Analysis Of The Opening Chapter Of Pride And Prejudice

2674 words - 11 pages

Analysis of the Opening Chapter of Pride and Prejudice

The opening sentence of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ tells is the main theme
of the entire novel, marriage. ‘It is a truth universally
acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must
be in want of a wife.’

The novel is based upon the theme of marriage, finding a potential
husband who has ‘sufficient funds’. Jane, Elizabeth, Lydia, Kitty and
Mary all wish to find themselves husbands so that they can be married
off to a man who has a large annual wage and also a large inheritance.
In the days of when ‘Pride and Prejudice’ was set (in the 1800s),
inheritance and yearly wage were very important factors which women
looked for in a man as they longed for financial security for when
they were older. The girls in the novel, had to marry because if they
didn’t have any brothers, their fortune and estate could be lost to a
male blood relative, leaving them homeless and penniless. Therefore
marriage was a very important factor in their lives and also in this
novel. Jane Austen wanted her book to portray normal life, with normal
people, so it was essential that she included marriage in her novel.

Although, this is what Jane Austen tells us that most men want a wife
once they have a large financial status, Mr Darcey is an exception to
this rule which Jane Austen has created. Obviously, the rule is an
exaggeration, but this may be how it seems to her, that all men want a
wife. Mr Darcey does not have a wife, yet he seems content and doesn’t
seem to be searching for a wife. This may be that Mr Darcey does not
want a wife from a lower social class than his, as we find out later
on in the novel, Mr Darcey does not know how to act around people who
are n the lower social classes than him. So therefore, he would not
wish to marry any of the Bennet sisters.

The second sentence of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ also follows on with the
theme of marriage and finding a suitable husband. ‘However little
known the feelings or views of such a man maybe on his first entering
a neighbourhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the
surrounding families, that he is considered as the rightful property
of some one or other of their daughters.’

This quotation explains to us that the women do not need to know how
these men feel or their thoughts. Even if he has just entered the
village they (villagers) are all just thinking whether or not he would
make a good future husband depending on his wealth and size of his
estate. The women did not really care about their husbands, but as
long as they provided them with financial security, the wives were
happy. Any man could be thought of as a marriage possibility, so this
is why this is such a main, important theme for the book.

In the novel , the Bennet sisters need to gain financial status...

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