Quick Index Board Index Home FAQ Site Map
|Spinsterhood not so bad?
Written by Robbin
(5/17/2007 8:01 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, I see..., penned by Maria Liourdi
The whole family, in short, were properly overjoyed on the occasion. The younger girls formed hopes of coming out a year or two sooner than they might otherwise have done; and the boys were relieved from their apprehension of Charlotte's dying an old maid. (Chapter 22)
Today spinsterhood is not considered bad but women have many more choices today than in the Georgian era. Jane Austen had a close and loving family and after the death of her father she had successful brothers to depend upon, some did have more money than Charlotte's. I think how bad the situation of a spinster is most likely dependent on the wealth of the family and the attitude of the family. The Lucas family is not extremely wealthy. They are a large family with not enough servants in the kitchen to make the mince pies. In Chapter 22, Charlotte’s parents can offer her only a “little fortune” and for all I know what is offered may be only part of her marriage settlement and she would receive nothing if she does not marry.
In Chapter 22 Charlotte’s brothers are relieved she will not be an old maid and someday dependent on them. Whether this is worry over money or just bad attitudes on the part of the brothers hardly matters because neither is reassuring to a sister. With brothers so obviously delighted she will not fall to their care it is no wonder that Charlotte feels the only honorable provision for her is marriage. What is so bad about being an old maid without financial independence means you have few choices in life and you depend on having your sustenance from other people and possibly in Charlotte’s case folks who begrudge it. Not a comfortable situation IMO.
Sir William houses, feeds, clothes Charlotte and gives her pin money (spending money) to buy personal items but she is his daughter. When her brothers marry they will have their own growing families and a dependent sister no matter how little the cost of her upkeep can still be a burden if there is not enough fortune in the first place. The oldest of Sir William’s son will inherit his estate and the younger brothers will have to enter a profession or trade. We already know the condition of Sir William’s estate but the younger sons will probably only be able to support themselves at first and may have to wait many years before they are able to support a wife and family. Charlotte is likely to be a burden because there does not seem to be enough money to go around in the Lucas family. ;D
Groupread is maintained by Myretta with WebBBS 3.21.