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Pride And Prejudice: Social Class Essay

1570 words - 6 pages

Pride and Prejudice was first published in 1813 and it depicts key themes in society and the impact these themes had on life for the characters in the novel. One of these themes is social class, which was a chief contributor to the characters problems in the story. Social class is an underlying issue in the lives of the characters and greatly affects the decisions they make during the novel. Every character is aware of the importance of social standing and it becomes a key factor in the development of each individual in Pride and Prejudice. Mrs. Bennet is the mother of five daughters and she is desperate to have them married. Elizabeth wants to marry for love and not social gain. Charlotte is the example of what a woman was expected to be in society and does not agree with Elizabeth and she is content to secure a future. While Lydia runs the risk of disgracing her family by running a riot around town. This is a clear example of social class and the different perspective characters express on the topic.

Mrs. Bennet attempts to marry off her daughters to the best possible men. This was recognised by everyone and she often appeared to embarrass her daughters whenever she spoke. In her eyes the men she wanted for her daughters were wealthy, socially powerful and polite men. The idea that her daughters should marry for gain in material aspects of life was much more important for Mrs. Bennet than for her daughters to marry someone they were in love with. She believed that the family should organize the arrangement, seeing as the young girls are under the care of the family. Mrs. Bennet believes "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife." Therefore, she believes her effort to have her children married is an advantage to both parties. Mrs. Bennet is of the firm belief that a daughter should serve her parents and respect their wishes.

She is also very smart in trying to marry off all of her daughters as soon as possible. The key reason was that women at this time depended on the men in their life to survive, it may have been their father or their husband but they relied heavily on the males in their lives. Because Mrs. Bennet and her daughters were so heavily reliant on Mr. Bennet, Mrs. Bennet was completely justified in trying to have her daughters married off to the richest and most socially advanced bachelors. She was also very aware of a women's role in society and knew that marriage was what society had in stall for them.

Charlotte is a neighbour and friend of Elizabeth, who is older and unmarried at the beginning of the story. She is simple in her values and does not question a women's role in society. Charlotte's main achievement in the story occurred when she was able to secure a proposal of marriage from Mr. Collins after he had been rejected by Elizabeth, who asked why she accepted. Charlotte explained "I am not a romantic you know. I never was. I only ask...

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