Feminism In Pride And Prejudice By Jane Austen

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Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen has been viewed as a feminist novel for many years, and yet chief elements of the novel when looked at collectively argue against such a reading. If feminism is the belief that the world oppresses women, limiting their opportunities and rendering them subordinate to men, then Pride and Prejudice seems to be a part of that world feminism opposes. It is comfortable with gender discrimination and does not strongly advocate for women to be treated differently. Therefore, Pride and Prejudice cannot be considered a feminist novel because it describes money and power as corrupting to women, marriage as the greatest ambition of women but at the expense of their intellectual development and autonomy, and relationships …show more content…
All of those instances are antifeminist. Two significant instances, the marriage of Charlotte Lucas and Elizabeth, do not promote independent economic security, but rather the need to accept dependence upon a man. Even Elizabeth’s singular idea of marrying for love carries within it an association of love with economic security a man provides. Marriage is portrayed as the most fundamental ambition in a woman’s life, because it is also a means of acquiring economic stability, not autonomy or independence. Charlotte Lucas explains her perception of marriage to Elizabeth after accepting Mr. Collins’s proposal when she says, “I ask only a comfortable home; and considering Mr. Collins 's 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" (123). The word “only” implies that Charlotte is okay with not being happy; there might be other things that Charlotte wants, but she resigns not to get. For Charlotte, marriage is an economic decision. She believes that it is not the actual man that will determine her happiness in marriage but, the money that the man provides her. Through the phrase “chance of happiness”, it is implied that it is merely a gamble as to whether or not love will be present in a marriage because love is not the reason people get married. It is as though Charlotte believes that happiness is defined as simply as economic security. She does not expect anything more out of her marriage. Even the heroine, Elizabeth, who swore she would marry for love ties love to material comfort and economic stability. She shows affection for Mr. Darcy only after having seen his house at Pemberley, as though the house and grounds themselves court her: “"And of this place," thought she, "I might have

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