage between Elizabeth and Mr. Collins, and the candidate engages personally with the text by offering his or her own views on marriage, ‘I believe you should only marry someone if you are deeply in love with them and feel that you want to share your life with them.’ The candidate is able to contrast modern views on marriage and those of the regency period. However, although the candidate discusses the Bennets’ financial situation briefly, perhaps the candidate could have discussed in more detail how financial pressure played a role in marriages at this time, and how rebelling against this pressure made Elizabeth a very exceptional woman indeed. Although a modern reader can emphasise with her, it might improve the essay and show a deeper level of understanding if the candidate had emphasised further how unusual Elizabeth’s views on marriage were, and contrasted them with the more conformist attitudes of Charlotte (after all the question is about attitudes to marriage in the early 19th century). As mentioned above, Charlotte is not discussed in any great detail, but ought to have been.

Quality of writing

The quality of writing in this essay is good. The essay shows a clear structure and the line of thought it easy to follow as it moves through events chronologically as the happen in the book. However, the essay could benefit from a stronger conclusion summing up the arguments put forward in the essay. SPG is generally of a high standard, although there are a few mistakes here and there, e.g. ‘she try’s to be nice’. It is important to proofread your work before submission to avoid losing marks for silly mistakes such as this.


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