In her work Sense and Sensibility Jane Austen is closely looking at the injustice done to women, and she is especially rejecting the idea of Marriage for money rather than love. Austen also did not agree that women should depend on men for economic-financial protection, thus as not to look kindly on patriarchy and the merging of interests of the upper class and middle class. Convenience marriage was common. Women were deprived of the freedom to earn or inherit money. So marriage for them was a safety net which will save them from a life of poverty and despair; thus, women felt that the only way to achieve social fulfilment was to compete on the marriage market, where Men were the buyers; women were the sellers.
The women in Sense and Sensibility were more interested in obtaining a husband due to financial difficulties than that of a good education. Gender stereotypes are seen throughout this novel, as educational success was only deemed important for the more superior men. Social orders reflect the differences in social class and gender. We see Austen use the economic position of women to show the powerlessness they had which underlies the pressure of marriage and the vulnerability
If you were go back in time to England in the early 1800s, you would find that the people lived by dramatically different rules than our modern standards. While people’s priorities were debatably similar, it seemed that all of the humane and emotional aspects of life were valued much less than the monetary problems and status issues. A good example of these weighted values can be found in Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice”. The novel tells a story of love and drama that follows the romantic and emotional development of a family with 5 young girls. When some young and wealthy “bachelors” arrive in the neighborhood, a journey of confusion, corruption, but most of all, love, ensues.
The author tells about how young people leave their families for a wealthy man/woman, marriage is the goal. “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” (Austen, 5) Pride and Prejudice is a courtship between Darcy and Elizabeth; this novel is one of the most honorable love stories in the English language. In this love story they have to overcome many obstacles just as any normal couple would. Elizabeth has pride that makes her miss judge Darcy on their first time meeting, but Darcy’s prejudice which makes him misjudge Elizabeth because of her poor society standings.
This is the opening line of Pride and Prejudice; a romance novel written by Jane Austen and published on the 28th of January 1813 by an anonymous author – the same pseudonymous that she had previously used to publish Sense and Sensibility -. Jane Austen was born in 1775 in England (Stevenson, Hampshire) and it is thought that by the age of 16 had already written many different novels, even though it was not until 1811 when she was able to publish her first novel.
Your lively talents would place you in the greatest danger in an unequal marriage’ let me not have the grief of seeing you unable to respect your partner in life. (Austen, p. 385) Arguably, in contrast to his usual sardonic tone, Austen’s eloquent choice of choice of syntax arrangement delivered a sincere disclosure from Mr Bennet; the realisation and admission of his unequal marriage. Alternatively Austen may be suggesting how a ‘lively’ atypical nineteenth century woman like Elizabeth, ‘may take liberties with her husband’ (Tuite, p. 121) In the context of an unequal marriage, Austen explores parental obligation and responsibility as a concern. Elizabeth Bennet has recognised ‘the disadvantages which must attend the children of so unsuitable marriage’ Mr Bennet fails to exert his ‘talents which rightly used might have preserved the respectability of his daughters’ or enlarged ‘the mind of his wife’ (Austen, 1984)
Disregarding one’s affection in conflict of needing security within marriage is further presented in “A single man of large fortune, four or five thousand a year. What a fine thing for our girls!” as the exclamation and delighted tone portrayed exemplifies utilitarian purposes in seeking marriage. Weldon reinforces the practical value governing marriages in Austen’s context in the quote “women lived well by their husbands favour”, expressed through a condescending tone. This creates emphasis on the large dependency women held to their male counterparts, further highlighting the difficulty women faced within their marriages.
During the 19th century, marriage was generally based on social standards and materialistic commodities rather than sentimental attraction. Pride and Prejudice is a novel that analyzes women and their contradicting attitudes towards marriage. Charlotte Lucas is a character that believes happiness is not a necessity as long as she is financially stable. Similarly, Jane Bennet is practical about her economic state while still recognizing the value of true love. In contrast, Lydia Bennet is young, immature and blinded by the idea of being admired.
Essentially, marriage in the 1700’s was seen merely as a means of birthing heirs and finding a way to financially support yourself, so it resulted in both men and women being devalued. It is universally known that women were often treated as inept and helpless rather than sophisticated people with autonomy and capabilities. In fact, during this time, “married women were consistently compared with minor children and the insane-- both categories of people considered incapable of caring for themselves. To marry a woman was, in one sense, to ‘adopt’ her-- or at least to adopt responsibility for all the circumstances of life with which she entered the marriage” (Teachman 39). Furthermore, when women got married, they would legally cease to exist.
In Jane Austen’s novel, Sense and Sensibility she discusses feminism through the challenges women may face in marriage. Austen’s portrayal of her characters Elinor and Marianne demonstrate the struggles and pressures women face. These challenges can be seen through primogeniture, Elinor and Marianne’s approach to love and marriage, and a man’s ability to ruin or help women. The familial succession of assets typically went to the first-born son or the next male heir. In the case of John Dashwood, he inherited Norland estate after the death of his father leaving his half-sisters and stepmother “to quit the neighborhood Norland” and move to a small cottage in Devonshire.
In the Victorian era, women were forced to marry, as they needed the security of a man. However, Austen uses logos to question the real inequality in the Victorian era’s ideology, that a woman is incomplete without a man. This allows the reader to analyse the state of society from a different perspective. Austen also starts her sentence with an assertive tone further supported with her firm word choices, through using the words, ‘…truth universally acknowledged’. These words are important in her building ethos allowing her to deliver her controversial message.
Society and Marriage 2. Mistress or Wife 3. Wealth, Power and Equality: from Governess to Heiress 1. Society and Marriage - Victorian period: marrying out of interest with no regards for affection. Brontë exploits this issue in “Jane Eyre” by showing this darker side of society through the enigmatic Edward Rochester and his lustful family.
Does “Pride and Prejudice” written by Jane Austen, reinforce or erode sexist stereotypes of women? The story was written in the nineteenth century, an era when men and women had a structured stereotypical role. There is no erode sexist, however, reinforce sexist is present. Women had a very specific role in society and their status was based mainly on the family’s fortune.
A couple of lucky white collar class ladies may be bolstered by a father, sibling, or other relative, however for most working class and in addition common laborers ladies marriage was a monetary need. Lawful tenets, social practices, and financial structures all cooperated to prompt a lady to wed, and after that guaranteed that once wedded she would be reliant upon and devoted to her significant other. Such was the state of ladies as Hardy seen in his general public. As Shanley discloses marriage seemed to be, indeed, a social trap by methods for which a lady wound up noticeably reliant on her significant other. As a realist he needed to uncover the different impediments set on ladies by the patriarchal society to keep them in repression.
Jane Austen lived in a period at the turn from the eighteenth century to the nineteenth century, which was a period of mixed thoughts, which conflicted all the times. Among all the conflicts, the most important one was the disparity in social status between men and women. Not only men’s status was in the center of the society but also common people thought it was right that men were much more important than women were. In those days girls were neither allowed nor expected to study much because they did not have to work for a living. They were supposed to stay at home and look beautiful in order to get suitable husbands.