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The paper closely examines some of the various representations of marriage in "Pride and Prejudice", in order to show how its author, Jane Austen, uses the theme of marriage as a vehicle to explore and critique the repressed social and economic status of women of her time. The paper uses the expedient marriage of Charlotte Lucas to Mr. Collins as an example of how Austen highlights the economic insecurities facing women of a certain age in Regency society. The paper explores whether Austen's novel was intentionally limited to topics such as marriage because it was the only accessible form of self-definition for young ladies in her society, and focuses on Jane's marriage to Mr. Bingley to illustrate this point. Finally, the paper highlights the marriage of Elizabeth to Mr. Darcy and questions whether the fairy-tale conclusion of Austen's novel simply accommodates social expectations or rather constitutes a new promise of hope for women at the turn of the nineteenth century.
From the Paper:"Given the poor education and limited employment options available to women during Austen's time the only possibility of security for financially dependant women was the prospect of finding a marriage partner. Not to succeed in the marriage market place was to fail in the most urgent of female missions, as winning a husband was essential if a young lady wished to occupy a fully respectable position in society. The motive for marriage as financial necessity is expressed most clearly in Pride and Prejudice through the character Charlotte Lucas. Aged twenty-seven, without "having ever been handsome"(1995:113), without an especially large 'portion' and with no great expectations "I ask only a comfortable home;" (1995:115) she rationalises her decision to marry Mr. Collins "solely from the pure and disinterested desire of an establishment."(1995:113)"
Sample of Sources Used:
- Auerbach, N. Communities of Women: An idea in fiction Harvard University Press: Massachusetts 1986
- Austen, J. Jane Austen's Letters Edited by Dierdre Le Faye Oxford University Press: Oxford 1995
- Austen, J. Pride and Prejudice Penguin Books: London 1995
- Black, J. and Macraild, M. Nineteenth-Century Britain Palgrave Macmillan: Hampshire 2003
- Bloom, H. Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice Chelsea House Publishers: New York 1987
Cite this Analytical Essay:
Representations of Marriage in "Pride and Prejudice" (2009, December 06) Retrieved February 24, 2020, from https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/representations-of-marriage-in-pride-and-prejudice-117502/
"Representations of Marriage in "Pride and Prejudice"" 06 December 2009. Web. 24 February. 2020. <https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/representations-of-marriage-in-pride-and-prejudice-117502/>