Romance Versus Security.
"It is universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a
good fortune, must be in want of a wife."
These are the words of Jane Austen, and like many people of her time,
she believed very much in the importance of finding a wealthy husband
for young women.
Jane Austen's novel reflects the importance of marriage to many people
around 1775. Although events such as the industrial revolution were
sweeping the country, these were ignored and the life of a few middle
class families in a country village were depicted. Marriage at this
time was a way of securing a happy livelihood and relative happiness;
love was not really a factor, marriage was a source of financial
security. Being more of a convenience than a romantic affair. However
this was beginning to become a factor as traditions slowly changed
around this period. Still many women married to their advantage; there
was still a very rigid class system although a new middle class was
beginning to emerge. The alternative was life as a governess, which
was not one of great social status. Jane Austen believed that marriage
"The only honourable provision for well educated young woman of small
This wasn't a romantic union; it was a contract.
A character that does value the importance of marriage for her
daughters is Mrs. Bennet.
" The business of her life was to get her daughters married."
This is because her current home, Longbourn estate, is entailed to a
cousin Mr. Collins. This means when Mr. Bennet dies Mr. Collins is
heir and the Bennet sisters wou...
... middle of paper ...
...ffer of your hand in any possible
way that would have tempted me to accept it."
There is a rather ironic link that both men that propose are the only
two men on earth Elizabeth wouldn't dream of marrying. This is a great
show of strength and courage. With a mother such as Mrs. Bennet it
would be difficult to find any one who would be happy to take on such
a family connection and Darcy makes it clear that to marry Elizabeth
would be a "degradation" but nothing will deter him.
The two marriage proposals are very different and very different
outcomes; whether Elizabeth was foolhardy to decline two or not is
debatable, but it is true to say she shows great independence
considering her financial insecurity and social status. In turning
down these proposals, was she ruining her chances of ever having a
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