Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice explores the English social standards during the early 1800's. It shows the emphasis on marriage, or, namely, whom you marry. This story consists of three marriages. The first is socially based, the second is based on mutual admiration between two people, and the third represents one man's love and fight for a woman. This novel shows how marriage and love can arrest or improve social status and how love overcomes adversity.
The first marriage is that of the youngest Bennet, Miss Lydia. She is imprudent and spontaneous. On a trip to the home of her aunt and uncle, she elopes with Mr. Wickham, a militia man. Mr. Wickham has no intention of marrying her. This is a tragic social step. It is thought that the real motive for this elopement is not of love. To this Mrs. Gardiner then says, "It is really too great a violation of decency, honor, and interest, for him to be guilty of it" (Austen 375). Only a few chapters later, Mr. Wickham is persuaded financially to marry Miss Bennet. Neither has any way of supporting the intemperate lives they live. These two extravagant young people do not, however, end happily. Mr. Bennet refuses to see his daughter after her marriage. Despite the financial help occasionally given by Jane Bingley and Elizabeth Darcy, they are rarely invited to see their family, as they often overstay their welcome. In the final chapter it is said, ". . . His affections for her soon sunk into indifference; hers lasted a little longer"(Austen 520). This marriage based entirely on an attraction between a good-looking, charming man and an impetuous, stupid girl of sixteen resulted in a poor social appearance and exclusion from many close f...
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... society will be improved, but when love is found for society, society will fail the lovers.
Auerbach, Nina. "Waiting Together: Pride and Prejudice." Pride and Prejudice. By Jane Austen. Ed. Donald Gray. New York: Norton and Co., 1993. pp. 336-348.
Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. 1813. Ed. Donald Gray. New York: Norton and Co., 1993.
Harding, D. W. "Regulated Hatred: An Aspect in the Work of Jane Austen." Pride and Prejudice. By Jane Austen. Ed. Donald Gray. New York: Norton and Co., 1993. pp. 291-295.
Johnson, Claudia L. "Pride and Prejudice and the Pursuit of Happiness." Pride and Prejudice. By Jane Austen. Ed. Donald Gray. New York: Norton and Co., 1993. pp. 367-376.
Mudrick, Marvin."Irony as Discovery in Pride and Prejudice." Pride and Prejudice. By Jane Austen. Ed. Donald Gray. New York: Norton and Co., 1993. pp. 295-303.
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