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|Finding out about social status
Written by Linden
(1/13/2004 10:12 p.m.)
One thing I hadn't realised until this Group Read is the way that JA reveals people's social status. Most characters are placed socially as soon as they appear -- indeed, we learn about Mr Bingley's four of five thousand a year even before he appears.
But we learn the details of the Bennet estate only in Chapter 7. Until then, there is nothing to suggest that a marriage between Mr Bingley and Jane would involve him marrying down: indeed, since her father is landed gentry and his was in trade, he'd be marrying slightly up in rank. So the story is thoroughly set in motion before we learn that Mr Bennet's estate is 2000 a year (comfortable, but not fabulously wealthy like Mr Darcy); and, even more, we learn the bad news that the girls will have no more than a thousand a-piece.
JA is always meticulous about her craft, and does things for a reason. So I wonder why she delays revealing the facts about the future poverty of the Bennet girls. Any thoughts?
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