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

What does Jane Austen’s ‘The Three Sisters’ show us about the lives of women in the 19th Century?

Extracts from this document...


Jane Austen Coursework Winter 2001 What does Jane Austen's 'The Three Sisters' show us about the lives of women in the 19th Century? Jane Austen's 'The Three Sisters' was written in the nineteenth century. At this time life was dominated by society and a women's desire for the company of a man in marriage. This was seen as a competition between a family and others in society. A woman's life revolved around reading and socialising, and with no education, life was very quiet. This meant that a man was a way of conceit to others in the social order, and would create a whole new context to her life. Love was very rare because of this. If a man were to marry a woman it would be as if she were a trophy and a symbol of his manlihood. From a woman's perspective, she would have no choice who she was to marry for it would be up to her parent's to decide. This decision would be based on the man's wealth and status in society. Jane Austen uses the three sisters in the story as a way of reflecting life at the time and uses it to rebel against the way of life. Jane Austen was very much against women's stereotypical lifestyle. Austen's views are portrayed mainly through the character of Georgiana. Georgiana stood for a change in the way society worked, so that men were the not totally domineering over the women, and so women had some freedom in expression and choice. ...read more.


This could be an excuse to hide her desperateness to getting married. The only things that are important to her are the physical objects that she will be given by Mr Watts after marriage, and how her status will be affected. This is finalised in the last line of the letter: 'if he will promise to have the carriage ordered as I like, I will have him, if not he may ride in it himself for me' (Mary, page 2, letter 1) This attitude causes the reader to think of Mary negatively, as she is only thinking recklessly about her future. Mary, being the link to how women's society worked, shows that the way of life was careless and self possessed, with no respect for love and the future. In Mary's second letter, we can learn a lot more about her relationship with her mother. The letter focuses on the situation of Mary's sisters marrying before her, and how her mother contributes to her decisions. Mary's character develops subtly on her uncertainty on the matter. Her competitive side shows more throughout this letter as she becomes more frustrated and confused. We can see this from Mary's short sentences of speech when speaking to her mother, whose speech is much lengthier and in greater detail. The inclusion of dialogue allows us greater insight into each character, and how they act around others. Throughout the letter Mary's mother shows desperateness and egotism towards the outcome of the marriage: "I am not going to force you child, but you only want to know ...read more.


Her defiance of society is why the story was written, so she could express her feelings to others. Also Austen writes of The Dutton's in the story, not to represent her defiance, but to represent the main cause of the way society acts. They are in the story as a way of Austen showing why people like Mary and her mother are so interested in marriage. The reason is to compete with other families in society such as the Duttons, to get married first and be noticed and respected in society. Mr Brudenell is much like Mr Darcy in pride and Prejudice. He is included in the story as Austen's representation of her ideal man, with Georgiana being Austen herself. This is shown especially when the sisters meet him for the first time. Mr Brudenell is opposed to Mary's attitude and merely ignores her. This can also be seen as Mary being society in general, with Mr Brudenell also opposing it. Through 'The Three Sisters' we can learn a lot about women and their roles in the nineteenth century. The focus on how women are lead to marriage by material possession and not through emotion is effectively shown throughout the story and how status in society is the cause. Austen is able to achieve her aim of showing that society revolves around status and that her ideals should be part of society. Although the story did not greatly affect people thoughts in the nineteenth century, it did mean that others like Austen could demonstrate their feelings on society. ?? ?? ?? ?? Ed Francis 28/04/2007 JA Essay ...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. From a reading of Jane Austens Short stories, What do we learn about ...

    Though throughout her short stories Jane Austen hardly mentioned anything about poor women and a particularly important topic she didn't mention as well was the Napoleonic war which was going on at the time. She only wrote about her 'own world' and ignored most of society at large.

  2. Examine the way in which both Austen and Shakespeare present a spirited female lead.

    This is shown particularly in the very measured amount of respect that Elizabeth shows for the decorum that surrounds herself and Darcy and which contrasts heavily with her much more relaxed attitude. This means that Elizabeth is seen as a very spirited character both by those characters within the book and also by its readers.

  1. Discuss Jane Austen’s methods of portraying the character of Mr. Darcy in Pride And ...

    he had been promised, preferring to accept from Darcy, three thousand pounds. When the money ran out, he returned to demand that Darcy present him with the living. When Darcy refused, Wickham showed nothing but bitterness. Worst of all, Wickham tried to seduce and elope with Darcy's younger sister, who was only fifteen at the time.

  2. Pride and Prejudice what factors influenced marriage and relationships in the early 19th century?

    An example of couples marrying for love and companionship are Jane and Bingley, they are so compatible because they are kind, gentle and both have a sweet temper. Jane expresses her affections by saying 'He is just what a young man ought to be,' 'Sensible, good humoured, lively; and I never saw such happy manners!

  1. Exploring 19th century attitudes towards marriage and courtship in pride and prejudice and comparing ...

    But in fact Elizabeth refuses his proposal because she felt they were ill qualified for each other; also she wouldn't have been happy living with Mr Collins because he wasn't marrying her much for love but for reputation. Mrs Bennet's reaction to this was demanding because she got so stressed

  2. Titanic- A Survivors Story

    As I neared the end tears filled my eyes and I broke down. Was I ready for such a big move? Emily moved over to my bed to comfort me. She reached for the letter and read it aloud. "To my dearest daughter, I love you with all of my heart and always will do.

  1. Class in Victorian Society.

    This is expressed most in the pages of Vincent Gilmore but Vincent Gilmore has more to say than just marriage arrangements. During Gilmore's chapter, Collins once again refers to Anne Cathericks stay in sir Percival's asylum and even offers Sir Percival's explanation.

  2. pride and prejudice /womens role in 19th century

    Elizabeth's father dies and inheriting the fortune" the fact is that being as I am to inherit his estate after the death of your honoured father" His thoughts about his being a desirable husband are crushed when Elizabeth refuses his hand in marriage.

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