Jane Austen is known for her never ending satirical criticism towards England’s social stratification in “Pride and Prejudice” along with her other works. We see the difficulties Elizabeth Bennet faces with the marriage system and her social class rank that was faced by women all over the world. Elizabeth Bennet’s personality complexity breaks the women stereotype in this novel, showing how independent and logical they could be. “Pride and Prejudice” is a reflection of gender oppression and social roles influenced by Jane Austen’s life during eighteenth century England.
England, under James 1st rule was a vastly altered period compared to our now modern society. So many of the values held during this time, have now been discarded and forgotten. Jane Austen grew up in the Romantic period and experienced a world which was divided, whether through education, class, status, fashion, abilities, gender and etiquette. Her novel, Pride and Prejudice is counted as one of the great classics of English Literature. Austen engrosses readers to live in her world for a time and experience a society filled with matchmaking, romance, marriage and gossip. Every one of her characters is so distinctive and has a clearly outlined caricature. Each of their diverse values conveys a different thinking of the time. Pride and Prejudice is preoccupied with the gentry and most of the social aspects which consumed these people’s lives. There were so many expectations of how you would behave in public, but of course not all of these were upheld. Elizabeth Bennet, Mr Darcy, Mrs Bennet and Charlotte Lucas are four characters which keep such strong beliefs about the social norms. These characters are expressed so descriptively and through their personalities readers can learn just how the numerous social standards were received.
“He is a gentleman, and I am a gentleman 's daughter. So far we are equal” (Austen 51). Jane Austen was an acute observer of the Georgian era society that she lived in, through her observations, she began to notice many flaws, especially in the treatment of women. With her love of writing and social awareness, Austen decided to combine both together to create some of the most famous works of literature. As seen in Austen’s novel, Pride and Prejudice and others, Austen uses realism, an upper class voice, and an ironic tone to deliver her underlying message of feminism to the gentry of the Georgian era.
Jane Austen’s novel is commanded by women; Pride and Prejudice explores the expectations of women in a society that is set at the turn of the 19th century. Throughout the plot, Austen’s female characters are all influenced by their peers, pressures from their family, and their own desires. The social struggle of men and women is seen throughout the novel. Characters, like Elizabeth, are examples of females not acting as proper as women were supposed to, while other women like Mrs. Bennett allow themselves to be controlled by men and society. Mr. Collins is a representation of the struggles males deal with in a novel dominated by women. The theme of marriage is prominent during Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Marriage can be examined in different ways due to Mrs. Bennet’s commitment to finding her daughters husbands, the male parallelism of marriage to their female spouses, and Elizabeth’s nontraditional approach to looking for love.
Concepts of femininity in eighteenth-century England guided many young women, forging their paths for a supposed happy future. However, these set concepts and resulting ideas of happiness were not universal and did not pertain to every English woman, as seen in Jane Austen’s novel, Pride and Prejudice. The novel follows the Bennet sisters on their quest for marriage, with much of it focusing on the two oldest sisters, Jane and Elizabeth. By the end, three women – Jane, Elizabeth, and Elizabeth’s friend, Charlotte Lucas – are married. However, these three women differ greatly in their following of feminine concepts, as well as their attitude towards marriage. Austen foils Jane, Charlotte, and Elizabeth’s personas and their pursuits of love, demonstrating that both submission and deviance from the rigid eighteenth-century concepts of femininity can lead to their own individualized happiness.
It takes a creative imagination for a women of the 21st century to realize what their life would have been if they were born 150 years ago. In today’s society, almost any woman could have the career of their dream if they apply themselves. They can choose to marry or not to marry, or choose whether they want children or not; Women have the option to be independent individuals. However, in the 19th century none of those were choices for women. Women weren’t allowed high educations or careers, they had to marry men for social and economic purposes, have children and be housewives. The women of Hamlet and Pride and Prejudice appear to have no exception; both texts show women to be dependent because of their gender, birthright and social class.
Even after its publication in 1813 Jane’s Austen’s romantic and wonderfully written masterpiece, Pride and Prejudice, remains an absolute joy to read for thousands and thousands of readers across the globe. The 19th century novel enchants the youngest of readers to the wisest of souls. Many individuals all over the world, very much like us as university students here at Villanova, are quite intrigued by the amazingly created characters, impressively dynamic portrayal of an oppressively class-bound culture, and the vitality of a strong woman at the center of the novel. Jane Austen presents the reader with the most tantalizing and illustrious opening sentence, which enamors the reader and never lets go. "It is a truth universally acknowledged,
The romantic era in literature was characterized by many different authors, male and female. Jane Austen was only one of many authors in that era, and one of the longest lasting; through her many novels, she shows various views on love and marriage. In Jane Austen’s critically acclaimed novel, Pride and Prejudice, Austen spares no character, male or female, in her criticism of the understood custom that the only route to happiness was marriage.
In Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennet’s journey to love and marriage is the focal point of the narrative. But, the lesser known source of richness in Austen’s writing comes from her complex themes the well-developed minor characters. A closer examination of Charlotte Lucas, Elizabeth’s dear friend in Pride and Prejudice, shows that while she did not take up a large amount of space in the narrative, her impact was great. Charlotte’s unfortunate circumstances in the marriage market make her a foil to Elizabeth, who has the power of choice and refusal when it comes to deciding who will be her husband. By focusing on Charlotte’s age and lack of beauty, Austen emphasizes how ridiculous and cruel marriage can be in this time.
Jane Austen knowingly stated the problems in society with a particular emphasis on the harshness of the culture towards women. During her time little girls were raised being taught about the dire circumstances of a woman who did not marry well. Little girls were taught to be multi-lingual, artistic, cultured, musically inclined, and other inconsequential skills. These skills were required to make a good match for a wealthy man, which was their only goal in life. This is furthermore expressed, as Sheehan states , “Familial aspirations, coupled with women’s increased dependence on marriage for financial survival, made courtship a central focus of women’s lives” (n.pag.). Society was entirely driven by marriage. Jane Austen noticed this profound truth in the surrounding culture. She wrote what she observed, and Pride and Prejudice is a direct result.