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During the eighteenth century, the English social life in early eighteenth century such as marriage and social class has been described clearly. The society used marriage as a way to find both financial and romantic fulfillment. Men have great advantages than women in the society because they are more entitled to inherit the land and money that is left off to them from their family and from their wife’s family. Specifically, women get less material resources, social status, and power. Therefore, women’s way to find security and assurance is to marry a wealthy men which can also advance her into a higher rank in the society. Throughout the novel ​Pride and Prejudice ​by Jane Austen, it describes how the society in the 1800s treats men and women differently. The novel introduces marriage in the society through the views of Feminist and Marxist lenses, where the purpose of marriage for women at that time was necessity rather than a choice and was financial gain.

Marriage is one of the main themes in the novel ​Pride and Prejudice​. In the 1800s, men have a lot of power over women. They have greater advantages compared to women, specifically; material resources, social status and power. ​“But even for women who have money, marriage is necessary to secure their social positions and ensure financial stability for the future.”​ (Zhang, 2015). Elizabeth Bennet, the second child of the five sisters is being force by her mother to marry her cousin Collins. ​“Oh! My dear, I cannot bear to hear that mentioned.

Pray do not talk of that odious man. I do think it is the hardest thing in the world that your estate should be entailed away from your own children; and I am sure if I had been you, I should have tried long ago to do something or other about it.”​ (Austen, 62)​. ​This quote depicts how society can force a women to marry her cousin to keep their estate and secure their economic problems as they only have daughters and not a son to inherit their properties. Women in the 1800s does not have any shares when it comes to the money and property that their parents gained. It is always the men who will inherit their properties and left nothing to women. The quote shows how women gets less of material resources because the Bennets properties will go to someone who is a close relative from them, which is Mr Collins. Another example of feminist lens seen in the novel is, the female characters in the novel have less power over men. ​“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of wife. However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be 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 someone or other of their daughters.” ​(Austen, 9).

According to this quote, it shows how a single men is in want to have a wife. This means men have a lot of choices on choosing their wives, although women in 1800s, their husbands are chosen by their families. It makes a women feel powerless because they cannot chose the man that they will love and live with their entire life. Women will always have to choose a wealthy men to secure their families economy which she can get through her husband’s property. Therefore, they feel powerless because their families get to choose who they will marry and love.

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Lastly, a women like Elizabeth is a good example of a feminist. She speaks up and does not let men treat her like she a weak or silly women who a man can easily fool. An example to this is Mr. Collins asking for her hand, but Elizabeth does not want to marry him. ​’Indeed, Mr. Collins, all praise of me will be unnecessary. You must give me leave to judge for myself, and pay me the complement of believing what I say. I wish you very happy and very rich, and by refusing your hand, do all in my power to prevent your being otherwise. In making me the offer, you must have satisfied the delicacy of your feelings with regard to my family, and may take possession of Longbourn estate whenever it falls, without any self-reproach. This matter may be considered, therefore, as finally settled.’​ (Austen, 104). This quote shows how Elizabeth points out to Mr. Collins the equality of men and women. She expresses that right of women to choose and make their own decisions, which her decision is that she would rather lose their Longbourn property than being married to her cousin. Elizabeth did not want to sacrifice her happiness of being married to a man the she will love forever, with this she stand up for herself by telling Mr Collins her right to choose and decide what is best for her. Therefore, the inequality that the women receive during 1800s has helped them grew in a best and inspirational figure for the future generations. ​“Women finding their own voice and independence …. These women take what they want. They are not shrinking into submission, but finding a rather unapologetic voice arguing for their autonomy over their lives.” ​(DeForte, 2016). This quote from the article shows that women were pushed against the societal expectations but still managed to develop toward their potential. They were able to express themselves as woman who have a moral and right to speak and do what she needs to o to develop herself.

Moreover, the novel is also viewed in a marxist lens. The characters in the novel are come from a different status or different kind of class where it makes woman look for and marry a rich men. What marriage means for a lower class women is finding a man that can sustain their needs and secure them for the rest of their lives. An example for this can be Elizabeth’s best friend Charlotte. She marries Mr. Collins right after she heard the news that Elizabeth declines his proposal. According to Charlotte, she would rather marry a man that has enough money to secure her for life rather than marrying someone who she loves.​“You must be surprised, very much surprised—so lately as Mr Collins was wishing to marry you. But when you have had time to think it over, I hope you will be satisfied with what I have done. I am not romantic, you know; I never was. I ask only a comfortable home; and considering Mr Collins’ character, connection, and situation in life, I am convinced that my chance of happiness with him is as fair as most people can boast on entering the marriage state.” ​(Austen, 119)​.​ This explains why Charlotte marries Mr. Collins because she wants her future to be secure which is what she really wants in the first place. It also explains, how she is contented with the life that she will have with Mr. Collins because she will be in a comfortable house, and the idea of security is what she wants and needs. Aside from Charlotte, Mrs. Bennett likes to go to parties and bring her daughters with her to introduce them to wealthy men and to show them off. She tries to keep a good relationship with the upper class to gain money and power. She wants her daughters to marry a wealthy man because she believes that this will make them secured in life and those men can give them a nice life.​ “​Mothers and fathers spent much time searching for the the best possible spouse for their child, in order to benefit the family.” ​(British Literature Wiki, nd).​ ​Mrs. Bennet spends her time looking for a wealthy husband to marry her daughters. It is because in her younger years it was her goal to marry a wealthy man, however she was not able to reach that goal. She fell in love and married Mr Bennet who is from a lower class, that is why Mrs. Bennett pushes her daughters to marry a rich man so they can have a better future.​“Oh! my sweetest Lizzy! how rich and how great you will be! What pin-money, what jewels, what carriages you will have! Jane’s is nothing to it–nothing at all. I am so pleased–so happy. Such a charming man!–so handsome! so tall! … A house in town! Every thing that is charming! Three daughters married! Ten thousand a year! Oh, Lord! What will become of me…” ​(Austen, 342). This quote shows that Mrs Bennet is not only interest for Elizabeth getting a good and bright future, but the idea of how much money she will get and status if Elizabeth marries Darcy excites her. For Mrs Bennet, what only interest her is gaining money from the wealthy man by pushing Elizabeth to marry him.

Marxist views is not only seen through women marrying a wealthy men or being pushed by a family member to marry some that is wealthy in order to gain power and money. But it also seen through wealthy man like Darcy. Darcy pays Wickham to marry Lydia is an example of Marxist lens because it shows how money runs the society. ​’How strange!’ cried Elizabeth. ‘How abominable! I wonder that the very pride of this Mr. Darcy has not made him just to you! If from no better motive, that he should not have been too proud to be dishonest–for dishonesty I must call it.’ ​(Austen, 80). This just shows how a person will do anything for money and earning more money to have more power over other people. Even though, Wickham’s love for Lydia is only an infatuation, the fact that Darcy offers a huge amount of money to him with a deal did not make him think twice to marry Lydia.​ “… ​happiness has nothing to do with money or social status, that happiness is a soulful unification of the realities of life outside ones entity no matter how grisly they may be.”​ (Ashfaq and Khattak, 2015). In this quote from the article, it describes how money affects the social status of the novel by not giving any happiness to the characters. Therefore, it also connects with marxist lens because even though how wealthy a person is, there are still people trying to use them for money.

In conclusion, in the 1800s women are not seen to be important to the society. Their duty is to stay home, take good care of their children, cook and clean the house. The society did not treat them well; they underestimate them, and treat them unfairly. They did not have enough freedom to choose who they will marry because their families chooses it for them.Furthermore, the characters in the novel tries to keep a good relation with the upper class to gain power and money that they never have. Mrs Bennet, is one of the characters in the novel that pushes her daughters to marry for money and social status. She wants Elizabeth to marry Mr Collins since Mr Bennet does not have a son, their estate is entailed to him. The Feminist and Marxist lenses has affected the decisions of the characters in the novel of who is they should marry. Marriage revolves around the desire of certain characters to gain a social status and money from a man who is wealthy and is able to support them throughout their lives. The novel Pride and Prejudice circles around; marriage, money, and wealth which makes them marry a person for their money but not for love. It shows how money runs the society during the 1800s, women will marry a rich men for her to have a social status, have a stable life and advance her rank into the society.

Works Cited

  1. Ashfaq, S., & Khattak, N. J. (2015). Of Life and Happiness: Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. The Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 23(2), 9. Retrieved from http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A452604157/GPS?u=ko_k12hs_d62&sid=GPS&xid=c912f9ca
  2. DeForte, Jenna. ‘An Unfounded Universal Truth: A Contemporary Feminist Understanding of Pride and Prejudice.’ ​The Review: A Journal of Undergraduate Student Research​ 17 (2016): -.Web. [June 8, 2019]. .
  3. Social and Family Life in the Late17th & Early 18th Centuries. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://sites.udel.edu/britlitwiki/social-and-family-life-in-the-late17th-early-18th-centuries/
  4. Zhang, Luyan. “On Marriage in Eighteenth-century England.” (2015). [PDF file]. Retrieved from: ​http://www.cetljournal.co.uk/ http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A452604157/GPS?u=ko_k12hs_d62&sid=GPS&xid=c912f9ca
  5. http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A452604157/GPS?u=ko_k12hs_d62&sid=GPS&xid=c912f9ca
  6. https://fisherpub.sjfc.edu/ur/vol17/iss1/9
  7. https://sites.udel.edu/britlitwiki/social-and-family-life-in-the-late17th-early-18th-centuries/
  8. http://www.cetljournal.co.uk/

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