Gender Stereotypes in "Pride and Prejudice"
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The paper discusses how the novel "Pride and Prejudice" was a commentary of its time, and although by today's standards the women seem old-fashioned and suppressed, there is evidence to support claims that Austen broke free of some gender stereotypes in her work. The paper relates that the fact that Austen wrote at all was a breach of convention and furthermore, she stepped into the territory of satire that was considered the exclusive domain of male writers. The paper looks at the characters of Mr. and Mrs. Bennett and addresses Mrs. Bennett's hope that her daughters marry well. The paper also looks at the character of Elizabeth, or Lizzie, who is the most spirited of the Bennett daughters and most favored by her father. The paper points out that Austen's use of laughter so frequently throughout her novel speaks to the author's desire to break free from stereotypical constraints dictating what a woman could and could not write.
From the Paper:"The fact that Austen wrote at all was a breach of convention. She wrote at a time "when English society associated a female's entrance into the public sphere with a reprehensible loss of femininity" (SparkNotes). During her lifetime, only Austen's family was aware that she was a writer; writing for publication was something that ladies did not do. Not only did Austen write, she stepped into territory that was considered the exclusive domain of male writers: satire. Wylie writes "The overt lesson of Austen's satire is that male supremacy is no joke but rather a force to be reckoned with..." (62)
"Interpreted at face value, the character of Mrs. Bennett is foolish and shallow. When the reader meets her on the first page of the novel, she eagerly tells her husband about a well-to-do new neighbor whom she hopes will marry one of their daughters. Mrs. Bennett is keen to pay a visit on Bingley. Mr. Bennett dismisses her bemusedly by telling her "You and the girls may go..." (2). He is both granting his permission and absolving himself of any responsibility for helping his daughters fulfill society's expectation that they find husbands. He tells Mrs. Bennett he gives his consent to Bingley for marrying "whichever he chooses of the girls" (n.p.). It does not matter; the girls are easily interchangeable, though Bennett concedes Elizabeth "has something more of quickness than her sisters" (n.p.)."
Sample of Sources Used:
- Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. Amazon: Kindle Edition. n.d.
- Carr, Jean Ferguson. "The Polemics of Incomprehension: Mother and Daughter in Pride andPrejudice. Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism. Ed. Russel Whitaker Vol. 150. Detroit: Gale, 2005.
- Casal, Elvira. "Laughing at Mr. Darcy: Wit and Sexuality in Pride and Prejudice." Persuasions: The Jane Austen Journal 22.1 (2001). Web. 13 Apr. 2011.
- Salbert, Cecilia. "'Excuse My Interference': Meddling in Pride and Prejudice. Persuasions: The Jane Austen Journal 21.2 (2000). Web. 13 Apr. 2011.
- SparkNotes Editors. "SparkNote on Pride and Prejudice." SparkNotes.com. SparkNotes LLC. 2007. Web. 13 Apr. 2011.
Cite this Analytical Essay:
Gender Stereotypes in "Pride and Prejudice" (2013, May 29) Retrieved January 17, 2020, from https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/gender-stereotypes-in-pride-and-prejudice-153412/
"Gender Stereotypes in "Pride and Prejudice"" 29 May 2013. Web. 17 January. 2020. <https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/gender-stereotypes-in-pride-and-prejudice-153412/>