Literary Theory In Pride And Prejudice

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Literary theory is a new way of looking at everything surrounding us. It frees society from what enslaves it. This essay will elaborate upon how literary theory has enabled readers to have a different notion of the texts they read and their surroundings. I will use the works of Rolland Barthes, The Death of the Author (1967) and Bakhtin, Discourse in the Novel (1975) and feminism more specifically Simone de Beauvoir and part of her book The second Sex (1949) where she talks about woman being the other to support my claim and also with examples from Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (1813) and The God Of Small Things (1997) of Arundhati Roy. Firstly Rolland Barthes (The death of the Author; 1967) is against the method of reading and criticizing relying…show more content…
Patriarchy comes first in Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Women in nineteenth century were presented as second citizens. A woman was known only for her beauty or by her father’s name and not for her talents and intelligence. In fact women were considered as foolish and insensible. For instance in the first chapter of Pride and Prejudice, Mr. Bennet insults women by saying that his daughters apart from Lizzy “are all silly and ignorant like the other girls”. Austen here makes a statement about women and their intelligence. Women themselves show willingness and acceptance of the patriarchal values. They do not resist and acknowledge the belief that men are superior and this is clearly shown in Pride and Prejudice when women accept their fate. At surface reading Mrs. Bennet could be seen as a hypochondriac women but literary theory has suggested that women were seen as inferior and always complaining. It can also be said that women are good only to make others laugh and in this way Austen is dehumanizing…show more content…
For instance, Mrs. Bennet is determined to get her five daughters married. From the very first line of the novel itself, Austen makes a statement about marriage. “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife”. By merely reading, readers may not pay attention to this generalisation made by Austen. It can be interpreted as women being always ready for marriage and have no other priorities than to get married. According to De Beauvoir women’s inferiority is the result of the difference in the upbringing of both men and women. Women are socialized in a particular way to think that they are inferior to men. It is man who has the power to control the lives of women. A woman in the nineteenth century needed to be submissive, shy and docile as these are the characteristics needed for marriage so that the woman does not have to remain a
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