Equal Engagement: In Marriage and Between Cultures Essay

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Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice illuminates a social courtship between the proud Mister Fitzwilliam Darcy and the shrewd, unconventional Miss Elizabeth Bennet. Elizabeth is proud of her own identity. She astutely justifies herself as “a gentleman’s daughter” (Austen 337) in her confrontation with the prejudiced and class-conscious Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Mister Fitzwilliam Darcy, who shares Elizabeth’s sharp tongue, comes from a family of high social status; his privileged upbringing instilled in him “pride and conceit” (Austen 349) that blinds him from acknowledging the similarity and equality between him and Elizabeth. Upon first proposing to Elizabeth, he does not realize that he is not raising her social status by marrying her.…show more content…
In the first balcony scene, Darcy’s exchange with Balraj explicitly reveals to viewers for the first time his assumption that Indian girls and their culture are unsophisticated and inferior. Responding to Balraj’s wish to marry Jaya, Darcy offhandedly says, “If you really want to get marry, why don’t you just hook up with some Indian girl from England, or even America.” Darcy’s use of “hook up”, an American slang that connotes sexual interaction, depreciates the value of Indian girls by turning them into mere sexual objects. Moreover, his specific suggestion of “Indian girls” from England and America directly shows his prejudice against, not only the ethnicity of Indian girls, but also the Indian tradition of arranged marriage that he assumes have raised native girls to be traditional, submissive, and “simple,” unlike the independent and sophisticated, modern women born and raised in America or England. In addition, this dialogue on the balcony exposes the informal and less refined character of Will Darcy, one that is different from the “well-bred” (Austen 18) and reserved mannerism of Fitzwilliam Darcy. Purposely made by Chadha, Darcy’s informality signifies his inclination for the free, modern behavior that is prevalent in the American culture. Through Darcy, a representative of America, viewers can observe one American’s attempt to impose his world view over the
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