Elizabeth Bennet In Pride And Prejudice

1703 words - 7 pages

Individuality refers to the character or qualities which distinguish one person from another. One’s uniqueness constitutes a strong distinctiveness in his/her character. Thus, when this sense of character is juxtaposed against the concept of individuality, the mutual association results in the inherent emergence of a person’s true identity. Although the distinguishing of separate individuals’ personalities remains admired in today’s society, there existed a time in which the pursuit of uniqueness in character and personality was discouraged. This held especially true for women in Regency England in the 1800s. A woman in this time period, respectively the setting of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, endured numerous pressures and overwhelmingly strict rules from societal norms in order to obtain proper placement in society. Women of the time most importantly should marry, and marry well, primarily to obtain the substantially vital possession of an exceptional reputation, and also to support their family and retain a good name. In addition, women held considerably inferior societal positions to men, having strict sociable allowances to only partake in balls, dances, and dinners. These contribute to a woman acquiring a greater extent of connections, which in turn increases their chance of marrying well. However, Jane Austen does in fact present a character that ultimately triumphed over the particular stereotype of women in pursuit of her own ideals. Elizabeth Bennet, the protagonist and heroine of Pride and Prejudice, conveys a powerful sense of independence, remains very outspoken of her views, and a reason for marrying which all contradict the stereotypical woman of the time. Elizabeth is an extremely atypical female for her time, for she invariably refuses to allow the loss of her individualism and personal identity in a society which encourages women to do exactly that.Initially, Elizabeth’s attitude of independence induces her to act on the instinct of her unique ideals; her sense of self reliance eventually causing a mass of pride and prejudice to formulate around her thoughts and dialogue. “No, indeed I do not wish to avoid the walk, for the distance is nothing when one has a motive; only three miles” (28). Elizabeth acts in direct defiance towards her mother, and even though she expects to create a negative first impression, her own concerns (such as the well-being of her sister), prevail as a top priorities in her independent mind. She also walks alone, signifying the scarcity of independence exhibited by women of the 1800s, particularly towards situations that could potentially threaten ones reputation, such as Elizabeth’s walk in the mud. “To such perseverance in willful self-deception Elizabeth would make no reply, and immediately and in silence withdrew, determined, that if he persisted in considering her repeated refusals as flattering encouragement, to apply to her father, whose...

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