Marriage: A Cover for the Reality Patriarchy Essay

Marriage: A Cover for the Reality Patriarchy Essay

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To marry for money and not love is frowned upon as a social norm, but is also seen as an opportunity for women to rise in the social hierarchy. Though, love is to be the reason why bonds like marriage exist. Being a woman in the nineteenth century limits social advancement and makes it seem impossible without wealth, a background of family fortune, or matrimony to a man labeled high class. Emma Woodhouse, from the novel Emma written by Jane Austen, defines what it means to seek stature through marriage and how couples can aid in contexts such as social groups. Austen clearly covers social groups in her novel, but making the novels focal point circumvent around Emma. We look beyond how class enables opportunity for women and see just how much power a woman has until she gives in to the social pressures to marry. A first glance at the novel and it is clear that marriage grants woman a place in this misconstrued hierarchy of society, but when you allow a magnifying glass over the text you see how women of a high class actually have as much power as men before marrying and how woman of low class are subjected to the burdening pressure to conform. This notion suggests that the choices a woman makes in marriage can either break her or make her even stronger. Many match ups are made in this novel, but the focus is around Emma. Emma is so high in her social conventions before she marries, that she has the preponderance of the novel to speak and think of the world around her. It is only till after she intends to marry that an entire chapter is allowing a focal shift from Emma to her future husband, Mr. Knightly. Together this couple is the most powerful, but Emma had such wealth before she was even joined in matrimony. The privileges that...


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...e the Elton’s everywhere.
The majority of women seek high stature through marriage, but woman are ultimately defined by their wealth. If a low class woman wants to have any kind of life outside of obedient servitude than she is pressured into marrying and if a woman of high class wants to marry she will be giving up some of her authority to stay submissive to her husband which will fuel the patriarchal societal ways. The gender norms in the nineteenth century were contorted to benefit the men more than the woman and only place the burden of social pressures on woman. Jane Austen's Emma goes beyond a simple love story that ends with three marriages; instead she leaves the readers wondering if these marriages will continue after their so called happy wedding day.























Works Cited

Austen, Jane. Emma New York: Penguin 1816

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