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Attitudes to gender and class in Jane Austens Pride and prejudice and Persuasion
2002 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year))Student thesis
Abstract [en]

Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion are two of Jane Austen’s most famous novels. They both deal with upper class societies, and women’s living conditions. As shown in the novels, women of higher social classes are not expected to or allowed to work, so they have to marry well and be provided for and protected by their husbands, while, on the other hand, single men can have independent access to good fortunes. Women depended upon men in many ways in the society that Austen depicts, but what did it mean to women to be forced into marriages with men they did not love and in many cases did not care about? Many men claimed women suffered from neurosis and hysteria when women showed dissatisfaction with the role they were forced into by society, the role to be a mother and wife. Through motherhood, women gained respect and status, but many women wanted more than that. Hysteria, or poor nerves, was a way for women to try to gain power over their own lives, and also a way tom protest against their situation in life. In Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion, the attitudes among the characters are following those of their time, and, thus, the main goal seems to be to marry and marry well. The characters in the novels are struggling with similar dilemmas, depending on gender and class, but they treat their problems in different ways. In this essay, I explore similarities in characters and plots in Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion, but I also argue that although both novels contain similar sets of characters, there are important differences in attitudes when it comes to gender and class. I examine mainly women’s, but to a certain degree also men’s roles in society and the period they lived in, concentrating on gender and class. I also discuss turning points in the novels, but to a certain degree also men’s roles in society and the period they lived in, concentrating on gender and class. I also discuss turning points in the novels and continue with comparisons of the characters in the novels. In the two novels, Austen shows the effects the claims of society had on the upper classes, but in other ways, she is supporting the ideals. Although, her heroines act better and have more sense than their surroundings, they still marry rich men. The only difference from most marriages during that period of time is that they marry out of love.

Abstract [en]

Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion are two of Jane Austen’s most famous novels. They both deal with upper class societies, and women’s living conditions. As shown in the novels, women of higher social classes are not expected to or allowed to work, so they have to marry well and be provided for and protected by their husbands, while, on the other hand, single men can have independent access to good fortunes. Women depended upon men in many ways in the society that Austen depicts, but what did it mean to women to be forced into marriages with men they did not love and in many cases did not care about? Many men claimed women suffered from neurosis and hysteria when women showed dissatisfaction with the role they were forced into by society, the role to be a mother and wife. Through motherhood, women gained respect and status, but many women wanted more than that. Hysteria, or poor nerves, was a way for women to try to gain power over their own lives, and also a way tom protest against their situation in life. In Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion, the attitudes among the characters are following those of their time, and, thus, the main goal seems to be to marry and marry well. The characters in the novels are struggling with similar dilemmas, depending on gender and class, but they treat their problems in different ways. In this essay, I explore similarities in characters and plots in Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion, but I also argue that although both novels contain similar sets of characters, there are important differences in attitudes when it comes to gender and class. I examine mainly women’s, but to a certain degree also men’s roles in society and the period they lived in, concentrating on gender and class. I also discuss turning points in the novels, but to a certain degree also men’s roles in society and the period they lived in, concentrating on gender and class. I also discuss turning points in the novels and continue with comparisons of the characters in the novels. In the two novels, Austen shows the effects the claims of society had on the upper classes, but in other ways, she is supporting the ideals. Although, her heroines act better and have more sense than their surroundings, they still marry rich men. The only difference from most marriages during that period of time is that they marry out of love.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2002. , 26 p.
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-53889Local ID: ENG D-13OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-53889DiVA: diva2:1102449
Subject / course
English
Available from: 2017-05-29 Created: 2017-05-29

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