The Formation of Jane Austen’s Marriage Concept
“It is a true universally acknowledged,that a single man in possession of a good fortune,must be in want of a wife. ”Almost two centuries later,the deep impression on readers left by the opening sentence of Pride and Prejudice has not decreased because of their changing literary taste. As the author of Pride and Prejudice,Jane Austen was one of the famous realistic writers in English literature in the nineteenth century.
Pride and Prejudice is Austen’s representative work. During the forty-two years of her short life and a merry one,Austen wrote six full-length works:Pride and Prejudice,Sense and Sensibility,Northanger Abbey,Mansfield Park,Emma and Persuasion. There were no earthshaking events,no dreadful disasters,no sharp contradictions and no romantic legends in Authen’s novels. Time and space were small in her novels. She wrote how a marriageable woman could find a satisfactory husband. She described many kinds of love and marriage of different women.
She expressed her own original views of marriage in her works. In Pride and Prejudice Austen wrote four marriage types:ideal Elizabeth and Darcy,realizable Charlotte and Collins,felicitous Jane and Bingley,unhappy Lydia and Wickham. She pointed out emphatically economic consideration is the bonds of wedlock and love. She said marriage is not determined by property and family status;it is unwise to marry without money,but it is wrong to marry for money;the marriage settled by love is happy and ideal.
The thesis makes an analysis of four marriages in pride and prejudice and discusses the deep outlook for their love and marriage in the light of social back ground ,and through analyzing the factors which influence Jane Austin’s view of marriage and how it is embodied in Pride and Prejudice, people can have a clear understanding of Jane’s view of marriage. In addition, it also tells people what is the most important and how we should choose in marriage. Her exposure is of great realistic significance to the society today.
Introduction: Love and marriage is an unfailing topic since human beings have thought. All of people are eager to get happy marriage. But not all people can make their dream come true. Sometimes, our dream and hope just like a bubble disappear in the wind and just leave disappointment in our heart. What should we choose between love and money when we can’t choose these two things at the same time? And which style of marriage is a more perfect one? Jane Austen as a novel writer who lived more than two hundred years ago thought about these questions.
Jane wrote many novels. Her novels always praised as a classical works about love and marriage, especially the novel of Pride and Prejudice. And Jane also won her highest reputation through Pride and Prejudice. The original version of the novel was written in 1796-1797 under the title “First Impressions”, and was in the form of an exchange of letters. The story of Pride and Prejudice took place in the time of the Regency in Britain. At that time, Britain was at the period of transition from the earlier stage of Capitalism to Capitalist Industrialization.
In the countryside, the aristocratic family still held great power and right that country squires were likely to fawn upon them. However, as the development of Capitalism and the expand of the rank of rich people, the distinction between social strata was becoming smaller and smaller, while money was getting more and more important in people’s mind about social value. This story shows the ordinary lives, feelings of the ordinary people. They were linked up in a harmonious order under the author’s meticulous concepts. The work mainly describes four marriages. Two re the main and assisted by the other two assistant marriages. Darcy and Elizabeth’s love and marriage is the main theme of this work. After undergoing many setbacks, Darcy’s arrogance and Elizabeth’s prejudice eventually eliminates, the lovers finally get married. The marriage of Elizabeth’s sister Jane and Darcy’s friend Bingley is another clue. They deeply love each other, but they are multi—blocked, after their departure, Jane misses Bingley very much. The two marriages reflects the another point of view in positive way that marriage should be based on true love, which is the ideal marry in the author’s opinion.
The stories seem to be the ordinary lives, feelings and persons linked up in a harmonious order under the others meticulous concepts. However, the marriage between Charlotte and Collins is a negative example with the marriage between Lydia and Wickham, which help to make the plots more tortuous and richer. People like Pride and Prejudice is not only because the plot was very charming, but also because this book transferred a message which exist in people’s heart at all time. That’s a hope to get a happy marriage.
Different marriages in pride and prejudice There are seven different marriages presented in the novel. Excluding the Gardiner and the Lucas the rest four marriages contrasts each other to real Austen’s concept of love and marriage in this novel. Through these different marriages , we can see that Jane Austen, besides of mainly concentrating on modeling the characters Elizabeth and Darcy and portraying the complicated love and marriage between them; also pays much attention to depicting many other roles and three other marriages.
In each of these marriages, properties, status, love, beautiful appearance exert different influence and these four marriages are combinations for profit, for moral, for lust and for love. A. The Marriage Based on True Love Their combination reveals the characteristics that constitute a successful marriage. One of these characteristics is that feeling cannot be brought on by experiences and must gradually develop between the two people as they got to know one another . Darcy first appears to us as a handsome but very proud person,cold and ill-mannered.
Darcy soon draw the attention of the room by his fine. tall person,handsome feuture,noble mien. And he was looked at with great admiration for about half the evening,till his manners gave a disgust which turned the tide of his popularity,for he was discovered to be proud,to be above his company ,or above being pleased. He has grown up in the surroundings with strong sense of power,so he always is selfish and arrogant,and he has a critical look at each individral,except his family members. He is not concerned about anyone else,and looks upon anyone else.
Therefore,when he first arrives in the village ,he finds all the persons are far away from those imagined. Although every girl there is young and lovely,he has no interest in anyone except Elizabeth. Elizabeth is the ideal image for women as well as the most charismatic person in the novel . She is Bennet’s second daughter,an active,intelligent and smart girl. She has a middle-class family background and has not been affected by the foumal education belonging to those aristocratic young girls ,so she isn’t good at music and painting but she has read many books which make her knowledgable and perceptive.
The most important aspect is that she ia a lady with dignity and upringing. At first Darcy doesn’t put an eye on Elizabeth. Gradually,he has to admit that Elizabeth is beautiful,distinct and popular. Although he insists that Ealizabeth hasn’t the same status as him,Darcy is rational because he has a strong sense of power which agrees on the reality at that time. His love to Elizabeth nourished by day-to-day encounters with her ,grew steadily and quickly. He tried to understand her by every possible means,the more he understood,the more he loves her.
His first proposal to Elizabeth is the culmination of the whole novel . Darcy,suffered by his long-suppressed feeling,decided to make a proposal to Elizabeth. It was no easy thing for him to court her regardless of her humble family and her inferior position. Although he expresses his love to Eeizabeth,he couldn’t help showing his arrogance,which makes Elizabeth have misconception and prejudice on Darcy. Daucy loves Elizabeth but looks down upon her social status,he considers that he has been lowing himself and doing some thing against his will,personalities and even moral standard .
He thinks that his marriage would certainly succeed and Elizabeth is waiting for him to propose marriage,therefore ,even he is irresistible to the flooding feelings and condescends to Elizabeth ,he still remembers the gap between them. Obviously,the rational aspect of Darcy’s personality performs on the reality of society . When he talks about his feelings of love,he also expresses the arrogance of these feelings somehow,which lead to resentment of Elizabeth,so she indignantly hurled his proposal back in his face,and angrily accuses his insolence.
Embarrassed and ruffled,he didn’t lose the control of himself ,he acted like a real gentleman. He asked Elizabeth to forgive him for having taken up so much time of her and accept his best wishes for her health and happiness. His love to Elizabeth,undoubtly,was ardent and sincere,even Elizabeth herself was quite astonished at his court and sorry for the pain he had suffered. Her astonishment as she reflected on what had passed ,was increased by every review of it. That she should receive an offer of marriage from Dardy! That he should have been in love with her for so many months!
So much in love as to wish to marry her in spite of all the objection which had prevented his friend’s marrying her sister,and must appear at ease with casual force in his own case,was almost incredible! Darcy’s steady character and noble minds determine that his love was not mere overnight’s impulse . After having been accused of arrogance and selfish of the feelings of others,Darcy decided to make a change of himself and he did it accordingly. Of course ,love was the real carse of all those amazing alternations. Through a series of events they both experienced . hey gradually understand one another and the time to reconcile their feelings for each other ,thus ,their true love is the fundation of their relationship and will lead them to happy and lasting marriage,this relationship between Elizabeth and Darcy reveals the importance of true love before marrying . I give this marriage much preference over the other ones,as it is a great inspiration to us and an ideal one we are woking for. B. The Marriage Based on Same Interests Their combination is also an example of successful marriage,Jane is the eldest daughter of the Bennets ,who is a naive but nice girl with beauty good temperament.
Mr. Bingley is also a kind person who had a pleasant countenance and easy unaffected manners. We soon found that he was agreeable both in appearance and character. In the first ball at Netherfield,we began to make acquaintance of his personlity through his behavior. His personal strength certainly won Jane’s admiration,she thought that he was just what a young man ought to be. She never saw wuch a sensible,good-humored, lively young man with perfect good breeding. Bingley also fall in love with Jane at their first ball and their romance flourishes quietly and stedily.
But Jane’s reserved personality and the standardized qualities make her fiilings show nothing and pleasant and modest as Mr. Bingley as he was ,he was far from the man who was strong and determined. Both of their characters are too gullible and too good-hearted to ever act strongly against external forces that may attempt to seperate them though the couple meets many setbacks,such as misunderstanding of Darcy and Bingley’s selfish sister,the lovers get married as the misunderstanding between Elizabeth and Darcy has been solved .
Their marriage based on a favorite of mutual good impression and true love is also a successful marriage. C. The Marriage Based on Money or Benefit Their marriage is of a different nature than the ones mentioned above. It is based on economics rather than on true love. Charlotte is William Lucas’s daughter,who is the neihgbor of Lizzy Binnet. She was born of humbe parentage and very mediocre in every aspect. so she has not got married even until she is 26 years old. However,there are five daughters in the Bennets ,the five daughters are gradually growing up to the age for marriage .
So both of the two families rival mutually,especially in the eyes of the vulgar women,such rivalry was particularly tedious. Charlotte seems to me is a mediocre and vain young lady. She accepted Collins solely for the pure and disinterested desire of an establishment. Her mediocre perception and eagerness to get married prevent her from detacting Collins’ pomposity and foolishness. We can also see her attitudes toward love and marriage from her words:happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance.
If the dispositions of the parties are ever so well know to each other ,or ever so similar before-hand ,it does not advance their felicity in the least,they always contrive to grow sufficiently unlike afterwards to have their share of vexation,and it is better to known as little as possible of the defects of the person with whom you are to pass your life,that is her idea of marriage,which accounts for her quick marriage with Collins after Collins was refused by Elizabeth.
Besides,Collins is the only alternative to penury and social isolation,her pragmatic views on marriage are also voiced several times in the novel :without thinking highly either of men or of matrimony,marriage had always been her object. It was the only honourable provision for well-educated young women of small fortune ,and however uncertain of giving happiness,must be their pleasantest preservative from want. She is 27,not especially beautiful (according to both she herself and Mrs. Bennet),and without an especially large “portion”,and so decides to marry Collins. While ,Mr.
Collins was a conceited and foolish young man who would inherit the estate of Longbourn ,the property of Mr. Bennet upon his death. He is completely stupefied by lady Catherine in every aspect of hes life that he has forgotten his own morals and duty. Therefore,he never have his own conception of love. He intends to get married merely because it was the particular advice and recommendation of lady Catherine de Bourgh. Marriage to him was only a right thing for every clergyman in easy circumstances and advice from lady Catherine de Bourgh. To begin with,he made up his mind to marry one of the daughters of Mr.
Bennet as a way of reconciliation with the Longbourn family. The beautiful Jane,undoubtedly,his first choice. Informed that she has a boyfriend ,he swiftly change Jane to Elizabeth,who is equally next to Jane in birth and beauty. However,Elizabeth got sick if him and refused his proposal with sharp tongue. But Collins quickly finds comfort from Charlotte who desires to get love from a male and believes marriage is the elegant way for a girl with some education,and then they get married as quickly as the lightning. Charlotte’s letters about her married life to Elizabeth fully revealed an unhappy one.
Though Charlotte wrote cheerfully,seemed surrounded with comforts,and mentioned nothing that she could not praise,the house,the house ,furniture neighbourhood,and roads,were all to her taste,and lady Catherine’s behaviour was most friendly and obliging. She knew that Elizabeth had looked down upon her for her choice. as no one could understand the strangeness of Mr. Collins’ making two offers of marriage within three days and any woman who marries Collins,a conceited,pompous narrow-minded,silly man, can not have a proper way of thinking.
Actually,she marries for the sake of marriage but she pretends to be happy. She gets married for money,eventually she get nothing more than a rich man. Tthough she has economic security,she does not care about her husband’s accompanying and love. She encourages him to clean up the garden morel,she sets his living-room in the small house absent of even a number of sunshine. When her husband makes gaffe in front of their friends,she ignores and turns a deaf ear. Her reasons for marriage are all practical but she is obviously finds no love with Collins.
We are eventually made to feel not that Charlotte’s attitude toward marriage is correct or that she made a happy choice,but that she has been realistic for herself. She does not realize that her marriage is of the least desirable sort,and that security and social connections are not enough to comprise a happy marriage. D. The Marriage Based on Vanity and Carelessness Obviously,it is an example of bad marriage. Lydia is the third daughter of the Bennets,she was a stout,well-grown girl of fifteen,a favourite daughter to her mother ,whose affection had brought her into public at an early age.
She was also empty-minded and uncertain flirt who never ceased seeking her own and sexual excitement. The only interests in her life were to flirt with red-coated officials in a military regiment in the neighbourhood. While,Wickham first appears to us as a very charming fellow. But in fact,he is not. On the contrary,he was seductive and pleasing outwardly,but mean and dirty inwardly. He was a dissolute man who never ceased seeking sexual passion. His elopement with Lydia is very sudden. They do not even get married at first,they must be bribed into it by Darcy after they elope together.
As Lydia was young and empty-minded,she never give love a serious and proper consideration. Her thirsts for carnal desire and unrestrained life determine her passion-oriented marriage. Their marriage based on appearances,good looks and youthful vivacity. Once these qualities can no longer be seen by each other ,the once strong relationship will slowly fade away. As in the novel,Lydia and Wickham’s marriage gradually disintegrates. Lydia becomes a regular visitor at her two elder sister’s home when her husband was gone to enjoy himself in London or Bath .
This marriage is one without love,they do not understand the meaning of marriage,they only want to satisfy their aspiration. So we can say this is a kind of superficial love and marriage without true love and responsibility. Such hasty marriage based on superficial qualities quickly cools and is doomed to be a tragedy. Conclusion The four marriages mentioned above have four different endings:Chalotte gets money and status, but she has nothing to share with her husband, what’s more, she has to endure his foolish behaviors all her life. While, frivolous Lydia cannot obtain anything from her marriage except for lust.
Both of these marriages are not what Elizabeth is longing for. Obviously, the marriage for money, status, lust but love, understandings, similarities is due to be a tragedy. However, Jane is a lucky one and she gets a good marriage with the foundation of property, status and even love. But compared with Elizabeth’s, Jane’s marriage seems lack of something. Certainly, Elizabeth gains a perfect love and marriage. From the two successful marriages, we can see, besides true love and virtue, equality and understanding both play an important role in a marriage.
In a word,Austen’s view of marriage influenced by her biographical background, her class, her religion, her love and so on. These elements were very important in her marriage concept. Jane educed her concept of marriage, which is “It is wrong to marry for money, but it was silly to marry without it” . Jane Austen expressed well her view of marriage in Pride and Prejudice which considered as a banner that advocated people should get married for love instead of only for money. The title of the novel told us Jane Austen’s rational attitude. To a certain extent, Pride and Prejudice was the writer’s hope.
The actress Elizabeth was the incarnation of Austen. Elizabeth and Darcy’s marriage was an ideal marriage in Jane’s heart and also in many people’s. Jane described some other styles marriage to show fully us her view of marriage. People like Pride and Prejudice is not only because the plot was very charming, but also because this book transferred a message which exist in people’s heart at all time. That’s a hope to get a happy marriage. In Pride and prejudice,Austen put marriage into all kinds of social relationship from beginning to end, which makes the whole novel have great practical significance.