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2012 Prompt: How the Cultural Surroundings Affect Characters in Love vs. Wealth and Power

  • Date Submitted: 03/04/2013 02:07 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 58.2 
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For centuries, the Royal Family of England remains deeply powerful and popular in English culture. It was a media frenzy when Prince Harry and his bride Catherine were married, and the Queen of England is a worldwide figure. Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice takes place in a culture and time that is drastically different from today’s modern England. The novel’s overall issue is a family’s struggle to get their five daughters married to financially well-off men since the family’s money is held up (unless they have a son). Having a son was the only way that the Bennet’s legacy could continue, and with Mr. and Mrs. Bennet being an old age, they are unable to continue to have children. The primary characters’ psychologies and moral decisions are affected by the cultural and physical surroundings of 1790s England, and this ambiance drives the relationships and conflicts between most characters in the novel. The character’s affected interactions also illuminate Austen’s main point: love versus wealth and economic power, and how in the end with true love, you don’t need riches.
In these modern times, most people marry one for affectionate reasons. They perhaps meet in high school or college, live together for a couple of years, and then wed. However, this is not the case in this novel. The ultimate goal of living as a woman in this time period was to marry a well-rounded and wealthy spouse. This was the widely accepted culture of England, and is the underlying issue that every woman in this novel must face and conquer. Without this marriage, the women would become spinsters, and lose the appeal of other men (as well as the admiration of their family and the community around them). The challenge of this expectation rooted unnatural personalities in each girl, forcing them to change in order to become appealing to the man of their ambition. Elizabeth Bennet’s best friend Charlotte Lucas, for example, bends her morals and her own personal likeness in order to elope with Mr....

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