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Pride and Prejudice: Shows Through the Scope of Love and Marriage

  • Date Submitted: 04/23/2010 04:47 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 44.8 
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Pride and Prejudice
The narrator of this novel portrays to the reader a view of 18th century upper class English society and displays the social values that were considered important at the time. These are shown through the scope of love and marriage, and the different attitudes toward each. It is clear that the most important factors in finding a suitable match included class, reputation, money and the possibility of social advancement in Napoleonic England through marriage.
The opening line “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife” stands out as one of the most famous in literary history and introduces the reader to society’s preoccupation with socially advantageous marriages. By stating this, the narrator also implies that the same must be equally true for a single woman whose social and economic options are limited.
Mrs. Bennett states, “If I can see one of my daughters happily settled at Netherfield, and all the others equally married, I shall have nothing to wish for.” This confirms the idea that the most important pursuit for a young woman at the time was considered to be finding a husband. It is when her daughters begin their search for a husband that we can identify the values and beliefs of their society. This quote from the excerpt from Chapter 3, “Mr. Bingley was good looking, and gentlemanlike; he had a pleasant countenance, and easy, unaffected manners” shows one of the most important factors, that he was a gentleman. This means he was well dressed, had a good strong upbringing from a reputable family, and that he acted with decorum. The introduction of Mr. Darcy and the subsequent reports of “his having ten thousand a year” stress that not only were looks and manner revered, but also finances were considered to be most important. Society looked upon Darcy as the richest man; therefore he was the most eligible bachelor because of his wealth. The narrator does not...

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