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Pride and Prejudice

  • Date Submitted: 11/11/2013 03:08 PM
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Anne Boehringer
Pride and Prejudice Essay
October 28th, 2013

From the first, very famous sentence of Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen introduces to her readers a view of, not love, but marriage, concepts that in 19th century England were not necessarily very closely related. Austen portrays class divisions and struggles through the relationships between the characters in the novel, chiefly the relationship between Darcy and Elizabeth. Pride and Prejudice reflects how relationships were determined by wealth and class status in pre-industrial England. Austen presents the reader with four marriages, each based around different motivations including lust, economic stability, beauty and most importantly, love.
Mr. and Mrs. Bennett’s marriage is shown in its later years, when it is obvious that their union was both unsuccessful and unfulfilling. While their marriage may have seemed like a good idea when they were young and naive, it is obvious that once Mrs. Bennet's beauty faded and each person's true character was revealed, their marriage became a failure. As Austen describes in the first chapter, their personalities are clearly not well matched: "Mr. Bennet was so odd a mixture of quick parts, sarcastic humour, reserve and caprice, that the experience of three and twenty years had been insufficient to make his wife understand his character. Her mind was less difficult to develop" (Austen 3).
They do not get along, as they are constantly insulting or ignoring one another, and their lack of stability and ill-matching has had a very negative impact on their children.. The combination of Mr. Bennet's indifference and Mrs. Bennet's frivolousness has resulted in their three youngest daughters growing up without any real intelligence or seriousness. Therefore, Mr. and Mrs. Bennet have not only done harm to each other, but they have also done a great disservice their daughters and their upbringing. The novel's opening lines set the criteria for future relationships:...


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