The opening sentence of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ tells is the main theme
of the entire novel, marriage. ‘It is a truth universally
acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must
be in want of a wife.’
The novel is based upon the theme of marriage, finding a potential
husband who has ‘sufficient funds’. Jane, Elizabeth, Lydia, Kitty and
Mary all wish to find themselves husbands so that they can be married
off to a man who has a large annual wage and also a large inheritance.
In the days of when ‘Pride and Prejudice’ was set (in the 1800s),
inheritance and yearly wage were very important factors which women
looked for in a man as they longed for financial security for when
they were older. The girls in the novel, had to marry because if they
didn’t have any brothers, their fortune and estate could be lost to a
male blood relative, leaving them homeless and penniless. Therefore
marriage was a very important factor in their lives and also in this
novel. Jane Austen wanted her book to portray normal life, with normal
people, so it was essential that she included marriage in her novel.
Although, this is what Jane Austen tells us that most men want a wife
once they have a large financial status, Mr Darcey is an exception to
this rule which Jane Austen has created. Obviously, the rule is an
exaggeration, but this may be how it seems to her, that all men want a
wife. Mr Darcey does not have a wife, yet he seems content and doesn’t
seem to be searching for a wife. This may be that Mr Darcey does not
want a wife from a lower social class than his, as we find out lat...
... middle of paper ...
... insight of the life of a woman living in the times of Jane Austen. We
understand that all men are in want of a wife, that as soon as a man
enters the neighbourhood, the mothers and young girls are all looking
to visit him so that they can see if he would be a suitable husband.
They can see how much money he has, which seems to be a very important
factor. We also find out that if you wish to be taken seriously you
must have a man to visit the ‘future husband’ so that the women of the
family can simply visit him. Everything is very formal in these days,
and I feel that the first chapter helps the reader to understand the
time of when the novel is set.
Overall I feel that the opening chapter of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ by
Jane Austen, effectively introduces the reader to the central
characters and concerns of the novel.
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