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Referring to two or more brief extracts from the novel, examine Jane Austen's approach to the theme of relationships between men and women within the social and historical context of her times.

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Introduction

Marie-Alice Buckland Referring to two or more brief extracts from the novel, examine Jane Austen's approach to the theme of relationships between men and women within the social and historical context of her times. "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife." In Jane Austen's novel, Pride and Prejudice the story revolves around efforts of Mr. and especially Mrs. Bennett, to find rich husbands for their five dowerless daughters. Elizabeth and Jane both achieve lasting happiness with their partners - Darcy and Bingley, after a series of misjudgments, misunderstandings and obstacles. Indeed the heroine's (Elizabeth's) tumultuous relationship with Darcy forms the bulk of the novel, and the focal point of interest for the reader while Jane's relationship with Bingley adds variety and interest to the novel. Elizabeth's and Darcy's relationship is filled with trials and tribulations, misjudgments and prejudice, eventually ending in a union of two complementary characters. ...read more.

Middle

When Elizabeth meets Wickham, she is immediately won over by his appearance and suave charm, and is whole-heartedly inclined to believe his every word, simply because his "very countenance may vouch for [his] being amiable", and "there was truth in his looks". This rash inclination results in her being even more convinced of Darcy's unworthiness of character. In spite of the fact that Wickham sullies Darcy's family in front of a comparative stranger, after declaring himself "determined to honor the late Mr. Darcy's reputation, and that he purposely avoids Darcy at the Netherfield ball, after stating staunchly that he is not afraid of meeting Darcy, and would fear no confrontation with him, Elizabeth sees no reason to doubt him. Her rash inclinations to Wickham justify his mercenary pursuit of Mary King, even as she condemns Bingley for abandoning Jane for the socially advantageous Georgina Darcy. She discredits Bingley's opinion of Darcy and Miss Bingley's warning against Wickham, and refuses to temper her first impressions with any objectivity, even after Jane, who sees only good in everyone, has confessed, "I am sorry to say Mr. ...read more.

Conclusion

inclinations of affection for Bingley beneath her prudent judgment and distance, such that his affection is not encouraged, but is crushed, and any prospect of marriage seems impossible. It is only after Elizabeth has revealed to Darcy her sister's feelings that Jane realizes her own fault in his leaving her: "he really loved me, and nothing but a persuasion of my being indifferent, would have prevented his coming down again." Thus, Jane's excessive prudence and caution would have ruined her lasting happiness had not Elizabeth revealed her affection. Bingley, on the other hand, is not hampered by excessive prudent judgment in his following his inclinations and courting Jane, and it is his active approach in wooing Jane which eventually ends in a joyous marriage. Through these two contrasting relationships, Jane Austen has skillfully drawn the fine line between too much judgment, because a rash, prejudiced approach towards feelings and suspicions, showing that a delicate balance of objective neutrality and strength of feeling under the appropriate circumstances must be demonstrated, in order to nurture any relationship, and to ensure its success. ...read more.

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