Essay on Mr. and Mrs. Bennet's Parenting in Pride and Prejudice

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Analysis of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet's Parenting in Pride and Prejudice

The roles of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet in Jane Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice are contrasted between a father who cares about what’s inside of people and a mother who only worries about vanity and appearance. Mr. and Mrs. Bennet’s parental guidance is unique to their personalities. Because of their two opposing personas, Mr. and Mrs. Bennet’s ideas of marriage are contradictory for their daughters; Mr. Bennet believes in a loving respectful marriage whereas Mrs. Bennet values a marriage which concerns wealth and social status. Their aspirations for Lydia, Jane, Mary, Kitty and Elizabeth mirror their conflicting ideologies. Mr. Bennet seems to have a quiet deep love for his daughters while, on the contrary, Mrs. Bennet’s love is over-acted and conditional. Both parents help to shape their daughters’ characteristics and beliefs: Lydia reflecting Mrs. Bennet’s flighty and excessive behavior while Elizabeth inherits Mr. Bennet’s pensive and reflective temperament. Looking past their dissimilar personality traits and contradicting convictions, both parents hold the family together and play an integral role in the household structure.

The constant topic among the majority of the women in the Bennet household was marriage and future suitors. Mrs. Bennet prides in the hope that someday all her daughters will be married off to wealthy individuals who can even help support the Bennet family and increase their social status: “The business of her life was to get her daughters married...” (9). Mr. Bennet, on the other hand, only cares to see his daughters happy and content with themselves. Although Mr. and Mrs. Bennet’s estate is endowed to Mr. Collins, Mr. Benn...

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...igued with the raptures of his wife” (9). Their children provide them with companions as well as people to take their sides. Mr. and Mrs. Bennet’s relationship revolves around their children because without them, they would have an impossible time living alone together.

When evaluating Mr. and Mrs. Bennet’s role in the family structure, they both provide insight into the origins of their daughters’ personalities. Mr. and Mrs. Bennet both play integral parts in their children’s lives; they give or attempt to give them guidance in marriage, in happiness, and in love. Whether it’s Mrs. Bennet expressing her over-bearing love or Mr. Bennet giving Elizabeth some well-needed advice, they both aim to help their daughters using their inborn parental love.

Works Cited:

Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. Ed. Donald Gray. New York: WW Norton &. Company, 1996.

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