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With closereference to two episodes from Persuasion, explore Austen's attitudes tomarriage

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Introduction

With close reference to two episodes from Persuasion, explore Austen's attitudes to marriage In Persuasion, marriage is one of the major themes of the novel, and Austen's attitudes towards marriage are present in chapter four of the novel. The first episode in which we can examine Austen's attitudes to marriage is in chapter four. In chapter four we must notice that there is no direct speech, which shows that all of the narration is Austen, with her views and opinions being presented to us. When talking of Mr. Wentworth, Austen says " He was a remarkably fine young man, with a great deal of intelligence, spirit and brilliancy" and of Anne "an extremely pretty girl, with gentleness, modesty, taste and feeling." In a novel so concerned with wealth and status we must notice that Austen makes no comment concerning the wealth of either. Austen says of Anne and Wentworth that "they were gradually acquainted, and when acquainted, rapidly and deeply in love." It would seem that Austen is implying that in English society you must either gain wealth or love from a marriage, as very rarely were both love and wealth gained. ...read more.

Middle

She sends her to make 'good connections', which shows how well she understands English society." This concept can be applied to marriage in Persuasion, as 'She' can be seen as Lady Russell who acts as Anne's mother, offering her continual opinions on men. From this, we can detect that Austen's attitudes to marriage overlap in many of her novels. The theme of marriages based solely upon class and wealth could also be seen as a criticism of English society at the time on Austen's part who, it would seem, does believe in love, seeming to understand the concept of romance when writing "rapidly and deeply in love." In Claire Tomalin's 'Jane Austen, a life', Tomalin offers her opinion on marriages in Austen's novels; "The question of how much control a woman had over her own life was one to ponder during that year of weddings and engagements. Money, money, money. Again. There was no freedom for a woman without it, married or unmarried." This view can explain why many characters hold the opinion that marriages are only respectable when they involve wealth as it offers the woman "freedom." Perhaps the reason for Austen not always being concerned with social class and wealth stems from the fact that she never married. ...read more.

Conclusion

This impression is given by the tone in which Mrs. Musgrove speaks, which helps to shape our opinion of marriages based on class and wealth. In conclusion, in Persuasion, relationships have to end on the affirmation of dignity and marriage presents to us a just and moral ending so that Persuasion is not a novel of corruption. In the novel, marriage directly compares social ranks in society. Individuals, classes and titles are measured and weighed in the consideration of marriage. In finality, Austen uses marriage in the novel as a social yardstick to measure and compare the characters in the novel. Austen's tone is condemning when talking of marriages based on money, which on one hand shows her recognition of romance and sentimentalism but on the other can be seen as her bitterness for never finding love and marrying. For a novelist so concerned with the theme of marriage, it would seem that Austen believes in love with marriage being the just way to display affection. Austen's condemning tone towards marriages based on class and wealth could be Austen recognising that marriage is not the only important thing in life. Austen would have had time to contemplate this, being so close to the end of her own life and realising that her life was complete without marrying. 1,252 Becky Harris ...read more.

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