Social Expectations In The Bennet Society

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If there was ever an ideal family that embodied the spirit of “uncivilized free and wild thinking” it would be the Bennet family, as nearly every kin subject to their name possesses a degree of narcissism or delusion that assists in the development of each unique character. Their inability to commit to the tame and conservative concepts of social expectations during the Regency Era truly creates a dynamic novel with countless angles and situations. Specifically, Elizabeth and Lydia Bennet are two members of the Bennet family who shocked and surprised throughout the novel adding to the deeper meaning of uncovering society’s trivial and mislead views about correct social conduct with their countless acts of disobedience under a speculative eye.…show more content…
Collins’ marriage proposal. Of course, this was in the time period where women were supposed to be in complete subordination to men, and a proposal from a clergyman, who was to inherit Longbourn, was thought to be an easy decision. Although every notion that society could have given her was to say, “Yes” she ultimately stayed true to herself and what she believed. True love was meant to be in the fabric of marriage, not an individual’s bank note, however, as Mrs. Bennet so gracefully reminds her daughters and dear husband throughout the novel, money is king in the culture that society created during that era. Elizabeth Bennet is an independent character, and not one to push over when society blew its influential wind. In addition to Elizabeth’s perceived ungrateful attitude to a clergyman, she also had quite the discussion with Lady Catherine De Bourgh at the end of the novel. During the Regency Era, respect was not earned by the content of an individual’s decisions, but by how much money they had. With that being said, no…show more content…
While different than Elizabeth, Lydia still very much fills the description for a character who lives a life of “uncivilized free and wild thinking.” To begin, at the first ball in Hertfordshire, in the company of the King’s soldiers, Lydia makes a complete flirt of herself as she dances with nearly every soldier in attendance. Of course, in the standards of the 1800’s women were often told to pursue men with a sense of urgency, however, Lydia’s commitment to the company of young men was a most disagreeable way to conduct herself in public. Her love for the comfort of a partner is most clearly explained by the narrator exclaiming, “Lydia had been fortunate enough to be never without partners, which was all that they had yet learnt to care for at a ball.” (Austen, 13). Although, Mr. and Mrs. Bennet tried to contain their seemingly promiscuous daughter, Mr. Bennet realizes the frivolousness of his attempt saying, “Lydia will never be easy until she has exposed herself in some public place or other…” (Austen, 157). Undoubtedly, Lydia’s behavior is the most blatant act of social disobedience, and that behavior only amplifies throughout the novel. In addition to Lydia’s flirtatious tendencies, she also struggled with flippant purchases, wasting all of her
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