For Love or Money? (transferred from P&P board )
Posted by Scott/ce, then Ann/ce on January 04, 1998 at 15:51:18:
Originally posted on the P&P board
Posted by Scott on January 03, 1998 at 18:16:34:
I'm sure this is ground which has already
been covered, but I've been thinking
recently about the role of women in Pride and Prejudice,
in other Austen novels, and for that matter in all of 19th
I've often been disturbed regarding the insensitive
attitudes critics place on the marriage-minded behavior
exhibited by women in Austen's time. My response to
them: What other choices were available?
Many people often forget that financial and career
independence for women remains to this day a relatively
modern invention. Elizabeth and Jane may certainly have
had the inclination and talent for further education, but
actually doing so was not something that was
traditionally done. Men had clearly defined roles, as did
women. I make no judgement on this fact; it was simply
a fact of life.
It fell upon women, then, to find a mate/husband who
had the financial means to support them. Would any
rational human being have done differently?
Even though the Charlotte Lucas/Mr. Collins match has
a rather extreme comic component to it; I am convinced
that their example represents the norm, not the
exception. Eliza's reaction upon hearing the news has at
times struck me as surprising, for lack of a better word.
Elizabeth does express her commitment to marrying for
love early in the story, but she must certainly have been
aware of the much more common alternative. Did she
mistreat Charlotte with her "condescending" attitude? I
don't know. Maybe it's only a dramatic device.
So, the question: How do others feel regarding this
issue? Perhaps if Mrs. Bennet hadn't been sketched as
such a humorous, dim-witted character, the practicality
of her motives may have received better press.
Does the passing of 200 years change matters a great
deal? Is it still a viable alternative for women (or men for
that matter)? Food for thought.
Posted by Ann on January 04, 1998 at 13:20:31:
In consequence of the missive, For Love or Money?,
penned by Scott on January 03, 1998 at 18:16:34
] ...Elizabeth does express her commitment to marrying
for love early in the story....
Actually, in the book, she does not. The line "only the
very deepest love will induce me into matrimony" was an
invention of Andrew Davies, the P&P2 screenwriter.
We had a nice debate not long ago in the Library on
whether Austen would ever have written this line. My
opinion is that she would not.
My library message: Balance and Modern Sensibilities
] Start of Library Thread (it is a long and wandering one, but well worth reading): A New Perspective, by Rachel
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