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The Role of Women in the Novel Pride and Prejudice

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Sabrina Behrens

on 16 March 2015

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Transcript of The Role of Women in the Novel Pride and Prejudice

The Role of Women in the Novel
Pride and Prejudice

By: Sabrina Behrens
Throughout
Pride and Prejudice
the role women held in the early 1800's was described as one that belonged in the home as a wife and mother, and that should marry a man who can support their family. Also throughout the novel women's role in society was described as one that is to be accomplished in household chore and those of entertainment, such as singing and playing music. The role of women in society was a major theme throughout the novel
Pride and Prejudice
.
Women were expected to learn many different skills in the early 1800's: they learned to paint, draw, sew, sing, play the piano, play cards, embroider, etc.
Women were also expected to have certain characteristics to be considered an accomplished lady, for example: "A true women, on the other hand, was virtuous. Her four chief characteristics were piety, purity, submissiveness, and domesticity," ("The Emergence of the 'Women's Sphere'").
Women's role through Marriage
The main role of a women in the early 1800's was in the home.
Women were expected to marry a man who could provide for them and their children, even if they did not love the person.
Women were, also, some times required to marry a relative such as a cousin, to help keep inheritance in the immediate family.
Women's rise in Social Status
Women, usually, married for comfort of home and for wealth, because many women were not left an inheritance.
Women could move up in social class due to marriage and would be given many fine luxuries.
Examples from the novel
Pride and Prejudice
Mrs. Bennet wanted Elizabeth to marry her cousin Mr. Collins because he was to inherit the Longbourn estate.
Another example of the role of marriage in Pride and Prejudice is when Charlotte Lucas married Mr. Collins. She did not marry him because she loved him but because he offered her a comfortable home.
Examples of Rise in Social Status throughout the novel
Pride and Prejudice

The eldest Bennet sisters, Jane and Elizabeth, both married into a higher social class. Women in the early 1800's sought after the opportunity to marry into a higher social class.
Women who were already held a higher social status desired to marry a man who was of equal status or higher, for example: Miss Bingley wanted to marry Mr. Darcy.
Women's Role of being an Accomplished Lady
Women's role through Marriage (Continued)
According to Kelley Smith's article "Historical Brief-Lives of Women in the early 1800's", women's main purpose in life was to find a husband, have a family, and then spend the rest of their lives serving their spouse.

"Yes all of them, I think. They all paint tables, cover screens, and net purses. I scarcely know any one who cannot do all this, and I am sure I never heard a young lady spoken of for the first time without being informed that she was very accomplished."
"Your list of the common extent of accomplishments," said Darcy, "has too much truth. The word is applied to many a women who deserves it no otherwise than by netting a purse, or a covering a screen. But I am very far from agreeing with you in your estimation of ladies in general. I cannot boast of knowing more than half a dozen, in the whole range of my acquaintance, that are really accomplished."
Pride and Prejudice By:Jane Austen
Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. Champaign, Ill.: Project Gutenberg, 199. Print.
"The Emergence of "Women's Sphere"" Ushistory.org. Independence Hall Association. Web. 16 Mar. 2015.
http://staff.washington.edu/cgiacomi/courses/english200/historicalbriefs/women.html
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