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What is there to admire and sympathise with in Elizabeth Bennet for the modern reader?

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Introduction

What is there to admire and sympathise with in Elizabeth Bennet for the modern reader? Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice was first published between 1813 and 1817 and tells the story of the Bennet family and primarily their daughter, Elizabeth. The modern reader may not be able to sympathise with Elizabeth, as the world she lives in is completely different to today's society. Today, women have totally different roles within the community. However, there are some things that Elizabeth goes through in which her emotions can still be applied to situations today. For example, when we are first introduced to Mr Darcy's character, both the reader and the characters in the novel take an instant dislike to him. This scenario is very common in today's modern society where people make judgements on first impressions. In some cases Elizabeth's emotions are universal. Therefore, although the modern reader is from a completely different society, there are certain aspects of Elizabeth's character that can be admired and sympathised with. One facet to be admired in Elizabeth is her down-to-earth spirit. Throughout the novel, Austen portrays Elizabeth as a woman not as accomplished and perfect as society would like her to be. ...read more.

Middle

Admitting that you are wrong is something that people generally find challenging, and so the fact that Elizabeth can do it so easily is something to be admired. We see her realise how prejudiced she has been against Darcy when she says 'She grew absolutely ashamed of herself... feeling that she had been blind, partial, prejudiced, absurd.' Austen uses the idea of Elizabeth, and other characters throughout the novel, being proud and prejudiced as a basis of the novel. When Elizabeth realises and regrets making these assumptions, Austen is again contrasting her to other characters in similar situations to her. The fact that Elizabeth is the first one to realise that Mr Darcy is not the man that everyone presumes him to be shows that she is not like the others and has better judgement than the other women in the novel. We can sympathise with Elizabeth and the rest of the Bennet family as they are in a very precarious financial situation. Their estate is entailed and so the Bennet daughter's need to get married to suitable heirs to ensure their father's estate is rightfully inherited. This pressure to marry off the sisters is apparent throughout the novel, especially from her mother, for example when her father says 'Your mother will never speak to you again if you do not marry Mr Collins.' ...read more.

Conclusion

Elizabeth also urges Darcy to 'conceal the unhappy truth as long as it is possible.' This situation has also upset Mr Bennet in such a way that he blames himself for the present unhappy state of the family. This also has an impact on the other Bennet sisters, for example when he tells Kitty that 'no officer is to ever enter my house again.' In today's society it is common place for couples to live together without being married, but there are still many cases where for perhaps religious or cultural reasons families may not accept the choice of partner made by their children. This situation still causes conflict in many families of today. Throughout the novel, Austen provides the reader with plenty of opportunity to sympathise with Elizabeth Bennet. Austen shows Elizabeth as a respectable, intelligent woman who would be an excellent role model for women in today's still predominantly male-dominated society. Despite to the fact that she didn't have a governess, her natural intelligence is very high and this shows that even without wealth one can be well educated and go on to great things. She is inspirational for the modern reader because her character shows that class does not have to limit your aspirations in life. Elizabeth's characteristics make her a very good head-strong and admirable woman for the modern reader. Kate Thompson ...read more.

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