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Who and what are the targets of Jane Austen(TM)s satire in Pride and Prejudice(TM) and is it effective?

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Introduction

Who and what are the targets of Jane Austen's satire in 'Pride and Prejudice' and is it effective? In 'Pride and Prejudice' the main target of Austen's is satire, are the characters with money and the characters that have to prove their position because they feel they deserve respect due to their money and position. Also Jane Austen uses religious hypocrisy, snobbery and the concept of 'proper' social conduct to show her personal views of society. She didn't believe the idea that education and money resulted in intelligence. In Austen's time, religion was predominately Christian and so most people would go to church and also one of the most popular jobs then was a clergyman. At the top of the social scale were the aristocracies: they had titles, owned land and did not work. Then below them were the gentries: they inherited their fortunes and did not work. In Austen's day, women of the gentry were almost entirely dependent on men. The only employment they were likely to get was to become governess and this was not viewed as a satisfactory way of life. Most women who did not marry remained financially dependent on their male relatives, like Jane Austen. Through marriage, a woman could have her own house and enjoy some status in society. Austen ignored the Napoleonic wars raging over in France at the time because they simply didn't affect her directly, despite occasional propaganda; there was little chance that Napoleon would invade Britain. ...read more.

Middle

Mrs. Bennet is torn between revulsion for him (not because of his character, but because the house is entailed to him) and liking him as a potential husband for one of her daughters, so that the house will be entailed to them if Mr. Bennet dies. 'My cousin, Mr. Collins, who, when I am dead, may turn you all out of this house as soon as he pleases.' Mr. Collins also has the desire to do things 'properly,' the fortunate chance of him meeting Lady Catherine when life in Hunsford became vacant, resulted in a good house. He also obtained a sufficient income due to being a clergyman traditionally, as he is the second son of the family. With his good house and income he chooses to seek a wife from one of the Bennet daughters as it would prevent the family from being thrown out of the house once Mr. Bennet passes away. This displeases Austen as Mr. Collins is choosing to marry for business rather than love and soon concludes this business by proposing to Elizabeth. Elizabeth's refusal of marriage is because she simply didn't love him. 'You could not make me happy, and I am convinced that I am the last women in the world who would make you so.' (p90) Austen presents her thoughts of marriage through her main character Elizabeth. ...read more.

Conclusion

Bennet becomes extremely immature and stays in her room until the entire problem is resolved. 'Why did the Forsters ever let her go out of their sight.......... I always thought they were very unfit to have the charge of her; but I was over-ruled, as I always am.' (p.235) This quote shows how Mrs. Bennet blames every person who had any part in this and feels that she is the victim in this. When Mrs. Bennet discovers that Lydia is to get married, her ill thoughts of everything and mainly Wickham become violent forms of delight. 'This is delightful indeed!-She will be married!-I shall see her again!-She will be married at sixteen!' This quote shows Mrs. Bennet to have inappropriate behaviour as everyone else is still in shock about what has happened but she proceeds from being the worst effected to the most excited. In conclusion the novel reveals rewarding depths of comedy and irony as well as leaving us fulfilled and contented, rather than miserable and frustrated at the end. In the end Elizabeth and Darcy change and lose their pride about their positions but the satirical characters don't because they are either high up in social status or they have married financially rather than for love and so preserve their pride. I think Austen's satire is effective when using characters such Mr. Collins and his proposal to Elizabeth which brings her 'so near laughing that she could not use the short pause he allowed in any attempt to stop him farther' ?? ?? ?? ?? Sefket Birdane ...read more.

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