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Show how love and marriage has changed since Jane Austen’s time

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Introduction

GCSE English Literature Coursework Show how love and marriage has changed since Jane Austen's time. By close reference to some key scenes from Pride and Prejudice and the two short stories we have studied, show how ideas concerning love and marriage have changed since Jane Austen's time and how this is reflected. In the period when Jane Austen lived society was structured, society was ruled by class and wealth, marriages were based on reasons other then love. Many married to gain status or financial security. Marriage almost became an economical transaction suiting the parents of those involved. As times have changed societies structures have lessened, class is no longer perceived in as much importance. As the roles of women have changed so have the roles of marriage, financial independence and later marrying trends mean that one has more time to consider love. In Pride and Prejudice Austen looks at a very small section of society and how they deal with the concept of love. She looks specifically at the upper middle and upper classes, this is typical of many Austen novels. Through this novel Austen shows her dismay at the way in which society views love and marriage. ...read more.

Middle

But is also a rare occurrence within the novel as only two of the many relationships are based on love, this and Jane and Mr. Bingley. At this point Darcy and Elizabeth have only known each other for a few months, and don't really know each other that well. As the plot continues Darcy learns to separate Elizabeth from her family and Elizabeth discovers the real Darcy, not just the web of lies that Wickham had spun. In the second proposal scene the situation is very different, it is a very informal and almost unspoken agreement, just an understanding between the two characters. In this scene they discuss their feelings for one another and the changes that occurred for them to be able to reach this point. "I have been a selfish being all my life...Such I was from eight to eight and twenty; and such I might still have been but for you, dearest, loveliest Elizabeth!" From these examples of relationship only in one novel, many have different views on love and marriage. Although pre-nineteenth century society had a greater hold on the day to day lives of many people, our heroine shows that these can be broken. ...read more.

Conclusion

Although financial security counts for less then in Pride and Prejudice Lynn's mother says, "Graham's very good to you, and he's got a job, and of course there's the house. You really have struck gold there." Bev faces completely different circumstances then Elizabeth and Lynn. She has to work in a burger bar for her own upkeep, she lives in a filthy bedsit in a very closed world. She wouldn't be able to afford to redecorate the way Lynn and Graham do or go visiting people all across the country in the way the Bennet sisters do. Through these stories the authors are trying to put across their own points of view, Austen is ridiculing the upper and middle classes for their frivolous and trite reasons for marriage. Geras is challenging stereotypes through Lynn's character, working against the need to accept or compromise our own choices. Burford address the prejudices that reign in our society, she also teaches us independence through the character of Bev. My own view is that although society has lessened its grip on our lives, we still follow the expectations and conform to what is anticipated. We still judge others based on fortune, gender or race. Human nature compels us to stay part of a group, we feel the need to belong and don't want to be unconventional. ...read more.

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