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The Social Class in "Pride & Prejudice"

By Katie Hawksworth, Henrietta Weedon and Poppy Ravan
by

Katie Hawksworth

on 4 November 2012

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Transcript of The Social Class in "Pride & Prejudice"

By Katie Hawksworth, Henrietta Weedon and Poppy Ravan The Social Class in
"Pride and Prejudice" Introduction to
"Pride and Prejudice" "Pride and Prejudice" is a very successful novel by Jane Austen. Looking at all the characters in the novel, there is a wide variety of social class from; lower, middle and upper class. the characters that would be presented in upper class would be:
Mr Darcy
Mr Bingley
We would say that people in the novel think of the upper class community to be arrogant stupid except for these two characters.
The characters that would be positioned as middle classes citizens would be the Bennet sisters and also their friends and family would be positioned in it too. We would say that we thought that Jane Austen when writing the novel had more sincerity towards the middle class as it is presented in the novel that people prefer them to any other class. Context Even though Jane Austen started writing Pride and Prejudice in 1776 it wasn't published until 1813 and is set in early 19th century England. Theme of social class presented throughout the novel At that time, ownership of land and not money was the single most important criterion which determined the social status of an individual. Lady Catherine tries unsuccessfully to dissuade Elizabeth from marrying Darcy,because she is poorer than him but Elizabeth angrily retorts: "In marrying your nephew, I should not consider myself as quitting that sphere. He is a gentleman; I am a gentleman's daughter: so far we are equal."(Ch.56).Bingley's sisters who are also financially rich along with Bingley and Darcy, try to disguise the fact that they belong to the trading class by "associating with people of rank." (Ch.4). Late 18th Century, class replaced other classification of organizing people into hierarchical divisions. A major theme in the novel is the importance of environment and upbringing on a persons character. The upper class tend to be conceited because they have so much money. This is shown through the character of Mr Darcy as he appears to be condescending and proud at the ball he attends with Mr Bingley. At the time, marriage was seen as a social contract, often without the need for love but they had to be of the same class as you, to marry below you was not suitable. Social Class within the Bennet family ”PRIDE AND PREJUDICE” was written and set either during the late 18th century or the early 19th century. Social status was determined by family connections and on a smaller scale, how one earned money. Mr. Bennet, Elizabeth’s father, was an English gentleman who owned the estate, Longbourn. His estate earned him at least £2,000 pounds per year. Thus categorizing him into the upper class. Elizabeth and her sisters did not inherit their social status from their mother. They inherited their status from their landowning father, also making them members of the landed gentry . . . and the upper class. And as it turned out, Mr. Bennet was not the only member of his immediate family who married someone from what was considered a socially inferior class. As he married Mrs Bennet who was middle class.
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