Feminism in Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

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Feminism in Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen Jane Austen, the author of Pride and Prejudice, holds feminist views and uses the novel to show her opinions about women's issues. Pride and Prejudice is a personal essay, a statement of Jane Austen's feelings about the perfect lady, marriage, and the relationship between the sexes. Jane Austen's characters, plot, and dialogue are biased to reflect her beliefs. The biased process and importance of marriage are introduced with the first line of the book. Jane Austen writes: It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possesion of a good fortune must be in want of a wife. However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his first entering the neighborhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families that he is considered as the rightful property of some one or other of their daughters. (5) This implies that the man wants a wife and the woman is not in a place to turn him down. The man becomes her claim, and for him she fights with other women. It seems as if women are plentiful and men are rare. The man has freedom and the option to choose any girl that he wants, while the women are desperate and fight for whichever man they can get. Jane Austen points this out and shows how dependent the woman is on a man in her English society. This dependence is viewed as a necessary part of upper class England by most and was not criticized. If Jane Austen had written a book simply about English society, these sentiments would not have showed up. The fact that they are introduced and expressed again and again in Pride and Preju... ... middle of paper ... ...r woman in her society take away their free will and encourage conformity, and her main ?good? character is independent and rebels against those ideas, showing the character?s independence and creating Jane Austen?s ideal woman. This cannot be a coincidence because in this time these views are often disagreed with and are not very frequent. If Jane Austen is writing without the influences of her ideas, she would not make that choice. Harsh criticisms of English 19th century society that are very controversial at the time are not in the book to make it interesting, they have to be based upon some kind of feelings. These feelings are very deliberately placed into Pride and Prejudice in order to use the book as an indirect thesis for Jane Austen?s feminist beliefs. Works Cited: Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. Ed. R.W. Chapman. New York: Oxford UP, 1988.

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