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pride_and_prejudice_draft 2

pride_and_prejudice_draft 2 - Jane Austen was a progressive...

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Jane Austen was a progressive woman for her time. She was born in the 18 th century into a middle class family. Her mother was born into a lower class unlike her father who was in the upper class. Jane became a writer and her brothers became men in the military and clergy. One was granted a knighthood. This gave her the opportunity to experience life from the perspective of all classes of people and to observe their cultural behaviors. Jane's observations on life are illustrated in the theme of her book Pride and Prejudice. When describing Elizabeth Bennett’s experiences, Jane Austen gives the reader indications about societal views regarding women and one independent spirit's rebellion against the status quo. Elizabeth Bennett had narrow options during her time but challenged what was expected of her. Elizabeth followed her passion and not societal views that dictated how she should behave and whom she should marry. She waited until she found both love and money rather than marrying for security as was expected in that day. Elizabeth Bennett was expected to accept her first offer of marriage. Regardless of expectations, she did not marry Mr. Collins because she objected to his arrogance and demeanor. Confirming Elizabeth's assessment of his character, Mr. Bennett was indifferent to whether she married him or not. Elizabeth's mother was infuriated. She knew that if anything happened Mr. Collins would inherit their home, and had strategically planned her daughters’ encounters with certain suitors each for a different advantage in society through social connections. Elizabeth’s lack of acquiescence to her mother's plans was unheard of and unacceptable because most young women wanted to marry as soon as they had an offer. This shows Elizabeth’s power not to sway to society’s norms. Men traditionally had more power in determining marriages in this society. 1
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Regardless of the young woman's right of refusal, society continued to assert peer pressure and class pressure on the woman to agree to requests. Many women of lesser courage or stamina would accede to familial wishes. Elizabeth by pursuing her own course of action and beliefs became a progressive woman. The ability to control fate through marriage is a revolutionary step forward for women.
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