Mr. Collins first comes to town because he is entailed to receive Mr. Bennet's estate and he believes the best way "of atonement" for the unfairness of the entailment is to marry one of the Bennet daughters (Austen 47). His chief reason for wanting to marry reinforces the first line of the book when the reader learns that "having now a good house and a very sufficient income, he intended to marry" (Austen 53). After finding out that the first Bennet daughter is suggested to be on the way to another engagement, Mr. Collins quickly moves on to the second daughter, Elizabeth, to gain his wife and make amends for the unfairness of the atonement. In his proposal, there are none of the romantic ideas that the present reader may associate with an engagement. Instead, Mr. Collins calmly states his reasons for wanting to marry, as it is the right thing for a clergyman to do, that his patroness Lady Catherine de Bourgh desires him to do so, and pertaining to the entail...
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...Prejudice shows not only the prevailing attitudes regarding the time Austen lived in, but also the impact of money on love and marriage. Although the novel was written almost two hundred years ago, it suggests a great deal about the ideas that have helped to shape modern ideals for a spouse. The idea of marrying among one's own class and the advantages of marrying well are still present in society today, although it is believed to have of less importance. Maybe this was true, the phrase "It is just as easy to fall in love with a poor man as it is to fall in love with a rich one" would not still be commonly known. Perhaps the timelessness of Austen's novel Pride and Prejudice is directly related to the timelessness of the ideas that if one marries, it will never hurt to marry well.
Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. New York: Bantam Books, 1981.
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