Theme Of Women In Letter's To Alice

Improved Essays
As time progresses, societal norms and standards change. It is through the comparison of such texts where the reader can be enlightened on the ever-changing values that although similar in nature, have the potential to evoke varying responses from the reader. Two texts, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and Fay Weldon’s Letter’s to Alice although written nearly 200 years apart, explicitly relate and articulate the differing contexts and responses. Austen and Weldon explore themes of women’s roles and expectations in their respective societies, in particular in terms of education and marriage, similarly Weldon aims to enlighten the modern reader regarding the social restrictions place on women during the regency era. Whilst the perceptions vary, …show more content…
Whilst education is now readily available for women in the developed world, Weldon seeks to dispute its meaning in terms of the modern institutionalized way of teaching and learning through her epistolary novel written to a fictional niece. “Being able to visit the city of invention, that is what education should be about”, this extended metaphor referenced throughout chapter one suggests education no longer involving the human experience or creativity. Due do its epistolary form, a personal and trusting atmosphere is created, hence the reader is inclined to acknowledge Weldon’s beliefs. Weldon, irrespective of her seemingly rebellious nature, still shows the tradition life style associated with the 1980’s. The repeated reference to the literary canon and “Capital L Literature” suggests Weldon, although seemingly rebellious, also aims to counteract the issue of forgotten classics and lack of appreciation. This text seeks to be textually dynamic in nature, hence Weldon suggests “you must know how to read a novel, before setting out to write one”, not only does her succinct statement promote the preservation of classics, it too promote understanding context. Weldon promotes literature and enforcing Austen revolutionary character as she didn’t live “pleasing a husband” as the norms of the era would suggest, but rather lived a “literary life” …show more content…
Through the submissive characters in Austen novel, it is easy to evoke a prejudice response form the reader, however Weldon explicitly encourages readers to “understand… the world in which Jane Austen was born,” through this she recognizes the importance of marriage in the era. Weldon begs the reader not to persecute characters such as Mrs Bennet and Charlotte but rather show sympathy and allow Austen’s intention to promote change to echo, as the oppressive nature fought against in the second wave feminist movement was the social norm and marriage was a requirement for security. Furthermore Weldon's depiction of marriage juxtaposed with that of Austen’s context enhances the magnitude of differences. The juxtaposition and contrasting nature of the two is clear, whilst the modern representation is described as the “stuff of our women’s magazines”, suggesting marriage is an object of fashion and frivolity, and whilst for Austen’s time it was a female “very existence”. Similarly Weldon connects the two themes of marriage and education, while deeming love worthy of time, she attempts to stress education and experience should be of priority. . It is through Weldon's comparative means of description that the reader can understand the context of both Austen and Weldon’s

Related Documents

  • Superior Essays

    Educational material is utilised as a building block for social situations. Therefore, an individual’s public success is dependent on their literacy. Austen reprimands her society for the devalumnet of prose by satising its need in Pride and prejudice. The exclamation, “there is no enjoyment like reading!”, was uttered insincerely, yet inadvertently displays the importance of education to the point of pretence. However, simple enjoyment of literature is overshadowed by the cultural expectation that “women must have through knowledge".…

    • 945 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Darcy have to be able to use good discernment and be able to compromise in order for their relationship to progress. Jane Austen suggests that in order for a relationship to work there must be good judgement and agreement. In the letter from Mr. Darcy in the novel, Mr. Darcy is forward thinking and believes that he knows what will make a good or bad marriage. In Mr. Darcy’s letter, he states that he did not come between Jane and Mr. Bingley’s relationship solely because of the inadequate passion that he saw, but because a “connection” is important in a marriage (130). Jane Austen uses Mr. Darcy to show what friends will do too look out for each other.…

    • 1283 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Great Essays

    Darcy, instead of acquisitive dispositions. Weldon in Letters highlights the harsh realities of marriage in the Regency era in that women “lived well only by their husbands favour” to avoid imminent poverty. Aunt Fay’s niece, Alice, is encouraged to anticipate a different social environment to come to the realisation of the juxtaposing that, “[marriage] is the stuff of our women’s magazines but it was the stuff of their life”, heightening the social sphere Austen employed, through the hyperbolic contrasting of time periods. Hence, it is emphasised that during Weldon’s egalitarian society, women were not confined to observing conventions to become married and hence, they should seize opportunities available to avoid being a “dependent”. Therefore, Weldon’s exploration of marriage assists and impacts the responder’s understanding and interpretation of it and the way in which Austen expresses them in Pride compelling the responder to alternate their approach towards the value of…

    • 1098 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Letters To Alice Analysis

    • 718 Words
    • 3 Pages

    She advocates for the value of moral education and the importance of self-determination through her subversion of Aunt Fay's didactic voice. Fay preaches morality at Alice, by placing her own standards of education and values on her niece's shoulders. She believes in the importance of "Literation, with its capital 'L'". Aunt Fay also depicts education system as fallible and encourages instead the use of personal judgement and experience: "perhaps they will explain it to you better, at your English Literature course. I hope so.…

    • 718 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Instead of demanding that John Adams include the rights of women when drafting new laws, she quietly pleads him to have mercy upon the women by incorporating rights for them inside of his new decrees. Although readers may see her tacit requests as a sign of inferiority, they are effective because they come across as humbleness instead of inferiority. She manages to display class and self-control while still advocating for the resolution of the unfair…

    • 723 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Women In Jane Eyre

    • 966 Words
    • 4 Pages

    Yet, it still has a long way to go to achieve its ultimate goal of equality of the sexes. The article and the novel demonstrate how society’s expectations can change how a person makes decisions through examples of feminist ideals and sexualization of females. In the article, girls are often unfairly dress coded for “distracting boys”. Thus teaching girls that their bodies are essentially objects so they should change what they wear so they do not distract any males. The novel portrays the character, Jane Eyre, as a strong, independent woman who practices feminist ideals.…

    • 966 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Great Essays

    Gender Issues In Jane Eyre

    • 1955 Words
    • 8 Pages

    Jane’s nonconforming views towards love, marriage, and womanly independence in addition to her development of individual moral standards portrays Bronte’s cynicism towards the Victorian society. This topic appeals to me because Jane believes that she should be seen for her personal qualities and not for what society wants her to be as a woman. This was a prime example of someone who had an idea before their time, which is why the novel received various criticisms from conservative reviewers. Jane called for a strong social reform, and the changes that she wanted occurred much later. Although there are still instances of women’s repression in the workplace, on the playing field, or in the home, social attitudes and gender roles have modernized significantly since the 19th century.…

    • 1955 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Improved Essays

    There are a few important themes which are treated again and again in the novels of Jane Austen, though in each case the novelist is able to impart something of freshness and novelty to the treatment. The business of getting people engaged and married is one of the important themes which the novelist takes up for the treatment in novel after novel. Jane Austen, sharing the opinion commonly held by her contemporaries and satisfied with the conditions that prevailed, was of the view that a young women should marry for love certainly, but in satisfactory conditions. Austen gives object lesson to show how careful a young woman should be in marrying well, by describing the misconditions. Key Words: Love, Marriage, Pride, Prejudice, Mannerism.…

    • 1096 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Great Essays

    Furthermore, Weldon suggests in her metaphor “the writer of a bestseller should not run gleefully to the bank, but bow his head beneath the weight of so much terrifying responsibility” signifying the obligations of the author to provide moral instruction which reflects Austen’s advocation of prudence and integrity in the interior discourse “I (Elizabeth) am happier even than Jane; she only smiles, I laugh”. Hence, through the exploration of connections between her context and Austen, Weldon enables the reader to comprehend the importance of instructional novels regardless of societal…

    • 1204 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Yes there are instances where women are easily persuaded, but that does not make them manipulative and set to ruin lives like Walter Map and many others have thought before him. The gendered views on marriage are tackled well in Austen’s Persuasion as she puts men and women on an equal field and portrays the values as well as pitfalls of constancy and inconstancy of…

    • 941 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Superior Essays