Essay on Marriage By Jane Austen And Charles Dickens

Essay on Marriage By Jane Austen And Charles Dickens

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"You know what I am going to say. I love you (Dickens 1)." In modern day times, marriage proposals are seen as the epitome of love as demonstrated by the beginning of this proposal by Dickens; however, during the early 1800 's, the majority of people married for social reasons rather than love. These differing purposes are made evident in the proposals made in classic novels written by Jane Austen and Charles Dickens. Comparing these two proposals shows the development of marriage during the 1800s from a social device to an emotional and loving act through the different arguments, attitudes, assumptions, and diction both men use in addressing the woman as well as the effect it produced.
The first proposal from Jane Austen 's Pride and Prejudice demonstrates the use of marriage as mainly a method to further one 's social standing regardless of the love involved. Throughout the proposal, Mr. Collins has weak and ineffective arguments, incorrect assumptions, a pompous and degrading attitude, and unorganized and flustered diction. Mr. Collins begins his proposal poorly when he lists his "reasons for marrying (Austen 1)." He states it is his duty to set an example as a clergyman, marriage will make him happy, and lastly, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, his patroness, believes he should marry. This exemplifies marriage as solely a social device because Mr. Collins is only proposing because he feels obligated to satisfy what society and Lady Catherine expect of him. Even his assumptions have social aspects to them. Mr. Colin 's assumes that because of his connection to Lady Catherine women will want to marry him to enhance their social status; however, that is assuming the woman he is proposing to knows of Lady Catherine and would value her ...


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...s. The differing arguments, assumptions, attitudes, and diction used by the men in these two novels demonstrate the shift in social views of marriage. While Mr. Collins’s proposal from Austen’s novel embodies the belief of marriage as a social device, the proposal in Dickens’s novel embodies the romantic and more modern view of marriage as the intimate and passionate action it is. “You know what I am going to say. I love you. What other men may mean when they use this expression, I cannot tell; what / mean is that I am under the influence of some tremendous attraction which I have resisted in vain and which overmasters me (Dickens 1-5).” The man in Dickens’s classic proved this statement to be sincere through his arguments, attitudes, assumptions, and diction used throughout the proposal while all Mr. Collins proved was his dedication to Lady Catherine and society.

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