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Pride and Prejudice

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Introduction

English Literature Coursework: Pre- 1914 Prose - "Pride and Prejudice" "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife." In the 19th century women had many more restrictions than they do today. They had little choice but to obey men, and they had little money or property that could be kept in their name. Women generally had to marry, or be looked after by a male relative, otherwise they would have no money or house. Because of this, marriages often occurred for security and material goods instead of for love. Women, during Jane Austin's life, were expected to get married - this was the main goal in their lives. Once they were married their main goal was to produce a male heir, or to get secure a 'good' marriage for any daughters. They had very mundane lives, which were alleviated by social activities. The social activates themselves were centred on finding a partner or falling in love; depending on which came first. The majority of women were very frivolous and trivial; clothes and looking good was the main object of everyday life, as this would help them to find the best partner possible. They had a very passive role and formal restrictions on what they could do; they had to be formally introduced by a male, normally a father or brother before they could converse with anybody they didn't already know. Love and marriage is the main theme throughout Pride and Prejudice, as well as Jane Austen's other books. The other major occurring themes in the book are; pride and prejudice, class, reputation, family and individual and society. Satire and irony is used to put across the different themes to the reader, and to show different characters views on the themes, and the way they react to them throughout the book. ...read more.

Middle

she is going to marry, "it is better to know as little as possible of the person with whom you pass your life with". Once she gets married to Mr Collins, she copes by persuading him to stay out of the house as much as possible, and by having her own parlour to spend time in, so she doesn't have to spend too much time with him. Most of the quotes concerning charlottes marriage, such as "Miss Lucas, who accepted him solely from the pure disinterest desire of an establishment", are focused on material things such as houses, money and security instead of love. Jane Austen realised the need for all of these things, and uses Charlotte to portray the other side of marriage, where material goods are important to live happily (letter to her niece on the 13th march 1817), "Single women have a dreadful propensity for being poor - which is one strong argument in favour of Matrimony", people that marry for money shouldn't be looked down upon as it is their choice in life. This marriage was a typical type of marriage in Austen's day, but it was not a good example. Charlotte is used as an accessory for Mr Collins, and Mr Collins is used by Charlotte to gain security and material possessions. However, "everything was settled between them to the satisfaction of both" and they were both content with the match. "Miss Lucas' scheme" and "Mr Collins design" ensured that they both got what they wanted out of the marriage. The most important marriage in Pride and Prejudice is Elizabeth and Darcy's marriage. Both Lizzy and Darcy had to change and learn throughout the book to get to the marriage at the end. When Darcy is first seen he is extremely rude, obnoxious, and uncomfortable in society; despite the fact that he is extremely rich and handsome, Jane Austen has manipulated us to believe, as Lizzy does, that he is horrible. ...read more.

Conclusion

This could be because she didn't have much experience in happy marriages so she didn't know how to portray one within her story. She also uses satire and irony to express her views, especially when she is writing about men. This is because she didn't know a lot about men and their way of expressing their feelings. There are also no scenes with just men, as she didn't know what they did when they were on their own, and she was not sure how they conversed. Darcy, in particular, finds it difficult to express his feelings. There could be two reasons for this: one is that it is his character to find it difficult to open up to people, and the other is that Austen found it difficult to articulate a men's point of view. Societies view on marriage during Jane Austen's time would have reflected Lady Catherine de Boughs views, Mrs Bennet's views, and Mr Collins' views. Lizzy and Darcy represent Austen's view of marriage, and how her modern day views contradicted the society that she lived in. Lydia is used to show the worst possible idea of marriage. The audience in the 19th century would have been fully aware of the shame that Lydia would have brought upon herself and her actions by her elopement and marriage to Wickham. Elizabeth's disagreement and anger at Lydia was meant to enforce the idea that her view on marriage was the correct one. The audience responded to Austen's writing because marriage was a main theme during her era; not everybody would achieve a happy marriage, but reading about the best and the worst of marriages would be of interest. People are always interested in things that will never happen to them, and things they never want to happen to them. Austen used this to write about the different classes and characters views on marriage. Nothing can compare to the misery of being bound without Love, bound to one and preferring another." ?? ?? ?? ?? English Coursework Rowan Poulter 10X1 03/06/2008 ...read more.

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