Pride will discuss the reasonsfor the careful
Pride and Prejudice: MarriageEssay written by Maria EngstromIntroductionFor this essay, I chose to read the perhaps most famous book by the English author Jane Austen.During the reading I was thinking about which theme I should choose to write about and analyze, andeventually I felt that marriage was the central keyword in the book. I will concentrate on the situationof the daughters in the family, since these are the best described in the novel. My dealing withdifferent ideals and problems within a marriage will be illustrated with examples from the text.
Analysis”Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance. If the dispositions of the parties are ever sowell known to each other, or ever so similar beforehand, it does not advance their felicity in the least.They always continue to grow sufficiently unlike afterwards to have their share of vexation; and it isbetter to know as little as possible of the defects of the person with whom you are to pass your life.” This is a quote from Charlotte Lucas, one of the female characters in the novel, and a quote whichvery well exemplify the general feelings against marriage for the period and the people in upperclassEngland. Marriage is central for all characters in the novel: not just daughters and sons, but parents, aunts,uncles and everybody else who has some interest in the subject. Though it is of course most in theinterest of the daughter herself to get married, the interests of the own family can be important for thechoice of husband and wife.
It is not appropriate for the daughter to choose whoever she likes for herhusband, which she- if she wants a happy marriage- is not very likely to do. I will discuss the reasonsfor the careful choice of a proper husband below. “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be inwant of a wife” This is the first line in the novel, which clearly shows the connection between money and marriage. Itlies in the interest of a woman to marry a man with a fortune, or at least some good deal of money.The husband is meant to support his wife, since he is the one with a profession and she is not(something that will be discussed further down). So, naturally, personal attractions are weighedagainst financial considerations.
This is why Mrs. Gardiner does not think Wickham a very prudentman for Elizabeth; because of his want of fortune. Or as Jane says when she hears of Lydia’selopement with Wickham: “So imprudent a match on both sides!…
my father can give her nothing”.Since money is so important, Wickham tries to elope with Georgiana Darcy only because of herfortune of 30,000 since the property of a woman automatically becomes the property of the husbandin the marriage. Marriage was therefore a great security for a happy life since there was nothing like the socialsecurity, old age pensions or health insurances we are provided with today. “If you go on refusing every offer of marriage, you will never get a husband — and I am sure I do notknow who is to maintain you when your father is dead.” The sentence above is the quoting of Mrs. Bennet to Elizabeth after the refusal of Mr. Collinsproposal.
The statement reflects the situation for women in the novel and during this period. Noprofessions (politics, university-related etc.) were open for women of the genteel classes, soindependence on the woman’s hand almost never occurred. The only “profession” available was thatof being a governess, which meant educating the daughters of a family, but this was a job with lowworking conditions and lowly paid.
Therefore women had to marry their life into money, happiness anda secured future (if they did not by chance happened to inherit a large sum of money.) As CharlotteLucas thoughts before accepting the proposal of Mr. Collins are pictured in the novel: “Without thinking highly either of men or of matrimony, marriage had always been her object; it wasthe only honourable provision for well-educated young women of small fortune, and however uncertainof giving happiness, must be their pleasantest preservative from want.
” It was certainly not appropriate that young, unmarried women lived outside the family although shemight be an heiress. Young women were thought of incapable of living their own lives, it seems, sothe daughter stayed within the family til the day she got married and moved to her husband’s estate.A woman who never got married could therefore expect a life in her parents’ house for the rest of herlife; what was called being a ‘dependant’. Marriage was accordingly the only key to a life outside thefamily. The case of an elopement, as with Lydia and Wickham, where the family is leaven withouttheir permission, is looked upon as something rather radical and misfortunate for the family, for thereasons given above as well as financial ones in this very case. When the daughter once had chosen her husband, the connection was a permanent one sincedivorces were very uncommon during this period (and misfortunate for the family’s good name, onecan imagine).
One way for a husband to divorce his wife would be on grounds of sexual infidelity onthe wife’s hand. This was, however, not an easy path to a divorce. Except from getting the permissionof the Parliament to sue the wife, these different steps costed a good deal of money, which lead toonly the rich being able afford divorces. ConclusionMarriage is the main subject in the novel, as well as for people of this period. The maybe mostimportant condition for a happy marriage is money besides love family relations. The situation of thewomen in the novel does not allow them any kind of deviant acting since a happy marriage is the onlygoal for them. Though this is the general atmosphere in the novel, I would like to end my essay withthe words of Mr.
Bennet to his daughter Elizabeth on her accepting Mr. Darcy’s proposal, which standlike an anti-thesis of the otherwise general view of the perfect marriage: “He is rich, to be sure, and you may have more fine clothes and fine carriages than Jane. But willthey make you happy?”Words/ Pages : 1,187 / 24