Sunday, October 13, 2019

Womens Rights in Pride and Prejudice & Persuasion by Jane Austen Essay

â€Å"Are women allowed to say No†, in Pride and Prejudice / Persuasion by Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice (whose original title was First Impressions) was written in 1796-1797 when Jane Austen was 21 years old and first published in 1813. It tells us the story of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy, who will overcome the pride and prejudice they feel towards each other to find mutual happiness. Persuasion was written between 1815 and 1816. The main character, Anne Elliot, has suffered unhappiness after taking her family’s and friend’s advice to reject a man she loves. The â€Å"truth universally acknowledged† in the opening lines of Pride and Prejudice â€Å"that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife† defines the plot of the novels and highlights the importance of marriage and of marrying well. It is Mrs Bennet’s â€Å"business† of life to get her five daughters married and in Persuasion it is in her role as surrogate mother to Anne that Lady Russell has persuaded Anne to turn down a marriage she considers beneath her. Given this background, I have chosen to angle this essay towards a question that is also valid today, namely, are women allowed to say no? Austen writes of the small gentry, the rural elite, and in considering this question, it is crucial to have an understanding of the prevailing social distinctions, the expectations for women of this class and the limited options available to them, as well as the inheritance laws of the time. The rural elite of Austen’s novels are members of the upper middle-class. They are not the aristocracy (although Mr Darcy belongs to the aristocracy), but their connections and education give them the right to mix with high society, as well as to marry with people of h... ...vailing attitudes and inheritance laws, it would be considered perfectly normal, wise even, for women to enter into a marriage which was financially advantageous, although loveless, in order to ensure financial security for themselves and the other members of their family. In other words, it would be entirely normal for women not to be allowed to say â€Å"no†. Bibliography: AUSTEN, Jane, Persuasion, Penguin Classics, 1998 AUSTEN, Jane, Pride and Prejududice, Oxford World’s Classics, 2004 CRIPPEN RUDERMAN, Anne, The pleasures of Virtue, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 1995 MUKHERJEE, Meenakshi, women Writers, Macmillan, 1991 FERGUS, Jan, Jane Austen A Literary Life, Macmillan Literary Lives, 1991 WILTHSHIRE, John, recreating Jane Austen, Cambridge University Press, 2002 York Notes Advanced, Longman York Press

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