Pride and Prejudice

1914 Words8 Pages
Pride and Prejudice tells a story of a young girl in the midst of a very materialistic society. Jane Austen uses the setting to dramatize the restraints women had to endure in society. As the novel develops, we see how women have to act in a way according to their gender, social class, and family lineage. Elizabeth Bennet’s sisters represent the proper societal lady while Lizzy is the rebel. Through her characters Austen shows how a women’s happiness came second to the comfort of wealth. As the plot develops, events are laid out to illustrate how true love is unattainable when women marry for intentions of wealth. Women have very specific and limited roles in a society where men are the superior. In Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen portrays Elizabeth Bennet as a heroine who reaches happiness by rebelling against the societal and gender roles of the time period. Austen’s novel follows Elizabeth Bennet ‘s struggle as she breaks these expectations of a woman.

Jane Austen introduces her characters together at the beginning to enforce the strong family ties running through Pride and Prejudice. We learn that Elizabeth Bennet is stuck in the middle of a family of five sisters whose sole purposes are to get married. Mrs. Bennet’s only job in the household is to find suitable matches for each one of her daughters. In the first couple pages of the novel we see prejudice of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet for their daughters. In responding to Mrs. Bennet’s demands for an introduction of Mr. Bingley, Mr. Bennet shows his pride in Elizabeth:

You are over-scrupulous, surely. I dare say Mr. Bingley will be glad to see you; and I will send a few lines by you to assure him of my hearty consent to his marrying whichever he chuses of the girls: though I mu...

... middle of paper ..., and plot to show how materialistic society can be. A woman marrying out of love was an idea left in the past. Surrounding Elizabeth Bennet by society’s restraints only made her more the heroine. Austen told a tale of a young lady refusing to be anything but herself, ending up being the happiest of her four sisters. Elizabeth Bennet never sacrificed her thoughts as a young woman to fit into society’s expectations. Pride and Prejudice shows how Elizabeth’s struggle is as much against herself as it is against the pressures of society or family. By standing up against society, dealing with the criticism, Lizzy not only found her self, but her true love found her.

Works Cited

Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. Pleasantville, NY: Reader's Digest Association, 1984. Print

Bloom, Harold. Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. Philadelphia: Chelsea House, 2005. Print.
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