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

Prose Study Coursework: How does Jane Austen Present Marriage and the Marriage Market in the novel Pride and Prejudice.

Extracts from this document...


Prose Study Coursework: How does Jane Austen Present Marriage and the Marriage Market in the novel Pride and Prejudice In the novel Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen presents marriage as a key part of life in the late eighteenth century, early nineteenth century. Pride and Prejudice, similar Jane Austen's other novels, is written with refined satire and with a very clear observance of human relationships. It has been said Jane Austen saw all of life through a teacup. That through the small narrow world of social interaction that she lived and wrote about, the fact there was all of human emotion and feelings and behaviour reflected. Marriage was considered the most respectable option for women in the nineteenth century England; marriage would give a woman or man status. Such concern with marriage also represented the social inferiority of women and the clear distinction between male and female roles in the society. Few professions were open for women of the genteel classes, so their social status and income were determined by whom they married. The only profession available to young ladies was that of being a governess, which meant educating the daughters of a family, but this was a job with poor working conditions and low pay. Although Jane Austen herself never married, many of her novels deal with the themes of love and marriage in general. Austen presents the importance of marriage through the characters in her novels, in the various marriages and the social intercourse their daily lives revolved around. She particularly puts across her outlook on marriage through the foremost character, Elizabeth Bennet, who is one of Jane Austen's favourite heroines and through her actions and utterances we gain an understanding of Jane Austen's own views. Austen lived in a time when views on marriage and social class in the society of nineteenth century England were very different from views in modern society. ...read more.


Mr Bennet's self-realisation comes at the end of the novel when he discovers that his lack of attention towards his family has lead to his family's near downfall. 'Let me not have the pain of seeing you unable to respect your partner in life,' Mr Bennet says when talking to Elizabeth about Darcy. The advice he is speaking is from his own experience, he has very little respect for his wife. You see his view of his marriage, unfulfilling. This is Jane Austen's example of a weak father. Austen shows that it is necessary to use good judgement to select a suitable partner; otherwise the two people will lose respect for each other. They do not have an equal partner ship. The marriage between Mr and Mrs Gardiner is totally unlike the Bennets; the Gardiners are a sensible, lively and intelligent couple. They love each other and work well together. The Gardiners enter the story at the point that Caroline Bingley's lack of these qualities is clearly demonstrated in her treatment of Jane. It is hard to believe that Mr. Gardiner is Mrs. Bennet's brother as he is so much more likeable and sensible. Elizabeth looks up to Mrs. Gardiner, not to Mrs. Bennet. What's more Mr and Mrs Gardiner are a great deal more relaxed with one another, 'My love,' says Mrs Gardiner when asking Mr Gardiner a question, which is an immediate contrast to the Bennets' calling one another 'Mr Bennet, Mrs Bennet.' It is evident the Gardiners enjoy the company of each other. 'After walking some time' within the grounds of Pemberly 'Mrs Gardiner, who, was fatigued by the exercise of the morning, found Elizabeth's arm inadequate to her support, and consequently preferred her husbands.' This shows their closeness and that they rely on each other unlike The Collins', The Bennets' and The Wickhams' marriages where there is clearly no love, simply, slight infatuation at the beginning of the marriages. ...read more.


Jane Austen presents contrasting types of marriage, reflecting the social critique of the time, which was the marriage market. Jane Austen presents the marriage market in a negative light. She especially criticises Mrs Bennet for she encourages the marriage market with her ignorant and superficial outlooks, her aim in life: marrying of her daughters. We know Jane Austen is not against marriage itself as she illustrates successful marriages within the novel however these are balanced with unsuccessful marriages. She shows the imperfections in the marriage market by the marriages that she presents in a negative way. She criticises the Bennets' as they married merely on physical attraction and when that was gone they both found them selves not liking each other, with little thought of anything else, Mr Wickham solely marrying for money, Lydia and Miss Bingley for flaunting them selves. The disastrous marriages shown in the novel are mainly based on looks and money (these being what the cattle market is based on) showing that Jane Austen does not agree with marriages based on superficial qualities. However, Jane Austen doesn't condemn Charlotte marrying for money, she respects she was getting older and needed financial security and at the time Jane Austen lived many marriages were arranged on this basis. All the same she does criticise Wickham for marrying purely for wealth. Jane Austen also criticises the Bennets' for not even thinking about their financial state. You could criticise Jane Austen seeing that her two heroines who did have happy, successful marriages did not have to make the choice between money and love. They were suitably provided with them both. Although Elizabeth and Jane did marry for the right reasons they were in relationships where each partner had similar interests, character and intelligence. I believe Jane Austen's view of a happy successful marriage is one that is based on mutual respect, esteem and gratitude, arising from a clear understanding of the other person's character and a balance between love and money and not one founded by the marriage market. ...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. Marked by a teacher

    How is marriage presented in the novel "Pride And Prejudice"?

    3 star(s)

    Austen thought that marriage should be based on love and respect for each other. She often voices her opinions through the character of Elizabeth Bennet. Both see marriages of convenience as comedic, which is why unsuccessful marriages are presented in a comedic manner throughout the novel.

  2. Discuss the relationship between marriage and money in 'Pride and Prejudice'

    again, and certainly not one of such convenience, to a man who lived in a comfortable house, had a good enough temperament and would one day inherit Longbourn. Charlotte may be criticised by the modern reader for entering into a marriage where convenience and practicality is the sole motivator, rather than love or regard.

  1. Pride and Prejudice is a novel about women who feel they have to marry ...

    Austen is being critical because society is making women be competitive when it comes to marriage. Mrs Bennet tends to want her daughters to marry rich, upper-class men: "'[Any] single man with a good fortune must be in want of a wife.'"

  2. How does Jane Austen reflect the social and historical context of her time in ...

    Miss Bingley and her friends, with a muddy skirt and shoes, "...and her petticoat; I hope you saw her petticoat, six inches deep in mud, I am absolutely certain..." Throughout the novel, Mrs Bennet displays poor-mannered and ridiculous behaviour, giving her a bad reputation with the more refined and snobbish Darcys and Bingleys.

  1. How does Jane Austen Present the role of Women in Pride and Prejudice?

    As years have gone by the understanding of fellow humans has become more prevailing and contemporary; in the present time single men or women do not see how wealthy a man/woman is or even what class he or she is.

  2. "How does Jane Austen portray marriage in her novel Pride and Prejudice?"

    him, and later on in the novel try to separate them by drawing Mr Bingley away from Netherfield to London for the winter, and uniting efforts to increase the friendship between Mr Bingley and Mr Darcy's sister, Georgiana, who has inherited a fortune.

  1. How does Jane Austen present love and marriage in " Pride and Prejudice"

    However, it is quite definite that Mr Bennet has long lived to regret ever falling for her as Jane Austen so rightly tells us. When Mr Bennet speaks to his beloved daughter Lizzie, he feelingly says to her, " My dear child, let me not have the grief of seeing you unable to respect your partner in life.

  2. How does Jane Austen present different attitudes towards marriage in the novel Pride and ...

    Each character in the novel has their own view on marriage, but they are kept the same where as Mr Darcy has different views on marriage for different people; the first one being his sister, Georgiana and Mr Wickham.

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