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Referring to the relationship between Mr and Mrs Bennet and between Mr Collins and Charlotte Lucas, what positive and negative aspects of marriage does Jane Austen present in the novel?

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´╗┐Perlie Mong Referring to the relationship between Mr and Mrs Bennet and between Mr Collins and Charlotte Lucas, what positive and negative aspects of marriage does Jane Austen present in the novel? In both marriages, the couples did not marry for love, with the women marrying for financial security while Mr Bennet married for physical attraction and Mr Collins married for convenience. There are both positive and negative aspects in the two marriages. The first positive aspect is that women can gain financial security. In that society, if a woman did not marry well, she was very likely to live in relative poverty after the death of her father, working as a governess or becoming a burden on her family, a situation that Charlotte was facing, which we can see from her thought in chapter 22 ?Marriage had always been her object; it was the only honourable provision for well-educated young women of small fortune.? By marrying Mr Collins, not only has she gained financial security, she also has a boost in both her social and family status. In terms of social status, she changes from an ageing spinster to the wife of a rector with the additional advantage of the link with Lady Catherine, as Elizabeth says in chapter 32, ?In prudential light, it is certainly a very good match ...read more.


In chapter 2 she singles Lydia out by saying, ?Lydia, my love, though you are the youngest, I dare say Mr Bingley will dance with you in the next ball.? Charlotte is expecting Mr Collins? baby in the end of the novel. This gives her a purpose in life as she is going to become a mother. In fact, being a mother gives Mrs Bennet her purpose in life too, which we can see from the fact that her life is quite centred around her children. In chapter 1, it is made clear that ?the business of her life was to get her daughter married.? But there are also negative aspects of marriages not based on love. Firstly, both couples seem incompatible to each other, which results in unhappiness. Mr Bennet, who married because of Mrs Bennet?s physical charm, is clearly dissatisfied in his marriage, which we can see in chapter 42, ?Her weak understanding and illiberal mind had very early in their marriage put an end to all real affection for her.? Mrs Bennet does not seem to be happy in the marriage either as Mr Bennet is constantly mocking her, as she complains in chapter 1, ?You take delight in vexing me. ...read more.


Moreover, the less intelligent partner is not likely to be a good parent because of his/her lack of sense, leading to the children being lack of sense. Mrs Bennet is a good example of this, as Elizabeth describes in chapter 37, ?her mother, with manners so far from right herself, was entirely insensible of the evil,? explaining why Kitty and Lydia are ignorant, idle and vain. Mr Bennet, on the other hand, is so disillusioned by the marriage that he becomes very cynical and cannot be bothered to correct the inappropriate behaviours of his younger daughters, as described in chapter 37, ?Mr Bennet, contented with laughing at them, would never exert himself to restrain the wild giddiness of his wife and younger daughters.? This not only causes embarrassment to Jane and Elizabeth, which is clearly demonstrated in the Netherfield Ball, but also leads to Lydia eloping later in the novel which brings huge shame to the family. In conclusion, Jane Austen presents both positive and negative aspects of marriage through the relationship between Mr and Mrs Bennet and between Mr Collins and Charlotte. The main positive aspects is the gaining of financial security for women and the prospects of the children; the main negative aspects is the unhappiness due to incompatibility and the negative impact on the children. Word Count: 1296 ...read more.

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