Pride and Prejudice
The Role of Letters in Pride and Prejudice
During the Regency society, letters were extremely essential as they were the only method to send information to someone. This meant that letters were used frequently and became heightened in the use of novels. Jane Austen’s novel, ‘Pride and Prejudice’, was written during this period which is why the usage of letters are so critical. Austen uses these letters in ‘Pride and Prejudice’ to show relationships between her characters and develop the characters’ personalities. Letters are useful since a characters reactions to the information from the letters are not fake since when they are reading, the sender is not with them. Also, with the use of letters, news can be delivered from far away. Additionally, information can also be easily deferred to suit the novel’s purpose. Overall, letter writing became an indispensable form of communicate. Jane Austen’s epistolary novel includes written messages from one character to another. Such epistolary novels can add greater realism to a story as it mimics the workings of real life. In ‘Pride and Prejudice,’ epistolary also allows for character development and advancement in plot.
Throughout the novel, Jane writes letters when she is in distress and needs advice. Specifically, when Jane falls ill at Netherfield and also when she cannot see Mr. Bingley in London and fears that he is deliberately avoiding her. She also writes to Elizabeth explaining the details and her reaction to Lydia’s unforseen elopement. In the letter she exclaims, “shall I own that I long for your return?” (Austin 190). This demonstrates that although Jane is the elder sister and should be the more responsible, she views Lizzy as someone who is reliable and is able to help her; someone of equal place. Jane’s letters give a greater understanding of her character compared to her dialogue as she does not say much to reveal any of her qualities.
Caroline Bingley is seen manipulating people both when conversing and through her letters, especially to Jane. She invites Jane to Netherfield, in order to befriend her yet she tries to damage the relationship of her brother and Jane, in her letter informing Jane that they parted to London. She writes, “my brother admires her greatly” (Austin 84) to attempt to convince Jane that Mr. Bingley was uninterested in her. Her motives in these letters show that Caroline does not consider Jane to be a friend nor as an equal status. Jane’s reaction is also important since she is very saddened by these letters thus suggesting that she either viewed Caroline as a true friend or wanted to in the future.
One assertion that can be made about Mr. Darcy is that he struggles when expressing any emotion or sentiment. Darcy’s first letter, which is to his sister, gives is composed with such upmost care that it shows intricacies of his character. Such as being arrogant and snobbish. (Letters as Literary Devices in Pride and Prejudice 4). Another of Darcy’s letter which was to Elizabeth explained his prejudiced actions is the most important and impactful letter in the novel as well as the pivotal point in the novel where both the audience’s and Lizzy’s perceptions are changed. HIs thoughts needed to be written because in order for Elizabeth to change her opinions so thoroughly on Darcy and Wickham she needed to be able to reread the letter to. The letter is also almost an argumentative essay in which Darcy clearly explains his motives and explanations for why he had behaved so badly because he realizes that Elizabeth, while a romantic, is a creature of logic and reason and would have to accept what he wrote, as long as it was true.
Elizabeth, the primary protagonist in the novel does not write a single quoted letter, although she is mentioned writing or thinking about writing letters several times. This is probably because as we see her thoughts most often,either directly or through free indirect speech, and Austen feels that we do not need further insights into Elizabeth’s character. Also, another role of letters in ‘Pride and Prejudice’ is to advance the plot and introduce new information to the story. As the reader sees mostly from Lizzy’s viewpoint or from a viewpoint that is biased towards her opinions, showing one of Lizzy’s letters would only be retelling what has already happened.
Austen uses Mr. Collins’ first letter to the Bennets to introduce him to the readers and to inform the reader of his character. The letter also introduces several important plot elements to the novel such as the fact that Longbourn had been entailed away from the Bennet sisters and also Collins’ visit to Longbourn. His two letters later use how they feel about Lydia’s elopement to portray how society feels about it and the rumours of Darcy’s proposal to Elizabeth. Mr. Collins writes his first letter to introduce himself to the Bennets. However he doesn’t succeed in the way he probably had hoped to. Mrs. Bennet is the only person who is impressed, though more in an amused matter, while the rest of the Bennet family are all seen to immediately dislike him. The other letters sent to the Bennet family are sent to advise them even though it rebukes them. However, the Bennet sisters react to these letters with contempt, finding that they were ill judged and unsympathetic. Mr. Collins’ letters give an extremely different and unusual view on the novels events and are useful reference points for how those outside of the Bennet family may view the events in ‘Pride and as well as advancing the plot.
Elizabeth, the primary protagonist in the novel does not write a single quoted letter, although she is mentioned writing or thinking about writing letters several times. This is probably because as we see her thoughts most often,either directly or through free indirect speech, and Austen feels that we do not need further insights into Elizabeth’s character. Also, another role of letters in ‘Pride and Prejudice’ is to advance the plot and introduce new information to the story. As the reader sees mostly from Lizzy’s viewpoint or from a viewpoint that is biased towards her opinions, showing one of Lizzy’s letters would only be retelling what has already happened.
Austen uses letters in ‘Pride and Prejudice’ to show many things including character interaction and to advance the plot. The significance of letters in the novel is shown by how many important moments in the book are instigated or explained in a letter. These include the letter that tells of Lydia’s elopement and the letter from Mr. Collins to Mr. Bennet foreshadowing Elizabeth’s engagement. Letters were just how news and gossip spread in Regency society. However, the letter from Mr. Darcy to Elizabeth was the most important letter because it completely changes the direction of the novel and is the first step to Elizabeth growing to love Darcy.
Critic Hannah Fulford agrees with the idea that letters present an intimate observation of a character’s thoughts without the author’s comments intervening. This way the audience can create their own idea of the characters and events. The author also claims that these letters provide drama of anticipation since they are always followed by some sort of action which indicates a new direction in the plot. The author also claims that the letters are meant to show the reader that what seem to be insignificant information is actually the things that would shape someone which is supported when Elizabeth is informed that Lydia runs away with Wickham in a letter from Jane. This information from the letter moves the story from London to Longbourn and acts as a turning point.
Prejudice and Discrimination Problems in to Kill a Mockingbird, I Have a Dream, and Letter From a Birmingham Jail
America was founded on July 4, 1776. We celebrate this holiday known as, “the 4th of July”, or as “Independence Day”, every year. The Continental Congress declared that the thirteen American colonies were no longer subject to the monarch of Britain and were now free. This resulted in the Declaration of Independence signed on this day. This document included the unalienable rights; Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. This concept has been true for most people, but not all. Native Americans, African Americans, and other immigrant groups have experienced discrimination expressed in many ways. Novels, speeches, letters, and more have pinpointed not only this problem, but other types of prejudice within the world.
First, “To Kill A Mockingbird” by Harper Lee is a novel written about prejudice in the 1960s. The novel includes many messages, such as discrimination and judgement. The main message of the novel is people should not be judged according to their race, religion, what/who they are, and more, but should be judged on their actions and conduct. For example, “Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corncribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” (page 117). In other words, innocent people are destroyed by evil. Boo Radley is an example of a mockingbird. He’s mistaken as a “monster” and does not harm anyone, but shows acts of generosity. Boo leaves Jem presents, covers Scout with a blanket during the house fire, and eventually saves the children from Bob Ewell’s attack.
Next, messages about discrimination appear in speeches. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was an American Baptist minister and became a major leader in the Civil Rights Movement. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote a world famous speech, “I Have a Dream”, published in 1963. To summarize, the speech called for jobs, freedom, economic rights, and an end to racism in the United States. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke for a large number of immigrant and racial groups. For example, “We will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.” (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.). Martin Luther King was saying that those who are being prejudiced will fight for their rights until they experience justice in their everyday lives. Martin Luther King’s, “I Have A Dream”, speech was not his only approach at certain rights for immigrants and racial groups.
Also, messages about discrimination and prejudice appear in letters. An example is, “Letter from the Birmingham Jail”, written by Martin Luther King Jr. in 1963. To summarize, King argues that he and his fellow demonstrations have a job to fight for peace and justice. King includes four steps of nonviolent protest: fact finding, negotiation, self-purification, and direct action. The letter includes, “Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” (Martin Luther King Jr.). King is pointing out that freedom is to be fought for. It is not just given by those who hold power or authority, so we need to take it ourselves.
The messages expressed in these three forms of literature still appear in today’s society. Everywhere we look we see differences in wealth, status, power, and more. There is often unfair treatment towards individuals or certain groups. For instance, people assume that someone who is physically disabled, is also mentally disabled. Today, job wage inequalities occur. On average, men earn more than women. Some corporations hire women, but do not advance them to higher positions. Stereotyping occurs in our society today more than anything. Examples are, “All powerful women are single and lonely”, “All Muslims are terrorists”, “All White people are racist”, “All African Americans are poor”, and more.
In conclusion, speeches, novels, letters, and other forms of literature can address prejudice and discrimination problems within our society. In order to prevent this, it is important to take a stand and acknowledge this problem more. Other ways to reduce this problem would be to bring awareness and gain public support. By making others aware, the problem becomes more recognized and shamed upon or avoided.
The Connection Between Video Games And Jane Austen Novel Pride And Prejudice
A variety of authors wrote a selection of books for reading over the ages. But now these great books rarely get looked upon by young adults largely due to the perception that most of the authors were monotonous. The author is not having any fault in this; it is vital that young adults nurture a reading habit through active means. Traditionally, information was communicated through written books, but a sharp decline in the reading of these novels has come with the advent of other active forms of entertainment. This shift can be attributed to the introduction of video-games such as Stride and Prejudice, which permanently incorporate visual and imaginative elements in one dimension and thereby disable the reading of stories, which may seem time-consuming and uninteresting to many persons. This document pursues an establishment of a connection between video games and literature to determine how these two different methods of information transmission can be brought together to appeal to the digital population. It will be based on the book, Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen, which tells the tale of Elizabeth Bennet, the heroine.
The video game Stride and Prejudice is based on Austen’s novel and incorporates actual passages from the book. When players engage in this video game, they get to read parts of the book and therefore gain in the form of active and passive entertainment. Vogt asked Carla Engelbrecht Fisher, who designed Stride & Prejudice, the reason that she created the game Fisher responded that she saw the gateway app to be beneficial for novel-readers and gamers. Most people who frequently play the game would never think to pick up the book and read suddenly find themselves reading the book while enjoying the game.
Hopefully, the players would play enough of the game to read a sufficient amount of the story that would peak the gamers interest actually to read the novel or to continue deeper into the game to get more of the novel.Statement of the ProblemHence, by demonstrating connections between the novel Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and the video game Stride and Prejudice, this prospect will suggest feasible ways of improving people’s access to novels and video games. Rich Motoko writes in his article, Using Video Games as Bait to Hook Readers, that making video games from novels to get a young person to read is to find a different way of getting them to read. By using video games made from novels, one is getting more to read. Video games set in motion the desire to read the book to find out what really happens.
Prejudice As a Human Trait & Its Transition in Society
In this essay we are identifying prejudice as a human trait and how it has transitioned in society and manifests itself in various walks of life. Prejudice is one of the more well-known albeit less understood aspects of human nature and it has been observed or studied since the early 20th century. With due regard to its complexity certain character traits of prejudiced individuals are outlined which help us understand the concepts of categorization and stereotyping. These two concepts play an important role in outlining the traits of prejudice. As humans we learn and grow by evaluating all aspects of our environment. This becomes the foundation of subconscious and conscious social categorization.
Stereotyping of personalities or communities or groups also arises due to categorization on a higher level. Social distrust between two entities will gradually reduce as both sides are exposed to each other however it takes a very long period of time to observe any drastic change in the human society as it is built on basic core values and ideologies that have been transferred from generation to generation. Essay (Myers, Abell, & Sani, 2014) Prejudice as a subject of Social Psychology has been studied since 1920’s. The concerning factors in this era were race and racism.
In his classic book The Nature of Prejudice, Gordon Allport (1954) offered a unique definition for ethnic prejudice when he suggested “it is ill thinking of others without sufficient warrant” (Allport 1954) and he also says it “is antipathy based on faulty and inflexible generalization” (Allport 1954) (Oxford English Dictionary, 2017) The word prejudice is defined as “Preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience.” As per (Myers, Abell, & Sani, 2014) regarding prejudice “It is to prejudge an individual on the basis of their membership to a group due to general dislike towards it for no reason which eventually leads to discriminating behaviour.”
The biased nature of behaviour caused by prejudice generates ill feeling within one’s environment. Prejudiced individuals behave in a discriminating way towards individuals that are unlike themselves and of who they disapprove them for not being as they are. They may feel threatened by these persons with different personas and have no awareness of their bias hence categorising them as dangerous or spiteful. (Allport, 1954, p9) mentioned that few researchers have defined an additional trait of prejudice which is; people with prejudiced mindset are the way they are if an individual defies traditional ways of a culture which would make the individual appear to be a threat or as the one opposing the currents of the wave. (Allport, 1954) In an experiment listed in Allport’s book “The Nature of Prejudice”, judges were asked to classify comments written by several ninth-grade children show casing the degree of prejudice.
The inferences from this experiment were quite interesting as they illustrated a subtle and important outcome via the statements said by boys against the girls or comments made against teachers or figures of authority was not measured as prejudice as it is a tendency for younger children to be overly critical of their own gender counterparts or figures of authority as a display of childish rebelliousness. In contrast it was also observed as prejudice if the children had expressed acrimony towards races, labour union groups or nationalities other than their own. The judges viewed this unacceptance of social classes races or nationalities as prejudiced rather than rebellious as in the first illustration.
The outcomes of prejudice in this research are subtle, as prejudice progresses it can lead to leaving a drastic impact on the civilization. Another example stated in this book explains, the Indian caste system, which appeared to be merely devised to enhance efficient social division on the basis of wealth, income and spiritual traits. Instead it created discrimination between different castes, including the excommunication of the untouchables due to their supposed failure to progress to superior sectors of caste. One may wonder if prejudice was actually absent in the ancient Indian caste system as it was formulated on the basis of equality of segregation and categorization of society. Let us observe what role social categorization plays in this segregation of the Indian caste system. We can define social categorization as quoted in the following text book: (Social Psychology, second edition, (Myers, Abell & Sani 2014) “Social categorization is defined as the cognitive partitioning of the social world into relatively discrete categories of individuals”.
It is also stated that social categorization is one of the foremost psychological tools available to comprehend human beings and their behaviour. Due to the intricate variances in the social environments that humans thrive in, they categorize individuals they interact with into various groups or categories. This categorization is an essential element of human survival and ultimately manifests its character in the form of social stereotyping. (Myers, Abell, & Sani, 2014) Stereotyping means generalizing our opinion about the features of a person, community or group. Assumptions that arise due to categorization or in some cases stereotyping would be classified as prejudice as they are mere assumptions made about the individual or group.
These assumptions or beliefs however may flame prejudice. ((Myers, Abell & Sani, 2014) They promote a generalized belief about the characteristics of people in a group situation and attribute those characteristics on the basis of group membership. These definitions of categorization and stereotyping blend well within the foundations of the Indian caste system as individuals presumed to be a part of certain groups were assigned to play a certain role in society and not deviate from their path. It was hence considered to be socially acceptable to stay in the assigned caste and not try anything besides the activities pursued by the members of that group. Individuals that belonged to one caste had prejudiced feelings towards those of another, this caused discrimination and ill feelings in an otherwise to be termed as perfect caste system. (Myers, Abell & Sani, 2014, P541) has been observed that as humans we automatically and consciously stereotype the people we meet in our day to day lives.
The brain and its various functions help us do the same due to the nature of our surroundings (Correll et al., 2006; Cunningham et al., 2004; Eberhardt 2005). (Myers, Abell & Sani, 2014) Let us consider an analysis conducted by social scientists Anthony Greenwald and Eric Schuh (1994). They analysed the citations of social science articles written by persons with non-Jewish names and Jewish names. They compared Jewish authors with non-Jewish ones. Their conclusions were based on researching close to 30,000 citations and these also included research of 17,000 prejudice journals. The astonishing outcomes of this research were that non-Jewish authors cited non-Jewish names by 40 per cent more than Jewish authors, but that they could not decipher if non-Jewish authors were citing non-Jewish names more or Jewish authors were citing Jewish names more or was there a possibility of over citation on either side.
The degree of prejudice in this experiment was difficult to assign as there seemed to be merely equal prejudice on both sides of the experiment. Prejudice can be subtle in society and difficult to identify as it could exist as an underlying phenomenon while portraying a stable outward appearance. We can observe this with the Canadian immigration pattern, (Reitz, 2012) Canada has always had a reputation of being a multicultural nation where the Canadian citizens naturally embrace diversity and this has enabled them to flaunt multiculturalism and smooth integration of skilled migrants into the Canadian system. This society however has traces of discrimination and racism which were observed from the numbers of the Ethnic Diversity Survey which included interviews in groups of various ethnic origins across the entire country. It was also observed that the minority groups were did not have a sense of belonging to the new country as compared to white migrants in the same scenario.
In order to measure accurate details about the migrants the survey comprised of details pertaining to patriotism towards Canada, having a sense of belonging to the community, desire to obtain citizenship which would lead to voting rights and general fulfillment in life post the migration phase. Out of the migrants of minor ethnic groups that chose to participate in the survey, thirty per cent related to calling themselves. Canadian and identified themselves as being part of society. 30 percent of the minor ethnic groups bother to cast their vote the others avoid it merely as they do not want to rather than because they are unable to (most minor ethnic group migrants are given citizenship faster than their European counterparts). Thus, concluding there are noteworthy missing links in the wellbeing of migrants from minor ethnic groups and this feeling of not belonging to the community becomes more prominent in society as their tenure increases the intensity of the feeling of not belonging builds up.
Notable evidence from the research also states that the racial bias increases for the children of migrants (those who are born to migrant parents) in Canada. The policies that glorify the multicultural belief in the Canadian system has not reaped the desired outcomes with ethnic cultural minorities however this system has worked seamlessly for the European origin migrants as a result the divide in racial groups is significantly visible in the Canadian society. (Myers, Abell & Sani, 2014, P 547) The Robbers Cave experiment was an excellent example of how to manipulate and control prejudice however this was a highly controlled environment and the real implications of such a situation will be difficult to interpret.
The experiment was conducted in a summer camp between eleven to twelve-year-old white American boys, the experiment initially involved three phases. The first phase involved the mingling of the camp participants where the boys get acquainted with each other and they develop friendships out of their own free will and personalities. The second phase was one where they were now divided into two units and they experienced a sense of unity within their respective group. The third phase was a mere competition where one unit had to outsmart the other to gain any resources that were required. Gradually a fourth phase was introduced where the two units had to work in sync with each other to attain any positive benefits for all of them. The results of this experiment were as expected in a way where once the two units were formed the rivalry between them led to resentments between them. The members of both units had preconceived ideas and notions about members of the opposition. The units had high levels of animosity against each other and hence preferred to disengage and not associate together. T
he researchers also made a notable observation that as the two units were faced with each other they stopped vicious acts against one another and they also stopped considering themselves inferior to the other group. It was also observed that the groups worked together to common benefit. This clearly illustrates on an experimental level that the prejudice could be reduced through interaction or mere awareness of the ways and means of the foreign entity.(Allport, 1954) After researching several aspects of prejudice and its outcome discrimination, it was concluded via multiple experiments that these two traits are a part of society and the individual’s personality as illustrated earlier (Myers, Abell, & Sani, 2014) humans do categorize other individuals subconsciously and consciously. The society we live in also has several reservations of what is acceptable and what is not. In a broader perspective we may accept that these traits coexist in society.
Thus, reinforcing the possibility of having various ways of educating individuals about diversity and tackling these traits in every possible way. (Corrigan, Edwards, Green, Diwan, & Penn, 2001) Based on studies conducted on indifferent or prejudiced behaviour towards individuals with mental conditions, several remarkable observations were noted. Individuals who had encountered relatives or friends or people with mental illness were not to prejudiced towards mental illness and its effects. It was also documented that individuals from minor ethnic groups did not support any bias towards people with mental illness. (Fiske1998) It was also noted that minor cultural groups, who often felt treated unfairly by the others were not accustomed to enacting prejudice on any other groups.
According to the research-based articles and experiments listed above it is possible to conclude that prejudice does exist in societies in some way or the other. However, its intensity reduces in a small range and the desired outcome is only observable over decades or generations making it seem like there has been no change at all. Prejudice may seem to exist at the same level as observed several years ago with the Indian caste system or immigration related issues in Canada when it comes to assimilating in the social order. (Myers, Abell & Sani 2014) Prejudice still exists as categorization is an essential trait of human behaviour and it creates a bias in different aspects of life due to this an observable change is not easily achievable.
An Imperfect Modern Film Adaptation Of Pride and Prejudice
As film and television increasingly becomes a more apparent component in modern culture, the appreciation of literature and reading in general is being compromised. However, in an attempt to restore respect, classic canonical texts are being transformed into contemporary cinematic adaptations. British novelist, Jane Austen, made a significant impact on literature through her subtle stylistic writing, especially with her most credited novel, Pride and Prejudice, written in 1813. Two centuries later, English film director, Joe Wright, known for his cinematic editions of classic literature, attempted to reinvent the novel. However, the cinematic translation of Jane Austin’s timeless novel, Pride and Prejudice, has a primary focus on entertaining the audience, discrediting the esteemed literature due to the significant loss of beautifully crafted language and implied subtext featured throughout the novel. Though the novel tackles integral social issues from the 18th century, the film opts to focus on the romantic nature of the plot as contemporary audiences are more inclined to view this genre of film. Rather than staying true to conventional classic attitudes that the novel has established, the film depicts characters in an over-exaggerated manner for entertainment purposes. Purposeful ties have been established between locations and characters through symbols within the novel, yet the film showcases locations for cinematic reasons. Though Austen’s literature is highly respected, the modern film adaptation does little to highlight the deep seeded meanings embedded within the canonical language.
Due to the significant appeal that surrounds romance in modern day cinema, Joe Wright has emphasised the relationships established in the film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. Though the classic novel and the modern film feature a budding relationship, the film chooses to holistically concentrate on the development of courtship, omitting the more significant themes heavily discussed in the novel. The text provides a clearer insight into social issues that were evident during the 18th century, discussing themes such as money, property, social position and marriage. Set in a time when British culture was growing a focus on “the accumulation and concentration of wealth” within families, the novel subjugates women to be an instrument to find such fortune (Columbia College, 2009). Jane Austen challenges these social ideologies within her text, especially in regards to the equality of women, as she heavily valued freedom of choice for females. Therefore, she was motivated to underpin the entire novel with this rebellious belief, especially within the character of Elizabeth Bennett, the endearing protagonist of the novel. Though social standards instruct Elizabeth to pursue a rich man due to her lack of wealth, she insists she does not “think highly either of men or of matrimony” (pg. 386). This reiterates that wealth does not contribute towards her desire for marriage. Such love has been incredibly overdramatised within the film adaptation in order to enthral and encourage target audiences as, ever since fairy-tales, humans have naturally yearned to find a soulmate (Frostrup, 2011). In the modern film, Elizabeth is portrayed to acknowledge love as the sole commitment she must make, neglecting her defiant demeanour that is established in the novel. Elizabeth is utterly devoted to Mr Darcy for she finds herself manifesting over a subtle hand touch, admitting that “[she] love[s] him” (Wright, 2005). This supports the proclivity towards romance featured in the film; however, such fascination spares Joe Wright no time to explore the understated language that Austen crafted in order to expose the controversial societal issues, such as forced marriages for property purposes. Clearly, Jane Austen’s rich literature has been polluted by contemporary preferences, demonstrated within the themes and characters alike.
The traditional propriety and complex personalities exposed through Austen’s implied subtext in Pride and Prejudice are reduced to irrational mood swings in the 2005 film adaptation, due to modern audiences’ inclination towards extremes. Particular characters from the novel have been over-exaggerated within the film, eluding to the conventional classic attitudes, and hence, not staying true to the original literature. In the 19th century, strict social etiquette was executed amongst the upper-class in England to differentiate themselves from the lower classes (Swarbrick, 2013). However, this behaviour was soon adopted by commoners, and became customary among all classes. Austen’s novel abides by this polite nature as Elizabeth Bennett is depicted as a free, natural and idiosyncratic character who accepts the respectful expectations. Social etiquette required women to “refrain from raising their voices”, especially “when speaking with a man” (Pearson, 2001). Even when dealing with confrontation, though she is “roused to resentment”, Elizabeth “speak[s] with composure” and remains respectful to Mr Darcy (Pg. 417). However, this traditional protocol is evidently absent from the modern film interpretation. Joe Wright has developed the character of Elizabeth to be a rogue figure who is quite petulant and at times crude. Elizabeth makes several rude attempts to interject as Mr Collins begins to profess his love for her, even defiantly standing up when he kneels to propose. This behaviour is not “according to the usual practice of an eloquent female”, and hence, does not correlate to classic conventions (Wright, 2005). The audience is positioned to feel this contrast and sense of unease as Wright has purposefully selected a high angle shot in order to perceive Mr Collins as the inferior individual, and hence, symbolically give the power within the conversation to Elizabeth. This dramatisation of conduct within the film is purposefully executed in order to appeal to viewers due to the significant preference audiences have towards the “emotional and relational development of characters” (Buffam, 2016). Though this modern preference, the film has still withered significantly due to the significant loss of valued contextual substance as read in the novel.
The complexity of Austen’s beautifully crafted language in Pride and Prejudice has been sacrificed within the film adaptation for visual cinematic benefits, losing the symbolism of highly-developed meanings. Clever subtext has been filtered throughout the classic novel, offering deeper significance and representative meanings to locations. However, these figurative descriptions have been excluded from Joe Wright’s modern film adaptation due to the explicit showcase of scenic shots included for entertainment. Through Austen’s implicit linguistic style, symbolic connections have been cleverly formed between Mr Darcy and the geographical location of his estate, Pemberley. The overall charm of the picturesque countryside enchants Elizabeth when she visits Pemberley for the first time, conveniently at the same time as her blossoming feelings are heavily developing. Much like the dignified Mr Darcy, his estate is a “handsome stone building” that “stand[s] on well rising ground”, referring to his rich inheritance that has established a solid foundation (pg. 439). Through his estate, Mr Darcy continues to be depicted as “a stream of…natural importance” that has “swelled” into the exuberant degree of pride that he beholds (pg. 439). Jane Austen has purposefully integrated this language in order to suggest to print readers that Elizabeth’s love for Mr Darcy is growing rapidly, even though she still remains ignorant to these feelings. Joe Wright has stayed consistent with the novel as Elizabeth’s admiration is still heavily developing when she visits Pemberley for the first time. However, these subtle connotations have been disregarded to prioritise the cinematic look of the film. Rather, intrinsic mise-en-scene – the composition of lighting, décor, props and costumes – has been developed in order to accentuate the grandeur of the estate. Bright beams of natural sunlight have been cast upon Pemberley, complementing the natural countryside that has been showcased. Original antique oil paintings from the 19th century form the décor, emphasising the rich heritage valued in the set time period. Classic props and costumes, like luxurious ball gowns with petticoats and Victorian suits with waistcoats, adorn the characters, adding to the artistic appeal. Though these attributes construct an aesthetically pleasing visual appeal, there is no establishment of well-developed literary devices. This absence of the original symbolic text has influenced Austen’s view of the degree of admiration Elizabeth shares for Mr Darcy to be lost in translation when producing the film, losing the meanings established within the literature.
With modern film directors increasingly recreating classic canonical novels through their art form, it is becoming evident that the respect to stay true to the original literature is absent. Jane Austen inundated British literature with her exquisitely written works of art; however, the 2005 film adaptation does little to bring justice to the language. The cinematic translation of Jane Austin’s timeless novel, Pride and Prejudice, has a primary focus on entertaining the audience, discrediting the esteemed literature due to the significant loss of beautifully crafted language and implied subtext featured throughout the novel. Though Austen’s values of rebelling against the profound social issues from the time are embedded within the text, the film follows generic preferences and focuses on romance. The modern film also chooses to over-exaggerate certain characters to entertain the audience, rather than maintaining the conventional attitudes that comprise the novel’s characters. Symbolic references that connect locations and characters in the novel have also been neglected as the film opts to cinematically showcase locations, neglecting the deeper representations. Despite the success of Wright’s adaptation, the lack of linguistic citations to Austen’s original canonical text and the purposeful choices to increase the entertainment factor for audiences, affirms whilst the novel is prized, the film has perished.
Family Relationships in Pride and Prejudice According to Mr. Bennet
Austrian psychologist Sigmund Freud once stated “I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection.” What this quote means is that children need a father figure in their life; someone to care for them throughout their adolescence. This idea does not only apply to today’s society; even though the perception of a father has changed along with the child-raising environment, the duties of a father have never changed or faltered. This idea can be seen in the novel Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Pride and Prejudice takes place during the 19th century. It is a story about five young women being pushed by their demanding mother to bring home a husband– and maybe even fall in love in the process. The five girls must face the rigid expectations of society as well as the problems that arise within their own seemingly unconventional family. Many of the girls, especially Miss Elizabeth Bennet, do not meet society’s ostentatious expectations in that they are opinionated and not as well-mannered as other young ladies. This can partly be blamed on the girls’ father, Mr. Bennet. There are certain traits that were expected and necessary of fathers during that time period, and Mr. Bennet does not explicitly meet them. Mr. Bennet’s lack of appropriate parenting traits lead to the events of Pride and Prejudice– as well as the downfall of his family.
Possibly one of a woman’s most important characteristics, as valued by society back then, were her manners. Society expected women to be perfectly prim and proper– to be the ideal ladies that the culture demanded. If women did not show proper etiquette, it was believed that they had terrible breeding and that they would never prove to be valuable wives. Mr. and Mrs. Bennet apparently do not understand this concept, seeing as how their children are hardly in the know of proper etiquette. Due to the fact that Mr. Bennet does not properly imbue politeness into his children, there is no wonder that “they [are] ignorant, idle, and vain”– hardly the picture of gentlewomen. This impoliteness is particularly exemplified in Lydia and Catherine, who are described as being “self-willed and careless” and “ weak-spirited, irritable, and completely under Lydia’s guidance”, respectively (182). However, these traits are understandable if one takes the girls’ parents into account. Mr. Bennet “would never exert himself to restrain the wild giddiness of his youngest daughters”. Their mother, “with manners so far from right herself,” is concerned more with giving her daughters away than the traits actually needed in order to give them away (182). The daughters take after their parents, especially Mrs. Bennet; they never learned any better. They never learned how to act like what was believed to be the proper lady at the time.
One major responsibility of fathers during the 19th century was to make sure that their young girls were watched over. Girls had to be restrained in order to ensure that they were kept civilized and did not run rampant with some bachelor. When their daughters did meet said bachelors, they had to go through a series of trials with the dad first. The young man’s personality and manners were judged, and they had to be deemed acceptable for the daughters before the couples got to go out. In this respect, Mr. Bennet fails as a father. Mr. Bennet rarely ever shows good judgment with his children, especially when it comes to Lydia’s elopement. After a barrage of begging and pleading. Mr. Bennet eventually agrees to let Lydia run off, without much supervision, to visit the officers in Brighton, arguing that “Lydia will never be easy until she has exposed herself in some public place or other” (196). It is fairly disastrous when even Elizabeth–his own daughter– recognizes Mr. Bennet’s blindness regarding the matter. She is aware of “the very great disadvantage to [them] all, which must arise from the public notice of Lydia’s unguarded and imprudent manner” and the consequences that might follow (197). Despite the warnings of his daughter, Mr. Bennet precedes to let his younger child run wild. It is this lack of restraint on Mr. Bennet’s part that leads to Lydia’s elopement– as well as “injurious to the fortunes of all the others. For who… will connect themselves with such a family” (251)? Had Mr. Bennet expressed this important fatherly trait of supervising his children, there would have been far fewer consequences to his family in the long run.
It is plain to see that Mr. Bennet plays favorites with his daughters. The man even goes so far as to plainly proclaim that Elizabeth is his favorite, telling Elizabeth and Jane that they have “a couple of— or … three—very silly sisters” (43). What Mr. Bennet does not seem to realize is that having a favorite child can cause a multitude of problems: from Mary’s withdrawn personality to the brashness of Lydia. This deficiency of attention can result in inferiority complexes amongst other children. Mr. Bennet lacks the equal love that proper fathers should have for their children. If this outright favoritism had not occurred, the novel might have taken a much different path. For example, if Mr. Bennet had not so “often mocked Mary, subtly or otherwise, as he does the only times we hear him address her in the first all-family conversation”, Mary probably would not have been as reclusive as she is throughout the events of the novel (7). If her father had shown as much paternal affection towards her as he did towards Elizabeth, Mary could have been a much different person. It is a proven fact that children crave attention; if they do not receive said attention, they may act out in order to get it. This might have been the case with Lydia and Kitty. By the time the two younger siblings showed up– without “having a son to defeat the entail”– Mr. Bennet is fairly done with the whole family notion. He is facing the “disappointment which his own imprudence had brought on” (201). Lydia and Kitty thus end up receiving the impatient end of Mr. Bennet’s line. The younger children are not as elevated in Mr. Bennet’s eyes as the older children are because of this.
Throughout history, simply spending time with family has been an important way of connecting and creating close bonds amongst members. Mr. Bennet lacks in this aspect, being more “fond of the country and of books” than his own family (201). The man prefers to keep to himself, completely ignoring the concept of family time. Without this precious time, fathers do not get to learn about the goals and thoughts and feelings that their offspring are experiencing throughout the difficult times of their lives. Without this precious time, Mr. Bennet could not have possibly known about the “evils of so ill-judged a direction of talents”, or of the absurd ploys that Lydia often comes up with (202). This household deviation could be a reason as to why the Bennet sisters are not raised to society’s standards; without a father figure constantly there as guidance, there is a lot of room where things can go astray.
One of the most important things that parents can do for their children is believe in them. Simply put, they are to push them forward, to make them reach for the stars and go as far as possible in life. Parents are to educate their children to the best of their abilities in order to ensure that they will be successful adults later on in life. Instead of following this important concept, Mr. Bennet chooses to take the easy path with his daughters. Mr. Bennet is like a figure standing on the sidelines, simply watching the events that transpire in front of him. He merely watches rather than admonishing his children or giving them advice on life– rather than letting them grow. Growing up, the five Bennet siblings “had teachers but no regular governess, were encouraged to read, and were allowed to be idle if they chose”(164-65). Because of this, they were not as educated as many of the other ladies of higher class. Society expected the ideal woman to “have a thorough knowledge of music, singing, drawing, dancing, and the modern languages” (32). The sisters lack many of these traits, subjecting them to the judgment of the public. If Mr. Bennet had pushed his children further and actually put effort into ensuring that they would be well educated, well-rounded individuals, they would not have been looked down upon as much as they were by society. This lackluster parenting approach had terrible consequences in the long run.
Mr. Bennet’s parenting– or lack thereof– is not the proper caring that fathers need to possess in order to raise successful, honorable children. During the 19th century, society had specific expectations of what a proper young woman was to look and act like. Because of the way the Bennet sisters are brought up, they do not meet their era’s expectations and are looked down upon because of it. Mr. Bennet fails to teach his children proper manners; manners are one of the first things judged by others, and are capable of creating a first impression. The man also blunders in restraining his daughters properly. If Mr. Bennet had kept a closer eye on them, many events, such as Lydia’s elopement, would not have occurred. The father also fails to push his offspring towards greater things in life, and just simply spend time with the family as a whole. Also, he even goes so far as to pick a favorite daughter, possibly creating a sense of inferiority amongst the other sisters. While Mr. Bennet may be a very intellectual man, he is an inadequate father figure to his five daughters. The musician Miriam Makeba once proclaimed “Girls are the future mothers of our society, and it is important that we focus on their well-being.” Mr. Bennet could learn a thing or two from this idea!
Jane Austen’s Views On Marriage in Pride and Prejudice
Jane Austen explores the ideals and differences of marriage during the eighteenth century throughout her novel Pride and Prejudice. In the novel, when sensible and practical Charlotte decides to accept Mr. Collins’ proposal and marry him, she is only satisfied, and we can see that it was the only honorable provision for a young woman of small fortune during this time. Austen toils with the notions of a companionate marriage (one that prioritizes affection) and a marriage of alliance (one that prioritizes business) and their progressive applicability to the entity of marriage in the eighteenth century, but ultimately concedes to monetary importance.
Charlotte Lucas makes a wise and logical choice when agreeing to marry Mr. Collins.
“I see what you are feeling—you must be surprised, very much surprised,—so lately as Mr. Collins was wishing to marry you. But when you have had the time to think it all over, I hope you will be satisfied with what I have done. I am not romantic you know. I never was. I ask only a comfortable home; and considering Mr. Collin’s character, connections, and situation in life, I am convinced that my chance of happiness with him is as fair, as most people can boast on entering the marriage state.”(96)
However, Elizabeth projects absurdity onto the relationship. Charlotte can “see” Elizabeth’s feelings which is peculiar considering feelings are to be felt not seen. Elizabeth is puzzled, she does not understand how Charlotte was able to marry for pure financial need over love but unfortunately, this is the societal reality. Charlotte explains to Elizabeth that she has not married Mr.Collins because she loves him, she is not a romantic, but a sensible and intelligent woman of a certain age that needs a sustainable life of comfort. She has been conditioned by society to think this way. Marriage during this time was a woman’s ticket to security. She is in need of a home and Mr. Collins can provide this to her because he will inherit the Longbourn estate one day. If Charlotte does not marry Mr.Collins she will have to depend on her father until he dies and then she would be left with nothing because daughters do not inherit property. Charlotte marries a man she does not love because she does not wish to become an old maid and Mr. Collins is the first man to show interest in making her his wife. Charlotte represents the reality of this time, she does not have an idealistic approach to love and her acceptance of Mr.Collins’ proposal proves that. Due to Charlotte’s plain appearance she was not in a position to disregard social conventions. Compared to Elizabeth and Jane Bennet, Charlotte is not known not for her beauty but her brain. This is used to portray that she had to have a more realistic approach to love and marriage than the other women did because she wasn’t as beautiful. She is plain but for good reason because beauty warranted a more idealistic perspective on marriage. Her brain was used to allow her to make clear decisions that would provide her with positive outcomes for her future. Her marriage with Mr. Collins is not self-deception as she marries with her eyes open. For this reason, she does not consider her marriage a mistake though it is loveless. A companionate marriage was not a realistic ideal to many people, it is not a wrong decision as she will be judged by money and comfort in her society. Her announcement gives the idea of her helplessness, as she cannot complain about her suffering for her desire and social reality are at odds. Her acceptance of Mr. Collins’ proposal is not complete disgrace but acceptance of harsh reality. Since she is not in love with Mr. Collins, she will not be disheartened to discover his selfish nature. If a woman was seen to be unmarried at a certain age, she was not worthy of getting a husband in all her life. Hence, her determination to marry Mr. Collins despite her friend’s disapproval, proves herself a strong-willed person. Charlotte apprehends that marriage based on true love may not work because of financial security but in a loveless marriage at least money can save it. Her marriage is her realistic ideal and through this partnership with Mr. Collins she is able to escape social pressure and humiliation as well as social isolation.
Charlotte Lucas was worried about being single. She saw marriage as an opportunity and she was conscious about the fleeting options she had at her age.
“Daughters almost never inherit, of course, and, like the Bennets in Pride and Prejudice or the Dashwood sisters in Sense and Sensibility, might even lose their home after their father’s death to a sometimes quite remote male relative, through the system of ‘entail’….best hope of financial and social security is to marry well…” (Appendix A)
This passage illuminates the idea that women had to marry in order to survive. An unmarried woman’s social standing would also be harmed by her living alone, outside of the sphere of her family’s influence. If a single woman who had never been married was not living with her family, she should at least be living with a sustainable chaperone. And in general, becoming an “old maid” was not considered a desirable fate, so when Charlotte Lucas, at age 27, marries Mr. Collins, her family is relieved. Mr. Collins is entailed to inherit the Longbourn estate so this will be how he provides for Charlotte and himself. Love to Charlotte was secondary to the urgent need for financial security. Monetary importance was that of the highest throughout this time period. Women were to go from their father’s house to their husband’s house. They were to marry and to marry well. This put a lot of pressure on parents to make sure they raised well-bred and graceful young ladies. If they failed to do so their daughters would be in jeopardy, no parent wants to see that happen so they do everything in their power to prevent such from surfacing. Social standing was made visible through material objects, young girls were taught this at a young age. Also, what how they looked and what they acted like was more important than the emotional side of the situation, Emotions were secondary, not only to Charlotte but also to Mr. Collins. Emotions got in the way of the end goal, financial security and social standing safety.
Charlotte’s marriage to Mr. Collins is an arrangement of convenience, he needed a suitable wife, she needed a husband, love is not part of the equation.
“Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance. If the dispositions of the parties are ever so well known to each other, or ever so similar before-hand, it does not advance their felicity in the least. They always contrive to grow sufficiently unlike afterwards to have their share of vexation; and it is better to know as little as possible of the defects of the person with whom you are to pass your life”(16)
Being in love in marriage for Charlotte is like rolling dice. If it happens it is purely out of luck. She believes love is irrelevant to marriage and thinks a woman ought to limit her intimacy with her husband in order to avoid the inevitable disappointments. Charlotte is a pragmatic lady who believes that a woman needs to take initiative and act fast in order to secure her relationship. By taking the time to get to know the other person it slows down the securing process. Whether she marries a man tomorrow or spends a year getting to know him, it will not guarantee a happy marriage. This indicates that Charlotte sees a husband as a commodity or means to an end. Charlotte is aware that if her expectations for a man are too high, she risks becoming a struggling spinster. If she lowers her standards,though, she may not find love but at least she will be comfortable. What makes this evident is Mr. Collins’ behavior and attitude that is painted in the novel as arrogant and selfish. He is a clergyman and with that title comes with the responsibility to take a wife, so because of this Mr. Collins seeks a wife because it is the right thing to do. He wants to do everything in his power to look good for Lady De Bourgh and to ensure that he will be able to inherit the Longbourn estate. At first, he forces his proposal onto Elizabeth but she declines so because of this, he then jumps ship over to Charlotte because he is desperate. He is desperate because without a wife he won’t be seen in the same way as he would with a wife in this society. He wants to set an example to the rest of his parish and the only way to do so is to take action. This is why just three days after his proposal to Elizabeth, he proposes to Charlotte. He too is aware that she is a woman of a certain age that needs him as much as he needs her. He thinks that by proposing to her they will both be able to benefit from the marriage which will lead to happiness for the both of them. Charlotte is more realistic than he is in this regard because he is not as aware of the terms of happiness as she is. Charlotte is aware of his less than desirable behavior but because she does not have high expectations for the relationship, she is able to overlook his faults because although he has a few motives as to why he wants to marry, she only has one. Charlotte and Mr. Collins use each other to get ahead in society, which neglects romance all together. Each of them are aware of this and that is why they both marry without thinking about it twice. It is the ever-present most important step to surety.
Jane Austen’s views on marriage are highlighted throughout the use of Charlotte and Mr.Collins to describe the driving emphasis on Marriage of Alliance and monetary relevance during the eighteenth century. Marriage was the pivotal approach to societal and financial assurance for young women. The marriage of alliance was one that provided a sustainable, safe, and dependable lifestyle for women in society. A woman like Charlotte had everything to gain from this because without it she would be cast off and unable to provide for herself because women were not able to work the same jobs as men and were not able to inherit property. Women had to move forward in their relationships with men with lower expectations to avoid disaster because marriage was the way for a woman to earn her own wings. They had to be logical, practical, realistic, and had to disregard their emotions in order to live a life outside of their father’s home.
Different Values towards Marriage in Pride and Prejudice: Elizabeth, Charlotte, Lydia
Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice begins with a statement of fact; ‘it is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.’ This identifies that Austen’s main theme throughout this novel will revolve around the institution of marriage, followed by the many limitations marriage consists of. Austen portrays the realistic picture of what a woman’s life was like during the eighteenth and nineteenth-century, with the desire of marrying for love having many limitations placed on it due to elements such as money and security playing a bigger factor towards what a woman would aspire to have in order to thrive. The main heroine in Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennet, challenges the social norm of marriage as she is portrayed as an intelligent, enlightened figure who holds the attitude to step away from the norm of marriage with her desire to marry for love rather than money. Elizabeth and her sisters hold a variety of different opinions and outcomes whenever they decide to marry the man they deem right for them, which will be discussed throughout this essay.
The institution of marriage is an important theme throughout Austen’s Pride and Prejudice as it was portrayed as a dominant force during this time. Marriage circulates around each of the Bennet daughters with their mother, Mrs. Bennet being consumed by the desire to see her daughters married to a wealthy man. This can be distinguished whenever the third person narrator states; ‘the business of her life was to get her daughters married.’ This exemplifies that during Austen’s period women believed that they could do nothing but what was expected from them. Due to this, marriages were arranged mostly within the same social class as Charlotte Betts, a literary academic states, ‘a good marriage to a man with a comfortable income was vitally important for a woman as she rarely had any other means of financial support.’ This further adds to the reason why Mrs. Bennet desires to have her daughters marry a wealthy man as he can provide money and security to them. Her actions can also be considered on her behalf a loving act as she wishes nothing but the best opportunities for each of her daughters. This is enhanced through her statement, ‘if I can have one of my daughters happily settled at Netherfield and all the others equally married, I shall have nothing to wish for’. Austen therefore expresses that parental approval is vital to a woman’s happiness until she becomes married, as further identified by academic Swords ‘woman can be seen as oppressed victims of a patriarchal society, subordinate first to their fathers and, then to their husbands who had, of course, been selected by their fathers.’ This portrays the many limitations placed on women as it factors in the issue that they could not inherit property as once married, they do not have control over their possessions and their fate becomes their husbands property.
Elizabeth does not conform to the expectations listed out from her mother as she follows her own morals and does not wish to marry for money. With her rejecting Mr. Collins proposal, it can be suggested that Elizabeth’s actions to not marry him can be seen as one of the most revolutionary things a woman during this period could possibly do. Charlotte Betts expresses in her article about women throughout the Georgian era, ‘many marriages were arranged between families where the bride had little say in the choice of her husband.’ This can show that Elizabeth’s differs from the traditional woman’s role in society as she preferably would marry for love than to indulge in her husband’s wealth. Elizabeth can also differ from a traditional woman’s role in society as she disregards Mr. Collins’ proposal due to the many irrationalities in his tone regarding his proposal to Elizabeth. She does not appreciate that he decided to have ‘set about it in a very orderly manner’ with all the observances which he supposed a regular part of the business.’ For a nineteenth-century man, marriage became an act of economic utility- a strategy by which he could increase his personal fortune. This can be said through Mr. Collins viewpoint of marriage, he overlooks his proposal to Elizabeth as a minor business transaction which is why Elizabeth intends to marry a man who makes her happy, and not purely for the care of financial stability that would be provided for her. However, noted in Elizabeth’s letter to Jane stating the relocation of her family to London, she recognizes that marriage is vital during her time as she is not independently wealthy. She comments in the letter that ‘we are not rich enough or grand enough for them.’ This shows that it is critical to underline that income matters as a ‘good marriage in the society Jane Austen depicts, is always one which enhances status, and status is primarily a matter of wealth.’
In contrast to Elizabeth’s values towards marriage, her closest friend Charlotte Lucas represents a traditional woman’s viewpoint, as she states whenever she discusses Jane Bennet and Mr. Bingley’s wedlock, ‘if she is secure of him, then she will have the leisure to fall in love as much as she chooses.’ Here Charlotte prioritises security rather than love, as (Reena 130) has pointed out, ‘Charlotte finds herself with little to recommend her and even fewer options on the marriage front.’ Underlying the societal views of marriage, Charlotte is not a young woman anymore and would be considered a spinster if she did not accept Mr. Collins proposal. Due to this, she states to Elizabeth;
‘When you have had time to think it all over, I hope you will be satisfied with what I have done. I am not a romantic, you now. I never was. I ask only a comfortable home; and considering Mr Collins’ character, connections and situation in life, I am convinced that my chance of happiness with him is as fair, as most people can boast on entering the marriage state.’
Charlotte has decided that she wants security to be prioritised before love, she is not as strong willed as Elizabeth as her concern is to secure herself financially without necessarily wanting a happy relationship with Mr Collins. Much like Mr Collins, marriage is a sort of business transaction whereby marriage is a high priority to them. The romantic plots throughout Pride and Prejudice can be seen as ironic in many ways, with Austen showing dismissal of romantic love through characters such as Mr. Collins who has openly suggested marriage being a meer ‘business transaction’ and Charlotte who would signify marriage as ‘decorous’ as she embraces the simulacrum of the ‘Proper Lady’ Poovey has identified. Mary Poovey’s study of the struggle of three prominent writers to accommodate the artist’s genius to the late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century ideal of the modest, self-effacing ‘proper lady.’ Interpreting novels, letters, journals, and political tracts in the context of cultural strictures, Poovey makes an important contribution to English social and literary history and to feminist theory.
</p><p>Unlike Elizabeth who has chosen to marry ultimately for love rather than anything else, her sister Lydia Bennet can prove that the societal views of marriage during the eighteenth and nineteenth-century suggested that scandal might prove the death of reputation. This is evident whenever Lydia Bennet elopes with Mr. Wickham. being an officer who was coloured by his contemporary reputation for sexual dalliance. Lydia was captivated by the officers dazzling uniforms, likewise to her mother, Mrs. Bennet who admits that she remembers ‘the time when I liked a red coat myself very well.’ Like her mother, Lydia does not think, therefore she simply acts on her impulses that lead her to near ruin which positions her family in despair due to her being a respectable lady who ends up marrying a common soldier. Tim Fulford further adds that ‘from the beginning soldiers are seen in terms of the romantic naivete of the younger sisters and of the nostalgia of Mrs. Bennet, who has learned nothing from her greater experience.’ A woman’s reputation depended on her social status, this was especially true for the women who were young and unmarried. However, Lydia has ruined any opportunity for an advantageous alliance. Her immatuirty has lead to her reputation being lost, as it is stated in the text that ‘once a woman’s reputation is lost, it is lost forever.’ This passage deems her marriage to Wickham losing her reputation, as Austen represents the relationship between them being purely based on physical gratification, neither for financial security or love. By stating this, Mr. Collins highlights that ‘this will be injurious to the fortunes of all the others.’ Here he is highlighting that Lydia’s elopement and the scandal associated with Wickham will impact negatively on the reputation of the other Bennet sisters, which is why their relationship was poorly rejected by her sisters and both her parents.
An attentive reader such as Marie N. Sorbo believes that Austen’s ‘attitude towards marriage is thoroughly ironic.’ Through characters such as Lydia, who marries out of vanity and not love. Sorbo further states that ‘Austen comes close to giving us a disillusioned dismissal of romantic love, as if the narrator is teasing us that she knows we have come to the book for romance, but romance does not exist, only speculation.’
Vivien Jones argues that in Northanger Abbey, Sense and Sensibility, and Pride and Prejudice that the relationship between marriage and money are the main plots of each novel. However it seems that Jane Bennet and Charles Bingley are an exception as they fall into the category of marrying preferably for love rather than money, with Bingley being identified as ‘modest and had no opinion about his marriage.’ Both of them genuinely love each other despite Mr. Bingley’s sisters not accepting Jane as they wanted their brother to marry Mr. Darcy’s sister, who they deemed more ‘superior’ to Jane. However, he does not conform to his sister’s wishes and marries Jane, who seems to have little concern over money and stability, with Bingley also swaying from the challenges of social norms, as he is not preoccupied with the background of the Bennet family. Similarly, Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy are an exception to societal norms as they both marry each other for love rather than money. Austen’s major study of the links between intelligence and freedom is cast as a love story and of a sort which she delighted in characterizing as ‘rather too light, and bright and parking.’ As Suan Morgan identifies, ‘Most of the action in Pride and Prejudice can be accounted for as a tale of love which violates the traditions of romance.’
Lady Catherine De Bourgh through Mr. Darcy’s proposal to Elizabeth believed that Pemberly as well as the family associated alongside it would lose its status and grandeur due to Elizabeth’s inferiority. However, Mr. Darcy states during his proposal to her ‘in vain I have struggled. It will not do.’ Here he suggests that he loves Elizabeth against his will due to their class differences, rather he admires her as she presents an incongruent example of maidenly decorum with her displaying intellectual curiosity and independent thought, which was an alternative to the average Georgian lady. As Mrs. Bennet states, ‘Lizzy has something more of quickness than her sisters’. Elizabeth embodies the enlightenment ideas of John Locke; ‘the reason and free will are great indications of one’s success and fate.’ Furthermore, noting that she also has many similarities to a blue-stocking woman with considerable scholarly, literary, or intellectual ability or interest. This was a literary society led by Elizabeth Montagu and others in the 1750s in England. Elizabeth Montagu was an anomaly in this society because she took possession of her husband’s property when he died. This allowed her to have an impact in her world.
The main heroine of Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennet marries solely out of love, rather than money or physical gratification. She is therefore rewarded at the end of the novel with the satisfaction of finding happiness within herself, but also accepts the luxuries that she is presented with as Lady of Pemberley House.
Evolution Of Darcy and Elizabeth From Pride And Prejudice
Change is an inevitable part of life. It can brought about in numerous of ways and the result of it can either negatively or positively impact a person’s life. However, several ups and downs are likely to occur before the results of change can be reached. In the novel, Pride and Prejudice, the two main characters, Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy experience the process of change. Written by Jane Austen between 1796 and 1813, Pride and Prejudice follows Elizabeth Bennet and how she deals with several society issues during the 19th century. She encounters Mr. Darcy, a wealthy gentleman, whose flaw is being too prideful which causes Elizabeth to immediately dislike him. On the other hand, Elizabeth has a flaw of her own which is being too judgmental. Both characters, however, are able to overcome these flaws and in turn, better themselves. Throughout the novel Pride and Prejudice, several specific events cause Darcy to become more humbled and Elizabeth to become less judgmental which brings them together and leads them to their happy ending.
In the novel, Darcy’s and Elizabeth’s natures are apparent from the very beginning and cause them to have a bad start to their relationship. Darcy’s prideful attitude is prevalent and in turn creates a bad reputation for himself during the ball at Meryton. Austen shows that Darcy’s reputation has turned for the worst by saying, “…He was looked at with great admiration for about half the evening, till his manners gave a disgust which turned the tide of his popularity; for he was discovered to be proud; to be above his company, and above being pleased; and not all his large estate in Derbyshire could then save him from having a most forbidding, disagreeable countenance, and being unworthy to be compared with his friend” (Austen 7). Darcy’s pride has caused him to appear as though he was completely above everyone and has also caused others not to make an attempt to try and know his true nature. He does not make an attempt to try to correct his attitude as shown when he insults Elizabeth. When Mr. Bingley, his close friend, tries to convince him to dance with Elizabeth, Darcy says, “She is tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me; I am in no humour at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men. You had better return to your partner and enjoy her smiles, for you are wasting your time with me” (Austen 8). This insult leads to Elizabeth to immediately accept everyone else’s view of Darcy and in turn judge him as a rude, inconsiderate man. She was willing to forgive Darcy of his prideful nature as shown when she states, “I could easily forgive his pride, if he had not mortified mine” (Austen 15). Elizabeth was going to look past Darcy’s pride, however, once he insulted her, she does not allow him a chance to clear up any misunderstandings. Due to her judgmental attitude, Elizabeth’s initial opinion of Darcy remains the same and only becomes worse as time progresses. While conversing with Wickham about Darcy, Elizabeth gives her opinion of him and says, “I think him very disagreeable… Upon my word I say no more here than I might say in any house in the neighborhood, except Netherfield. He is not at all liked in Hertfordshire. Everybody is disgusted with his pride. You will not find him more favourably spoken of by any one” (Austen 66). Elizabeth’s judgmental nature causes her to believe that she has a right to state her opinion of Darcy anywhere she pleases because she is certain that she is right about him. She shows that just based on two encounters of dealing with Darcy, she is quick to judge him without really being able to get to know him. With that being said, Darcy’s and Elizabeth’s natures are established early on in the novel and lead them to have a shaky start to their relationship. However, both characters’ walls begin to come crumbling down as time progresses.
Darcy and Elizabeth both begin to change their natures as time moves on. Darcy’s prideful attitude begins to dwindle away after Elizabeth rejects his marriage proposal. After being proposed to in an offensive manner by Darcy, Elizabeth tells him, “Mr. Darcy, if you suppose that the mode of your declaration affected me in any other way, than as it spared the concern which I might have felt in refusing you, had you behaved in a more gentlemanlike manner” (Austen 165). Elizabeth’s statement to Darcy makes him realize that his actions towards her or anyone have not been those of a proper gentleman. Her statement gives him a wake-up call and causes his walls to start to crumble, thus causing his prideful nature to dissipate. Elizabeth’s statement to Darcy clearly matters to him as shown when he writes her a letter to explain himself. In the beginning of his letter, Darcy says, “I write without any intention of paining you, or humbling myself, by dwelling on wishes which, for the happiness of both, cannot be too soon forgotten” (Austen 167). Darcy’s transition into becoming more humbled is apparent in his statement. He decides to express himself in a way that does not appear to Elizabeth as being self-centered and offensive to her which leads to them coming together. Darcy’s letter makes Elizabeth realize that Darcy is not as bad as a person as she originally thought. She makes an attempt to not to believe Darcy as shown when she exclaims and repeats, “This must be false! This cannot be! This must be the grossest falsehood” (Austen 174). Elizabeth is trying to convince herself that Darcy is lying in order to win her affection, however, after reading the letter once again, Elizabeth accepts the fact that she was wrong. Her walls she put up begin to crumble down as well and is shown when she says, “How despicably have I acted! I, who have prided myself on my discernment! … Pleased with the preference of one, and offended by the neglect of the other, on the very beginning of our acquaintance, I have courted prepossession and ignorance and driven reason away, where either were concerned. Till this moment, I never knew myself” (Austen 177). Elizabeth realizes that her judgmental nature has clouded her reasoning, just from her and Darcy’s first meeting. Her first impression of Darcy caused her to act rude and have prejudice against him which did not allow them to properly form a relationship with him. Her realization will eventually lead her to come together with Darcy and ultimately their happy ending. Clearly, Darcy’s and Elizabeth’s natures change over time and eventually allows them to reach their happily ever after.
After realizing their flaws, Darcy and Elizabeth change their ways and are thus able to come together and achieve a happy ending. Darcy’s humbleness is apparent when it is revealed he helped alleviate the situation between Lydia and Wickham. While talking to Elizabeth about what he did to help, Darcy says, “If you WILL thank me, let it be for yourself alone. That the wish of giving happiness to you might add force to the other inducements which led me on, I shall not attempt to deny. But your FAMILY owe me nothing. Much as I respect them, I believe I thought only of YOU” (Austen 331). Darcy has no intention of receiving a token of thanks from Elizabeth’s family. He helps them out of selflessness and with the thought of making Elizabeth happy. Darcy has completely discarded his prideful nature and is able to receive and give love to and from Elizabeth. Elizabeth’s change is also clear as shown through this conversation with Darcy. She no longer talks to him with a sharp tongue and is somewhat bashful in front of him. After Darcy reveals his reasoning to Elizabeth for helping, Austen describes Elizabeth’s actions: “Elizabeth was too much embarrassed to say a word…Elizabeth, feeling all the more than common awkwardness and anxiety of his situation, now forced herself to speak; and immediately, though not very fluently, gave him to understand that her sentiments had undergone so material a change, since the period to which he alluded, as to make her receive with gratitude and pleasure his present assurances” (Austen 331). No longer being blinded by her first impression, Elizabeth is no longer able to hide her feelings for Darcy and is able to fully accept his love and give him hers as well. However, it is not until both Darcy and Elizabeth are able to admit to each other their faults that finally brings them together. Darcy admits to Elizabeth that his actions to her and others were unbecoming of him. As he continues his conversation with Elizabeth he tells her, “…My conduct, my manners, my expressions… is now, and has been many months, inexpressibly painful to me. Your reproof, so well applied, I shall never forget: ‘had you behaved in a more gentlemanlike manner.’ Those were your words. You know not, you can scarcely conceive, how they have tortured me;—though it was some time, I confess, before I was reasonable enough to allow their justice” (Austen 314). Darcy reveals that Elizabeth’s words had greatly affected him and that she was right and her words caused him to change his prideful attitude. By admitting this to, Darcy lets Elizabeth know that he cares about her opinion of him which leads to Elizabeth fully realize his feelings for her. Elizabeth also admits her actions towards Darcy were rude due to her prejudice against him. When Darcy says he was attracted to her “liveliness”, Elizabeth corrects him and says, “You may as well call it impertinence at once; it was very little less. The fact is, that you were sick of civility, of deference, of officious attention. You were disgusted with the women who were always speaking, and looking, and thinking for your approbation alone. I roused and interested you because I was so unlike them. Had you not been really amiable, you would have hated me for it” (Austen 325). By admitting this to Darcy, Elizabeth reminds Darcy of the reason why he fell in love with her and is also able to let him see that she realizes her actions were wrong as well which ultimately brings them together in the end. In short, Darcy and Elizabeth change their prideful and judgmental ways which in turn allow them to be happy with each other.
Due to specific events, Darcy and Elizabeth are able to fix their flaws of being too prideful and too judgmental which in turn brings them together for their happy ending. At first, Darcy’s and Elizabeth’s relationship has a rough start due to Darcy’s arrogance and Elizabeth judging harshly based on their first encounter. According to Mary Lascelles in “The Mutual Misunderstanding of Elizabeth and Darcy” on Elizabeth’s dislike of Darcy, she states, “Her initial impulse towards this misunderstanding comes, of course, from Darcy himself, in that piece of flamboyant rudeness” (Lascelles). This reiterates Elizabeth’s initial disdain towards Darcy due to his utter rudeness and pride. As time progresses, however, Darcy’s and Elizabeth’s walls come crumbling down due to Elizabeth’s rejection and Darcy’s letter. These events cause them to realize the errors in their ways and lead them to change and come together. In the end, Darcy and Elizabeth are able to achieve their happy ending and better themselves. Change can help others become more self-aware of themselves and in turn bring forth profound results.
Question Of Marriage in Pride And Prejudice
In Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen examines society’s focus on the superficiality of marriage. Many readers assert that the engagement between Elizabeth Bennet and William Darcy diminishes the message of the satirical novel. However, Austen utilizes the marriage of Elizabeth Bennet and William Darcy to underline how marriage needs to be based on passion and admiration.
In the novel, Elizabeth Bennetand Darcy’s relationship represents the ideal relationship that people in Victorian society should attain for. In the novel, Austen satirizes the relationships of the secondary characters to highlight how wealth and status define a marriage. For example, Charlotte’s desire for a comfortable secure living situation led to an unfulfilling marriage: “I ask only a comfortable home; and considering Mr. Collins’s character, connection, and situation in life, I am convinced that my chance of happiness with him is as fair as most people can boast on entering the marriage state” (Austen 87). Joshua Rothman assertshow Charlotte’s desire for financial stability and unrewarding marriage was influenced by society’s stringent rules in marriage and social rank:
Charlotte’s been thinking about marriage for years, and she’s developed for herself a code of conduct for marriage, a set of rules that recognize the reality of her situation and direct her toward a solution. Long ago, she recognized that she was trapped in a social web; rather than ignoring her predicament, she set about understanding it…Charlotte, therefore, is too wealthy, educated, and upper-class to marry a working man—that would be a kind of social demotion for her family—but too poor and average-looking to attract a truly wealthy one. She can’t marry up or down—she can only marry sideways. She knows and understands all of this. Collins, awful as he is, is actually her social equal (Rothman).
Charlotte’s situation was very similar to a situation Austen had personally experienced. Austen did receive a proposal from a man who was very similar to Mr. Collins who was, “very plain in person—awkward, and even uncouth in manner… [but] marrying him would have given Austen a family life of her own, as well as financial security…” (Rothman). Even though Austen accepted the proposal that night, she experienced a “revulsion of feeling” and called the wedding off the next morning (Rothman). Austen utilizes the character Charlotte to underline how young women felt the heavy influence of society of making financial stability a priority in marriage. Even though Elizabeth felt this weight on her shoulders, she remained adamant about not marrying Mr. Collins.As Julia Brown asserts, while Elizabeth’s actions of declining the marriage to Mr. Collins, “is not ponderously portrayed as an act of courage,” Austen does highlight Elizabeth’s “exceptional spirit” due to her on financial situation (Brown). Through Elizabeth’s actions, Austen emphasizes how one’s happiness cannot be defined by wealth.
Elizabeth’s choice to choose happiness over wealth is also demonstrated when she turned down Darcy for the first proposal. Joseph Wiesenfarth discussed how Elizabeth had “a chance to make a mercenary marriage and refuses to take it: ‘You could not have made me the offer of your hand in any possible way that would have tempted me to accept it’” (Austen 131).However,after a change of heart, Elizabeth accepts the second proposal from Darcy:
She began now to comprehend that he was exactly the man, who, in disposition and talents, would most suit her. His understanding and temper, though unlike her own, would have answered all her wishes. It was a union that must have been to the advantage of both; by her ease and liveliness, his mind might have been softened, his manners improved, and from his judgment, information, and knowledge of the world, she must have received benefit of greater importance. (Austen 208-209)
Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet have a genuine connection that is not based on social rank or wealth, but on intrinsic qualities. Austen underlines how a strong foundation is vital in a marriage. Austen ridicules the relationships of secondary characters to highlight how many relationships in the Victorian era were malleable and focused on superficiality. Austen utilizes the relationship of the protagonists to highlight how people should desire a marriage that is based on respect and compassion.
The marriage between Elizabeth and Darcy also highlights essential character development for both protagonists in order to emphasize how people must continue to challenge their spouses in marriage. When Darcy first proposed to Elizabeth, Elizabeth was disgusted by Darcy’s actions since he did not act like a gentleman: “You are mistaken, Mr. Darcy, if you suppose that the mode of your declaration affected me in any other way, than as it spared me the concern which I might have felt in refusing you, had you behaved in a more gentleman-like manner” (Austen 131). These words had a profound impact on Darcy and eventually, he saw the error in his ways:
Your reproof, so well applied, I shall never forget: `had you behaved in a more gentleman-like manner.’ Those were your words. You know not, you can scarcely conceive, how they have tortured me;—though it was some time, I confess, before I was reasonableenough to allow their justice. (Austen 247)
The time between the first proposal and the second proposal marks extraordinary growth for both characters about their own values. Susan Kneedlerstates how Elizabeth Bennet’s reaction to Darcy’s first proposal pushes him to change his outlook on their relationship: “Such faith that if need be she can outlive her affection for Fitzwilliam Darcy is based on the new idea that he will be unworthy if he cannot continue to love…” (Kneeder). In addition, Kneeder argues that the second proposal is the answer to the vital question of whether Mr.Darcy can justify her affection. Austen underlines how people in a marriage need to challenge their spouses in order to grow as individuals. Austen argues that a marriage based on intrinsic characteristics than superficial qualities will lead to respect between the two individuals.
Austen highlights how respect and compassion are vital in marriage through Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet’s engagement. Ina Victorian society where wealth and social class dictated marriage, Austen demonstrates how a relationship that is focused on more than superficial qualities will improve the development of an individual.