In Pride and Prejudice, the class of an individual plays a significant role in their treatment by others. Jane Austen presents the reader with a subtle hierarchy in which a character such as Mr. Darcy represents a much higher level of wealth than the Bennets. Instead of following all forms of class, Miss. Austen reflects primarily on the rural elite that consists of landowners. Within the upper-class there are differences such as wealth or the overall snobbishness of an individual as seen through the character, Lady Catherine de Bourgh. These upper-class differences can be noted when talking about the characters Mr. Darcy, and the Bennet family. However, even with these slight variations between the upper-class, Miss. Austen depicts class as having little effect on an individual’s behaviour through Elizabeth’s apparent rejection of social norms. Elizabeth’s refusal of social norms can be noted when she decides to walk to Mr. Darcy’s instead of taking a carriage, or her other means of antagonizing the upper class through forms of satire. Elizabeth’s rejection of societies’ norms through satire and her refusal to accept the gender specific roles put on her by society is a clear sign that Miss. Austen disagrees with the social structure and believes that it should have little meaning within society, and love.
Elizabeth’s rejection of class values was one of the key points towards Austen’s rejection of the existing class system. This is because Elizabeth breaks down all of the major concepts that her family and friends hold dear through satire. Some of the concepts that Elizabeth argues against include that a woman is meant to stay clean and beautiful at all times, whereas Elizabe...
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...y their desires, or denying her gender specific roles is a clear sign that Austen disapproves of the existing class system. Miss. Austen’s depiction of society as being one geared towards the wealthy, while keeping genders in an unequal light is nothing but a mockery of the social system and everything it stands for through her use of Elizabeth to question and distort the norms portrayed. Not only does Miss. Austen question societies current standing, but Charlotte Bronte does as well. Having both Austen, and Bronte question a social structure of the same time period is enough evidence to determine that more people than one may think would have rejected the social norms. Miss. Austen’s apparent objection to society is only further illustrated within her novel, Pride and Prejudice, with Elizabeth Bennet as her central character for refusing the social norms of society.
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