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Society's Constraints in Pride and Prejudice.

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Introduction

Society's Constraints in Pride and Prejudice Mara Gomes Jane Austen has much to say about the society in which she lives, and where her characters live. Charlotte Lucas and Mr. Collins are two characters who demonstrate, through their actions and outlook on life, the social and educational constraints of their society that prevent them from making their way in the world. Social constraints play an important role in the life of women in this society. Not only do women have to marry, but also marry someone who is of their social class. A "poor" marriage, that is one to a different class, can ruin the reputation of the whole family. ...read more.

Middle

Without a suitable marriage, the Bennett girls will not be able to count reputation or wealth as their blessings. Charlotte's choice to marry Mr. Collins also reveals how little education young women of this time receive; girls are educated in proper, "cultured" behavior, and perhaps some literature...nothing more. This lack of a real education leaves women few options as far as a profession, other than a governess. If a woman cannot earn a living, the only other option is marriage. Lack of education also leads to another problem: without knowledge, a woman cannot forge her own path, and make her own way in the world. In this time period, men are expected to be educated, charming, and handsome; however, women are only there to look pretty and please their husbands. ...read more.

Conclusion

Mr. Collins's marriage also shows how it is virtually impossible, even more an educated man like Mr. Collins, to make his own way in the world outside of marriage. In this society, marriage is the only way to become greater. Mr. Collins may have been educated, but in choosing to become a member of the clergy, he still needs to find someone to marry. His landlady, Lady Catherine, is of good social standing and pressures him to find a wife. This proves that for men, even education cannot totally make them respectable in society; a respectable marriage is the ideal. As one can see, the lives of characters in Pride and Prejudice are dominated by social constraints, which inhibit their ability to forge their own path in the world. ...read more.

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