Jane Austen's Portrayal Of Marriage Essay

934 words - 4 pages

Jane Austen is a well known and loved author. Some of her novels of romantic fiction have been turned into films and they have aroused intense emotional attachments among the readers and viewers. Her books have become the basis for the true love romance story since their appearance on the literary scene. Today, Jane Austen is as popular as ever and revered as much as any literary figure in history because of her realism and biting social commentary. Austen’s plots highlight the dependence of women on marriage to secure social standing and economic security, and moral issues. Marriage was crucial because it was the only accessible form of self-definition for girls on society. Some critics suggest that her novels are based on her own life, that the character of the protagonist is herself. She wrote some her novels in Bath a place in London were she lived. This can be proved in her novels Persuasion and Northanger Abbey.
Her two heroines lived in Bath some time and it marks a change in their lives. In Northanger Abbey she uses her brother’s name to name a character who is actually the brother of her protagonist in the book, Catherine Morland. Something very peculiar about her stories is that she focuses in the importance of marriage and how her protagonist always end the books with a happy marriage with their beloved man; even though she never got married. However, Jane Austen uses matrimony as more than a plot device. In fact, she had her own purpose and mission in her description of marriage.
In Northanger Abbey, when Henry dances with Catherine at the Pump-Room, his comparison of dancing to marriage reveals Henry’s intentions. Henry can see the dance as a symbol of something more than what it is physically “It is an engagement between man and woman”. He says:
I consider a country dance as an emblem of marriage. Fidelity and complaisance are the principal duties of both; those men who do not choose to dance or marry themselves, have no business with the partners or wives of their neighbors. (51)
Catherine considers the fact that “They are such a very different things. People that marry can never part, but must go and keep house together. People that dance only stand opposite each other in a long room for half an hour” (51). She fails to understand Henry’s metaphor but he defends his point with a series of logical appeals. Even he points out the many similarities of the two, Catherine feels uncertain about taking a stance. Here it is described that men goals were not a molded woman but an intelligent and freethinking wife. And there here again is a referring to the relation of the author’s life and her story. The character of Catherine Morland also shows that Austen had a strong opinion about marriage without love “And to marry...

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