Patriarchal Family And Social Structure In Jane Austen's Mansfield Park

862 Words4 Pages
Although Jane Austen’s novel, “Mansfield Park” reflects capitalist, patriarchal family and social structures of the Elizabethan Era in which she wrote, with the father as the authority of the home and women with no right to possession of property, Austen has through the use of this novel, posed a challenge to these common practices. The domination of women was already ingrain in a world that was male conquered, ever since the beginning of time, even before capitalism, which features class division among its people. In a patriarchal society men are seen as the dominant fixture over women in all aspects of social life. Jane Austen “Mansfield Park” was written in a period historians term as “Regency England” (1811-20). The family and social structure during this period was highly patriarchal. The father of the family was also the head of the family, this was so, because in that period women were strip of all rights to owe any form of property and were financially dependent on their husbands, hence the urgency and anxiety throughout the novel for the ladies to get married to rich young men.
Marriage in the novel determines where one stand in society and where you are on the social ladder. In the start of the narrative we are told of the three sisters Miss Ward, Miss Frances and Miss Maria whose marriages either catapulted them in the higher society. Miss Maria marries the wealthy Sir Thomas Bertram of Mansfield Park and becomes upper class; Miss Frances marries a lieutenant
Open Document