Pride and Prejudice Research Paper

2594 words 11 pages
Amber Kakish
Professor Davis
English 1A
12 December 2011
A Progressive Work in a Conservative Time Pride and Prejudice, a Jane Austen novel, is one of the most classical pieces of literature in history. It has been evaluated and critiqued a countless number of times, and has been adapted into several films. It can be argued that there is a lot to be retained by readers from this literary work, an important message that can be passed down from generation to generation. During Jane Austen’s time, in the early 1800’s, women were around to be married off, bear children, and cater to their man. Men were meant to work and instruct their women, and the more money you had, the more respected you were. A woman’s goal in life was to marry
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It can definitely be argued that this is indeed a conservative novel because almost everyone’s intentions throughout the story are to marry for convenience, wealth, and social status. However, it can also be argued that Austen’s exact opinions and viewpoints are expressed through Elizabeth’s actions and beliefs. A well-known and respected literary critic of Austen, Claudia L. Johnson, explains, “In all of Austen’s novels, but especially Pride and Prejudice, pursuing happiness is the business of life” (349). Elizabeth is one of the few characters to actually realize that she does not want a life of convenience or wealth- she just wants to be happy. This stance is very different from most of the opinions of those around her during her time period. In a Jane Austen magazine, author Laura Boyle states in her article, “In the first volume, Darcy is “bewitched” by Elizabeth Bennet, but in the second he loses her. The third volume starts with his coming to a mature love for her and he wins his bride. Austen does not show us romantic tenderness in Pride and Prejudice from Elizabeth for much of the novel.” The action of Mr. Darcy “losing” Elizabeth is a very non-conservative one. In an ideal conservative situation, a man of wealth would never, under any circumstance, lose any woman, and especially one that he is actually interested in. By the end of the novel, Elizabeth does indeed marry Mr. Darcy for nothing other than love, and complete

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